SALT Concepts and Comments
Strategic Alliance for Leadership Training Newsletter, vol. 6 Aug. 2003
Training leaders to teach others. 2 Timothy 2:2
The biblical philosophy of training is found in the Great Commission, Matthew 28:18-20, where Jesus instructs us to teach disciples obedience, not merely knowledge. The purpose of biblical training is to equip, not merely instruct. This should result in churches characterized by a biblical culture, and not merely a veneer of biblical content.
To say this is not to diminish the value of knowledge. You cannot teach obedience without imparting knowledge, but knowledge alone does not necessarily lead to obedience. You cannot equip without instructing, but unfortunately it is possible to instruct without equipping. Training must target the whole person: mind, conscience and will.
This philosophy of training is illustrated by the parable of the sower, which SALT has conceptualized into four principles, or laws: the law of the seed, the soil, the sower and the harvest. These “four laws” have relevance not only in teaching and training ministries, but in preaching a sermon, discipling a new Christian, or even sharing thoughts with a friend. Their simplicity allows them to be easily applied and taught to others.
Further, they are an excellent learning tool. To learn from others I must consciously ask four questions: What seed truth is he seeking to plant? How does this relate to my life? How can I implement this truth? What changes will it bring?
The next four SALT Newsletters will focus on these Four Laws.
The first law is called the Law of the Seed. This law teaches us that we must conceptualize truth, or put it into seed form. The trainer begins by identifying the concepts, or seed truths, he wishes to plant.
Concepts are the truths we live by, such as worship is the highest form of ministry; or every believer is an ambassador; or love is the supreme evidence of our faith. Concepts are the building blocks of the believer’s spiritual dwelling, the house he constructs when he hears and obeys the Word (Matthew 7:24-27). They are the windows through which he perceives reality (Matthew 6:22). And they are seeds, to be reproduced in the lives of others (Matthew 13:23).
A seed has three main characteristics:
1) It has life, for it is produced in the fruit of a living plant.
2) It has purpose, for it is programmed to produce a particular harvest.
3) It is reproducible, for it has the potential to germinate and produce new fruit.
Concepts have the same qualities. They are living truths because they have germinated and produced fruit in the life of the trainer. They are chosen for a particular purpose, with the end in mind. When they are planted they have the potential of bearing fruit.
How do we choose the seeds we wish to plant in the experience of the learner?
Their source, of course, is the Word of God, and in particular the deposit of “sound teaching” which has been entrusted to us and which we are “to entrust to reliable men who will be qualified to teach others (2 Timothy 1:13-14, 2:2). Their selection is related to three factors: the needs of our hearers, the qualities manifested in our own lives, and the results we are seeking in our disciples. We will look at these three factors in detail in the next three Newsletters.
In the June SALT Newsletter we attempted to explain how to convert content into concepts. If our explanation missed the mark, let me quote Pastor Knute Larson in his message on preaching at the Grace Brethren National Celebration last month: “If I cannot give the whole sermon in one sentence, and it does not move me emotionally, I am in trouble.”
The next time you are seeking to communicate truth, whether through a training session, through mentorship, in a message, or through a personal conversation, ask yourself this question: what seed truth, or truths, am I seeking to plant? Identifying seed truths is the first step in planting.
A pastor friend writes the following: “I have particularly
focused the SALT concepts on the "Big Idea" or a phrase/concept that comes from
the text of the day that the people can take hold of and ruminate on beyond the
time of the sermon. Needless to say, I came into ministry with the notion that
all I needed to do was get the "correct information" from the text. If I found
that, it would preach and the people would gobble it up.
After some years and lots of frustration and reading, etc., I have concluded that it just ain't that way anymore. I still need to work hard at getting the "correct information". But, we are not the culture of then. And, it isn't going to go back to "then". So, I had better get up to speed with an understanding of the culture of our time.
It is so hard to extract the tentacle-like thinking of my mind in the old vein. But, I am going to do my best to do so (with His help, of course), so that I can "accurately divide the Word of truth" and "make known the sense of it" for our time to the people God has given us here.”
Tom Peters, missions pastor at the Wooster GBC, is currently in the Republic of Chad, conducting a SALT Training Seminar at “Chateau Bethany,” the training and church-planning center created by Samuel Dadje, the SALT Facilitator for Chad.
Leadership Training is one of the main topics of a mini-summit in Cambodia, attended by Dave Guiles, Wayne Hannah, Steve Wise and Kent Good. The rapid expansion of Points of Light has made leadership training the priority in Cambodia. Careful study is being made of the cultural “soil” of the Khmer people so that the “seeds” chosen will produce the desired fruit.
A team relationship is developing between Bruce Triplehorn, SALT Facilitator in Brazil, and the church-planting team in Porto, Portugal. Tim Hawkins, Portugal team leader, reports that the SALT training approach being implemented in Brazil is the most helpful they have found, not only because of a common language, but also because it fits the cultural soil.
Continue to pray for our brothers in the Central African Republic, facing huge decisions concerning leadership training, and facing some personal tragedies. Mboi Andre, the SALT Facilitator for eastern CAR, just lost his daughter Diane, 19 years of age, who died after an extended illness.
A reminder that 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.
Copies of previous SALT Newsletters will be sent by email upon request. Address your correspondence to: firstname.lastname@example.org .
August 16, 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?