COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. The International Bible Society, one of the world's largest translators and distributors of Scripture, will merge with Send the Light, one of the largest distributors of Christian literature.
The merger was expected to be complete March 1. The announcement came after a three-month due diligence period.
"The blending of these organizations is a powerful combination," Keith Danby, chief executive officer of Send the Light, said in a news release. "It's not often that two ministries can come together with the potential to have such far-reaching global impact for the cause of Christ and the Bible."
Following the completion of the merger, Danby will assume the position of Global CEO for the blended organization.
The boards of both organizations agreed to work toward a March 1 official merger date.
"This is a momentous occasion in the world of international ministry," said Mike Richards Sr., acting CEO of IBS. "For nearly 200 years, IBS has worked to reach people with Scripture. Now we're entering the next era in our historyan era filled with even greater opportunity to share God's Word with a world in need of its message."
Many of the details of the merger were still being worked out as the announcement was made, said David Passman, the U.S. CEO for Send the Light.
"We do know that STL and IBS can do more together than apart. This is truly a case of one plus one equals three," he said.
The merged organization will be called IBS-STL and will have operations in the U.S., the United Kingdom, India, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and other parts of the world.
"There are many areas that still have to be clarified as the two organizations come together," Richards said, "but these details will be worked out as we conduct a strategic review in the coming weeks and months, and as our respective staff get together to begin the logistics of merging."
The merged organization will also combine the core competencies of Bible translation, Bible and Christian book publishing and global distribution into one of the largest and most far-reaching Christian literature agencies in the world, the officials said.
"I'm humbled by the opportunity to lead this new ministry," Danby said. "Our prayer is that together the reach and impact of God's Word and other Christian materials that introduce people to Jesus Christ will be extended beyond our wildest imagination."
Founded in 1809, IBS began its ministry in New York City, providing Scriptures in hotel rooms, to immigrants, hospital patients, the Armed Forces, and churches. Since its founding, IBS has distributed countless millions of Scriptures to people on every continent. The society is also the copyright holder of the New International Version.
Send the Light was founded by George Verwer in 1957 when he was at Moody Bible Institute. He moved to the UK in 1962 with a passion for literature evangelism. In 1963, he founded Operation Mobilization, which now operates in 110 countries around the world. In 1993, OM released STL to operate as a separate organization, concentrating on the publishing, distribution and retailing of Christian resources.