Hanging up the CEO boots: Barry and Marg Borneman

Wycliffe Today – June 2019 (PDF

What have you most enjoyed during your time as Chief Executive Officer of Wycliffe Australia?

Barry: I’ve loved seeing the people and national Wycliffe organisations we work with develop and grow. Building strong relationships and friendships based on trust is one of the most important things we can do to create an environment for growth and assist others personally or as organisations to take the next step towards their vision. Jesus asks his disciples to ‘go and make disciples’ and I think we have the same call to encourage other leaders we work alongside and to pray for their success.

What was it that first led you to Wycliffe?

Marg: We went to PNG for two years as school teachers ‘to lend a mission a hand’. Although we didn’t know much about it, while we were there we learnt a lot about the work of Bible translation and the place of literacy work. It then took another two years to shape and prepare us for what Barry later described as ‘the ideal job’ working as literacy specialists with the Kriol translation team in Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory.

Barry: While we were in PNG, we became aware of the hundreds of communities without Bible translations in their own languages. As both teachers and followers of Jesus our hearts went out to those many people unable to read and who often belonged to the most marginalised communities. This passion to serve the poor connected us strongly with Wycliffe and a two-year short-term assignment became a 40-year vocation.

Your ‘retirement’ was meant to take place a while ago. What convinced you to extend your time as CEO?

Barry: In 2017, I had expected to hang up my CEO boots. But the Board asked me to stay on. When I prayed about it, God showed me that it was for a specific reason. He wanted it to be a time of intentional prayer in the Prayer Chapel at our National Centre for Wycliffe Global Alliance leaders in nearby Asia and the Pacific. It has been a great final two years and God has done more through these friendships with my colleagues than I could have imagined.

What will your transition involve?

Marg: This is the first time that transition for us doesn’t involve a geographical move – at least that we know of! I anticipate having more flexibility in my roles at Wycliffe, with time to pursue interests such as TESOL through Next Step Development.

Barry: We will remain working with Wycliffe and it will give me more time to work with our Asia and Pacific colleagues to develop pathways for national translators to take the next step to becoming advisors and consultants in their own countries. That excites me. I also have great confidence in the appointment of Max and Helen. This makes the transition much easier. Personally, it will give us the flexibility to spend more time with grandchildren, time to write, and walk all the rail trails of Victoria.


  • Pray for Barry as he continues his involvement in developing Wycliffe projects and systems to support ministry in the Asia-Pacific region
  • Pray for Marg as she continues to provide member care and run English learning programs

Thanks for your patience...

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