SALT was founded in 1996 to meet the need for pastoral training in East Asia. The rural church was growing by thousands of new believers every day. It was clear that the traditional model of Bible schools would be ineffective because the training needed to spread as quickly as the church was growing. The challenge was to train in such a way that the students became the teachers who could then effectively train others as church leaders.
Our target group was experienced rural evangelists with less than a middle school education. Most ministries wrongly assumed these church leaders had at least a high school education and almost exclusively used materials translated from English. We concluded that the best long-term approach was to develop materials from scratch in the language of our target group, matching their education level and addressing their felt needs.
We began our training using two borrowed, but very popular, locally produced courses. By the end of 2002, we had added six of our own newly produced courses/books. We had in place our initial curriculum and training departments. Our first national trainers became part of the team. We established a systematic approach to training church leaders in 8 different areas.
As we gained a better understanding of the needs of the church, we created 11 new courses and brought on board more rural-based national trainers gifted in teaching their peers. We also expanded our administrative base in order to create and sustain partnerships with others doing similar work.
While still creating new courses, we embedded more teacher-friendly helps to further assist those with low education to become competent and confident teachers. A major milestone was successfully developing a process for helping Asian church leaders to develop their own materials. As our reputation grew, we received more requests from other national churches.
Pastoral training expanded to Vietnam, Nepal, Myanmar, and the Philippines using our foundational courses. These courses were also revised and modified to be appropriate for a more general Asian audience. Thousands of church leaders across Asia are using SALT materials and teaching methods to equip the next generation of pastors!