God Intended It For Good
Is bigger always better? Is more necessarily merrier? If you ask Joseph our head of East Asia SALT training, he would beg to differ. Read on to find out why.
While “climate conditions” have remained fairly stable, COVID continues to present the greatest challenge for SALT’s programs. Strict anti-pandemic measures have prevented large gatherings from taking place, including church worship services. Events that once engaged two or three hundred people now need to be divided up across five or six separate venues.
At first, it was difficult to adjust to these restrictions, but after some time, the advantages became obvious. As Joseph explains, “Previously, the atmosphere of larger gatherings was naturally more lively. However, with fewer participants, brothers and sisters actually have more opportunities to connect and communicate, resulting in strengthened relationships.”
In terms of learning, smaller-scale Bible study classes have also proven to be more effective. As Joseph testifies, “Because class size is reduced, each student has more opportunity to express and share their views, which makes for more enriched and in-depth discussions. In turn, this fosters a deeper teaching and shepherding impact. The rate of learning and mastering materials has also improved due to increased interaction. This contrasts with experiences in the past where students left promptly after attending class. There was minimal exchange between SALT’s pastor-teachers and students, making it hard for pastors to know their flock.” Joseph concludes, “The small-group model fills the gaps in this area.”
In terms of evangelism, traditional methods such as distributing leaflets in parks, schools or streets are almost impossible to adopt now. Large-scale evangelistic meetings such as Christmas gatherings are no longer allowed. However, this does not daunt our SALT trainers, as Joseph attests, “While the number of participants is small, it is now easier for pastors to actively follow up with one-on-one nurturing and discipleship.”
As I listened to Joseph’s testimony, I could not help but think of the beloved Bible character by the same name Joseph, whose words were recorded in the Book of Genesis: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20 NIV)