All God’s Work!
Rejoice with us over the recent graduation of 34 students from one of SALT’s Three-Year Certificate Programs! All are missionaries (sent out from their local churches) who have previously studied theology elsewhere. So why would they choose to spend another three years with SALT?
Brother Wang, who manages the “Fungus” training site, put it this way: “We received other theological training in the past, but in general, we found the training too theoretical. On the contrary, SALT courses hit close to home. They are practical and interactive. Not only does this make it easy for us to understand, master and apply to our lives and our ministry, but it also enhances teacher-student relationships.”
As one graduate attests, “SALT courses benefit not only the church we serve, but us personally.” In short, our students come in order to better equip themselves and improve their labor for the Lord. While we’re ecstatic over their appreciation, we know this is all God’s work, not ours. And to think that ten years ago, we were still wondering whether or not we should even consider any certificate program!
Since the late 1990s, the rapid progression of the East Asian economy and the rise in educational levels have significantly impacted Bible training. Pursuing higher qualifications became the norm for the church. Many certificate programs emerged, which prompted us to pray about offering our own program. As one of our national trainers observed back in 2012, “Everyone is now taking the high-speed rail, but we are still riding a steam train.”
Thus, we began a year-long exploration that led us to partner with a seminary. Distinct from other Bible training programs available at that time, our course required students to transfer what they had learned in class. Despite some fear that this would prove overly onerous and make the course less attractive, we thank God that we stood firm in maintaining transference as a core condition. A valuable learning experience for SALT, this experiment helped us lay a solid foundation upon which our current Three-Year Certificate Program developed.
When the Three-Year Certificate Program was formally established in 2018, we also introduced a system to collect data on student learning, which greatly helped us assess student performance, and evaluate the program’s progress. Collecting data in a highly monitored country is always difficult, but PTL, we have been able to do the job so far!
Most recently due to COVID and tightening policies, the church has encountered yet more changes. Demand for Bible training suddenly escalated, especially since foreign trainers are no longer allowed into the country. Currently facing a drastic, unexpected shortage of trainers, the East Asian church finally understands the need to build up indigenous training teams. Transference is now embraced by all our training partners, and more training sites are in the pipeline for SALT. PTL, He turns seemingly bad situations into good!
Thanks to your faithful support, around 60 students in total have qualified under SALT’s Three-Year Certificate Program since January 2021, with more expected before year-end. We hope this is just the beginning. Though the future may be full of challenges and uncertainties, we press on knowing that no matter what happens, it is all God’s work!