Wycliffe Associates Sees Revenue Decline
The Bible translation organization Wycliffe Associates saw a 6 percent revenue decline for the year ending Sept. 30, 2020, according to its recently released 2020 annual report.
Revenue for 2020 was $45.9-million. Revenue for the year before was $49.1-million.
That revenue decline came despite an increase in fundraising costs, to $7.26-million, or more than 15 percent of total revenue. The 104 Foreign Missions organizations in the MinistryWatch database spent an average of 6 percent on fundraising.
The release of the annual report caps a tumultuous 2020 for the ministry. In March, Wycliffe Associates resigned from the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) while it was under review for possible non-compliance with the ECFA’s financial standards.
In May, an investigative article by MinistryWatch questioned claims the organization had been making regarding the effectiveness of a Bible translation program called MAST: Mobilized Assistance Supporting Translation. Former Wycliffe Associates President Bruce Smith called MAST a “miracle,” saying that it had been integral to more than 300 New Testament translations. However, Wycliffe Associates did not respond to multiple requests from MinistryWatch for a list of these Bible translations.
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Soon thereafter, a number of key Wycliffe Associates executives departed, followed by Bruce Smith, who resigned as president in October. Since his departure, Tim Neu, a longtime Wycliffe Associates executive, was named interim president.
And experts in Bible translation have characterized MAST as something less than a miracle. Scott Moreau is a professor of intercultural studies at Wheaton College. He said, “MAST is a translation process that much (if not most) of the translation world considers a draft and not a completed translation. There are no consultant checks involved in this process. It is simply a community-based translation done by people with abbreviated training.”
A recent press release from Wycliffe Associates continues to make robust claims about its Bible translation efforts. The Feb. 1 press release said that in 2020, “New Testament translations were completed in 141 languages, and 8 languages now have completed translations of the Old Testament.” Once again, MinistryWatch made repeated requests to Wycliffe Associates for a list of the languages so we could attempt to verify the claims. We have so far received no response.