Away From the Spotlight
East Asia is reshaping right before our eyes. Tradition is strong and important in Asian culture, and it could be that this present generation is experiencing more change than in any generation before.
The transformation is deep.
it is economic.
it is social.
it is spiritual.
it is cultural.
It is everywhere.
It is reaching through social status and economic structures to impact families and individuals. People are getting money. People are becoming consumers. People are moving to the urban centers. Many are getting an education.
The very makeup of families is changing. Social structures and traditions are being swept away while technology shapes how people interact on a very basic level. The river of Asia’s society has changed course like the Yellow River of old, and no one knows where it will end up.
The Church has not been immune to these sweeping changes. Many countries throughout Asia have experienced extreme growth. In the country where SALT has worked the longest, both the unregistered and registered church have felt this expansion. The unregistered church experienced unprecedented growth in the midst of significant hardships but is now transitioning to a different stage as greater freedoms and prosperity have been introduced. The registered church is experiencing strong growth despite inherent limitations and historical baggage. Other brands of Christian expression have arisen in the cities; creative and vibrant and unlike anything that has gone before. The church has moved beyond mere survival and is rightly questioning its role in society and its impact on the world stage.
All this change has captivated the world. Much of the global mission effort and resources have been channeled in the direction of the change—toward the urban, toward the increasingly educated, toward the increasingly affluent.
And yet, away from the spotlight, in the stillness of obscurity, we see something different.
Church leaders still poor.
Pastors still isolated.
Education levels still low.
Laborers still few.
Burdensome responsibilities but without basic resources.
These are the passed over pastors. These are the ones who labor unnoticed. These are the ones who labor unequipped. These are the forgotten leaders. And these are the ones in SALT’s vision. The ones for whom SALT has a vision to help.
The good news is that our experience puts us in the perfect place to help them. Our curriculum was built for this. Our approach is in line with this. Our teachers have the platform and the background to equip them.
Nevertheless, in order to meet this need, we have found that we are in need of change within our own organization—a refocusing of our vision as well as an overhaul of our approach. We need to change, to improve, to ante up our game. We want nothing less than to fully utilize all our resources to empower these leaders, so that they can in turn arm and ground all of their people in the foundational truths of the Word of God—a people able, not only to understand faith’s foundations, but to instruct one another in it.
I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. Romans 15:14 (ESV)