SALT Concepts and Comments
Strategic Alliance for Leadership Training Newsletter, vol. 5 July 2003
Training leaders to teach others. 2 Timothy 2:2
Most of us make a distinction in our thinking between teaching and training. Teaching is mainly instruction, whereas training refers to equipping for a specific purpose. You cannot be a trainer without being a teacher, but you can be a teacher without being a trainer. You cannot equip without instructing, but you can instruct without equipping.
In the early church such a distinction was not made. In the Scriptures, the word didasko, to teach, implies more than the communication of knowledge. It concerns instruction in how to live. In the centuries that followed, however, knowledge became more systematized, increasingly becoming the property of specialized institutions such as the universities.
To be sure, these institutions play an indispensable role, for they give us access to a breadth of knowledge that we could not attain without help. Further, institutions are so thoroughly integrated into our culture that degrees often become the necessary criteria for positions of influence.
Because of this, however, we too often assume that teaching about ministry achieves preparation for ministry. Or more serious, that adequate instruction is sufficient to ensure spiritual growth. Neither is true. Though some people are able to make the leap from knowing to doing, most people need guidance. Increased knowledge does not necessarily change character or perfect skills. In fact, Paul points out that knowledge can puff up, rather than edify.
How then does training differ from teaching, especially teaching that is purely cognitive? Here are some thoughts.
First, training begins with the end in mind. The effective trainer begins with a mental picture of where he is going, and chooses his concepts accordingly. These concepts become the seed truths that he will seek to implant into the experience of the learner. The reference point is the product rather than the curriculum. Training focuses on results, whereas teaching is generally preoccupied with content and is more open-ended. The trainer must conceptualize.
Second, training targets the whole person. The trainer must not only direct his training to the head, he must also appeal to the heart and the hands. It is not enough for the disciple to merely understand the truths he is learning; comprehension must lead to conviction, which in turn must motivate the disciple to commitment, an act of the will. For this to happen the trainer must know his disciples well—their beliefs, their values and their behavioral habits. Training never starts with a blank slate. The trainer must contextualize.
Third, effective training grows out of the character and experience of the trainer. Training for obedience requires training from obedience. The trainer must be an example of the knowledge, character and skills he is seeking to impart into the lives of the disciples. Trainers tend to reproduce in kind; unless their words are an authentic expression of their lives, their training will be defective. Because of this, training cannot be confined to the classroom. The disciple must be able to form a personal relationship with his trainer, who will provide opportunities for the training to be put into practice. The trainer must personalize.
Fourth, training aims for action. The effectiveness of teaching is usually measured by an exam. The effectiveness of training can only be measured by life change. When truth germinates in the experience of the disciple it will produce fruit in the form of active obedience resulting in behavioral change. All this will lead to the application of ministry skills in real-life situations, such as teaching others the truths learned. The trainer must encourage reproduction.
Do you see yourself as a teacher who merely imparts knowledge, or are you a trainer? Every teacher has the potential of transforming his teaching situations into opportunities to “train in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Dave Guiles comments on his SALT training in Argentina: “During our visit to Argentina, we met with a group of sixty church anters. Most of them were non-professionals who are actively involved in applying the ACT Strategy in their local community. During four hours of seminars, we explored how the Four Laws of Conceptual Training should shape the way in which we approach every teaching opportunity. In addition to explaining and illustrating the Four Laws, we spent a lot of time practicing them in small groups. First, each group sought to identify five key "seed truths" that they would like to teach about marriage. [The Law of the Seed]. Then time was spent analyzing the soil - what factors in Argentine culture help or hinder in the application of these truths [The Law of the Soil]. It was fascinating to see how the answers to this question varied according to the geographical location or socioeconomic level that each group is targeting. During a time of sharing, participants told how God has implanted these seed truths in their own lives in the past. This exercise helped illustrate the fact that we must be authentic models of the truths we are seeking to communicate [The Law of the Sower]. Finally, we tackled the question, ‘What will the fruit look like? That is, what changes do you expect to see in the lives of your students when these five truths on marriage are truly implanted?’ [The Law of the Harvest].”
From Clay Hulett in Manila: “Christian Beuggert and I wanted to do ten lessons to be taught in Cambodia. We knew that the ‘soil’ there was animism. Using the Law of the Seed, we were able to isolate the ten main truths in an order we felt was chronological. One advantage of isolating the ten seed truths before doing the lessons was being able to send out the seed truths on the internet for input and advice from other missionaries working in animistic cultures. We received an encouraging number of responses with good suggestions.”
Dave Guiles will be teaming up with Tom Julien to lead a four-session workshop called Training Leaders to Train Others: a Conceptual Approach to Leadership Training. The workshop will be a part of the National Celebration in Tampa, FL, at the end of this month. The intent of the workshop is to introduce the concepts of SALT to the people of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches. It will present an in depth look at the philosophy of conceptual versus cognitive teaching.
SALT is making plans to host an “Abri-like” training seminar for those interested in learning the SALT training philosophy and perfecting their training skills. This is being planned for Winona Lake during the Summit for the SALT Facilitators. Tentative dates for these encounters are June 22 through July 2. As plans develop we will inform you through the Newsletter.
(SALT training is now being implemented in Central African Republic, Chad, Europe, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Philippines and Cambodia. Please send us information concerning your SALT ministries throughout the world.)
Copies of previous SALT Newsletters will be sent by email upon request. Address your correspondence to: email@example.com.
July 19, 2003
Summer 2005 Inside Out or Outside In
Spring 2005 Creating a Leadership Development Culture
Winter 2005 Leadership Training Clinic
Autumn 2004 Church Based Leadership Training
Spring 2004 Making Truth Personal
Jan- Mar 2004 Holistic Training
Nov-Dec 2003 4th Law-Law of the Harvest
Oct 2003 3rd Law-Law of the Sower
Sept 2003 2nd Law-Law of the Soil
Aug 2003 1st Law-Law of the Seed
July 2003 Teaching or Training
June 2003 Converting Content to Concepts
April 2003 Concept: Implanting vs. Transplanting
March 2003 Training Leaders to Teach Others
January 2003 What is SALT?