SALT Concepts and Comments
Strategic Alliance for Leadership Training Newsletter, vol. 11 April 2004
Training leaders to train others. 2 Timothy 2:2
Unless truth germinates in the experience of the hearer, it will not produce fruit in his life. This is probably the most important lesson of the seed with respect to training others.
Even in the finest of training situations, biblical truth too often remains theoretical. By this we mean that it does not change the behavior of the trainee. When this happens, biblical truth becomes only a thin layer of knowledge superimposed upon a culture that remains essentially unchanged. The result is what some call “split-level” Christianity, where the head says one thing and the heart another, and behavior is determined by cultural values rather than eternal truth. Split-level Christianity can occur in any culture, whether in the animism of Africa, the humanism of Europe, or the materialism of the United States.
In Jesus’ parable of the seed He teaches us that the seed must fall into the ground and die in order to produce fruit. Death for the seed is not the cessation of life; it is separation. The outer shell of the seed must fall away in order to allow the elements of the soil to penetrate the germ, transforming the seed into a fruit-bearing plant.
How does this apply to planting seed-truths? We might say that the shell represents a rational understanding of truth, but that just as the elements of the soil must break through the shell of the seed, the hearer must enter into a personal relationship with truth. It is not enough for him to understand what the truth means; he must ask what it means for him personally, and how he can relate personally to the truth. As someone has said, the “what?” must be followed by “so what?” and “now what?”
Personalizing truth is probably the greatest challenge faced by the trainer, and is the area of greatest failure. It is difficult to achieve in a formal teaching situation, even with the best of instruction. For personalization to occur, a relationship needs to be established not only with the truth, but with the trainer, who must exemplify the truth in his life. When possible, a mentorship relationship needs to be established.
Personalization reaches its fulfillment when it modifies the behavior of the learner. Until truth is transformed into active obedience in one way or another, we have perhaps only added to the data base of the trainee. Jesus’ curriculum is not “all things I have commanded you,” but obedience to all things He has commanded. We cannot obey without knowledge, but as is too often the case, we can have knowledge without obedience.
The process of personalization usually occurs in three steps: instruction, observation, and imitation. When Tom Peters was conducting a SALT Training Clinic in the Republic of Chad, he asked the trainees to tell him how they taught their children how to fish. Their answer should not surprise us. “First, we give them an explanation so that they understand the process. (This is instruction.) Then, we take them to the river and they watch how we do it. (This is observation.) Then, we give them the net and we watch them. (This is imitation.)”
Tom’s answer should not surprise us either. “Why don’t you teach the Bible in the same way you teach your children to fish.”
Again, from Bruce Triplehorn in Brazil:
RETREL (SALT) continues to grow here. There are three churches that are using the material without my presence. There are around 80 people participating including 16 in the second section (we have three parts: Ambassador, Servant, and Shepherd).
When I was going out to the interior by bus, the Lord gave me four principles that govern RETREL:
1. A spiritual emphasis. While content is important, we desire the students to translate their knowledge into worship. Carlos, a new student said that he was astounded at the material. He had never used worshiped God as he has through the RETREL exercises. This testimony is fairly common among those studying with us.
2. Accessible. In most academic courses, there is a part of the class that find the material over their heads while on the other end of the spectrum, people are unchallenged. We have lawyers and those who have not gone beyond the fourth grade. We have those who have been pastors for almost 20 years and those who have come to know the Lord around a year ago. We have people from 18 to 60 studying. No one is lost and no one is unchallenged.
3. Integrated. It has always bothered me that we teach separate courses as if biblical truth were not interrelated. The word "comprehend" (suniemi) means to bring things together. I think the greatest example of this is the Marituba group. The knowledge of God translated into worship which flowed into the faith principles. By the time we got to fruit-bearing (evangelism), they were already doing it. A new point of light came about through this group a few weeks ago, all because of the Lord working through RETREL. I asked Luis if someone could pick up the course on the second level. He felt that the first level really laid the foundation for the second level.
4. Transferable. Uberlandia, Campinas, and Bairro Jardim are currently studying RETREL without my presence. My goal is to see 600 people trained in RETREL. Pastor Alberto thinks I am shooting too low.
The SALT Newsletter invites your comments.
For pastors, missionaries and lay-leaders
June 21 (Monday), 6:00 PM: dinner. “The Critical Need for Leaders,” Dave Guiles, Executive Director of GBIM.
June 22-25 (Tuesday through Friday)
8:30 AM: Worship
9:00 AM: Tuesday, The Philosophy of Conceptual Training
Wednesday, The Four Laws of Learning (I and II)
Thursday, The Four Laws of Learning (III and IV)
10:00 AM: Break
10:15 AM: A Tale of Four Continents (case studies)
11:00 AM: Germination: Group projects and discussions
12:30 PM: Lunch together
2:00 PM: Tuesday, Leadership Description: the three facets
Wednesday, Leadership Discovery: the untapped source
Thursday, Leadership Development: training centers
Friday, Leadership Deployment: mobilization that works
3:00 PM: Break
3:15 PM: Germination: Group projects and discussions
4:30 PM: Summary: key concepts and application
6:00 PM: Dinner and evening in informal groups
June 26 (Friday): Departure
(For further information or registration, contact Tom Julien: email@example.com .)
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?