Board Selects New President | Wycliffe Bible Translators


Spring 2019

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Back to Frontlines: Spring 2019

Board Selects New President

  • March 21, 2019
John and Kelly Chesnut

The Wycliffe USA Board of Directors is very pleased to announce that they have reached a unanimous decision to appoint Dr. John Chesnut to be the next president and CEO of Wycliffe USA. John officially began a three-year term as president in April 2019 following a transition period with Bob Creson, who has served in the role with excellence for the last 15 years.

John and his wife, Kelly, have been Wycliffe USA members for 18 years. Prior to that, John served as a pastor in the United States for 13 years. John has a distinguished career serving in leadership in SIL Philippines and on the executive leadership team of Wycliffe USA. John and Kelly have seven children and four grandchildren.

John has a passion for Wycliffe staff worldwide to be known as people who love God, love his Word and love people. He feels Mark 12:29b-31 exemplifies that spiritual journey of Wycliffe USA: “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these” (NLT).

When John served as director of SIL Philippines, he and Kelly saw people’s desire for God’s Word in their language. As Bible translation spread in Asia, local people experienced transformation within their families and communities. Today, communities are identifying the need for God’s Word in a language and form that speaks to their hearts. In the Philippines and other areas of the world, local people are assuming ownership and leadership of translation projects.

“God is raising up a wide range of partners around the world to participate in this work,” John said. “Wycliffe USA is working in collaboration with partners to see Bible translation started in every language that needs it by 2025. Our passion is to see lives transformed, not just the delivery of a product.

“For people groups where there are no churches, no evangelism and no discipleship taking place, the roots of Christian faith cannot grow deep without a full understanding of the Scriptures. Bible translation creates a solid foundation for evangelism, church planting and discipleship by providing access to God’s Word in languages people can clearly understand. It is through the powerful Word of God that people’s lives are transformed.”

When God’s Word comes to a community, there is a new understanding that they matter to God and are created in his image.

“Communities learn that not only do they matter as a people, but their language matters,” John said. “They have opportunity to learn to read and write their own language and gain a new sense of value because now their language is legitimized in the eyes of others.

“Seeing communities transformed by the translated Word of God — there’s nothing quite like it! I couldn’t be more excited to serve at this time during the greatest acceleration of Bible translation in history.”