The Sunset Academy of Leadership Training (SALT) is designed to be a resource for churches of Christ in biblical leadership development. The need for training leaders within the church becomes more evident each day. Congregations need a program that strengthens their current leaders and prepares the next generation to lead. At SALT, we want to help congregations with this need.
Over the past year, we have developed tools that equip congregations in areas of leadership development. Online lessons can be downloaded to teach weekly classes that focus on training leaders. We recently introduced our weekly saltCasts. These podcasts feature interviews with various leaders who serve within the church. Through these discussions, we explore avenues to help leaders learn more about a number of critical topics. Another resource is saltTalks. Speakers are invited to share information that will assist leaders in various areas related to their specific role. Later this year, we plan to publish our first saltJournal. The saltJournal is a publication designed to provide scholarly articles focused on biblical leadership principles, leadership issues in the 21st century, and a host of other related topics. Look for this publication in the near future.
We are also set to host the first saltShop Leadership Training Experience. This event is designed to provide current elders, potential elders, those who might serve as elders in the future, and others with an opportunity to learn from some of the leading men in the brotherhood. These lessons are designed to encourage, strengthen, and equip men to serve in this needed role.
SALT currently serves more than 25 congregations, and we are adding more each week. These congregations are excited about the work of SALT with their leadership. Bill Zuker, an elder with the Mannford church of Christ, shared the value SALT has been to their growth as elders. “SALT guided us in writing a vision and mission statement, a process that helped us grow as leaders. We realized our struggle to clearly define what we wanted to communicate, and SALT helped us find the best way/avenue to communicate it. Our work with SALT has made us better shepherds because we now focus on shepherding the sheep, not administrating the church. We looked internally as individuals and as an eldership and have grown because of this process. Mannford’s elders are closer and have a better understanding and respect for one another because of the time focusing on God.”
Tom Condos, with the Spokane Valley church of Christ, shared his thoughts about working with SALT. “The Spokane Valley church of Christ recently employed the SALT program to re-energize the church in Washington. The congregation had developed a complacent attitude over the years and was revitalized by the workshop directed by brother Bob Turner with SALT. The workshop inspired the congregation to have productive discussions, which led us to develop a new vision statement for the church. The workshop also helped the church generate a greater desire to re-establish biblical leadership as per the New Testament.”
Russell Simpson, an elder with the Lehman Avenue church of Christ, also spoke about SALT’s work in a recent leadership retreat. “A few words about SALT and Bob’s presentations at the men’s retreat: First of all, we had a terrific age range present. Bob had the whole group involved and he really got the creative juices flowing. Two of the greatest things I learned was Lehman’s elders in many cases fail to communicate well and listen carefully. We fail to share our vision, we fail to ask for others’ involvement and we fail to allow others to invest themselves in our vision. The SALT presentations helped Lehman’s leaders identify some of our deficiencies and ways to improve as leaders at church, at home and in our communities. This was by far one of our best men’s retreats to date. I believe with all my heart that the providence of God had a large part in bringing Bob to us if only for a short visit. And for that, I am forever grateful. And through that, we had the opportunity to learn about SALT and grow together as better men in the Lord’s Kingdom.”
We are thankful for the opportunity to serve these and many others in the work of our Lord’s church. As we continue into the new year, we pray that God will open more doors to assist congregations where needs exist and strengthen the future of leadership in the church.