The SaltShaker, 1988 (Updated)

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Above is the scanned copy of the 1st issue of the Saltshaker, Vol. 1, No. 1, Oct/Nov 1998. Sam Shin was the Editor-in-Chief, I was the Senior Advisor. We had an Editoral Staff of 7 other friends. The Saltshaker was a birth out of the challenge Sam and I received from a retreat called “College Amen ’88 Retreat.” Though there were not many people at this retreat (about 45 college students and seminarians), it was a powerful event which was organized by Princeton Theological Seminary students (Paul Yang, Ron Chu, myself and others) who gave the messages, and praise led by Min Yong Chung and others from the University of Illinois who had a band called “Alpha Omega.” The Theme of the Retreat was “Becoming Salt and Light.” Here’s an excerpt of what I wrote in the first Saltshaker issue as I recounted College Amen ’88:

“Because there were only 45 people, the atmosphere was very intimate. By the end of the retreat everyone felt like they were part of one big family. The schedule emphasized small groups. The best part of this retreat was that we actually got to know people well. There were intimate times of sharing – many opened up about their honest struggle to know God and the problems they were having.

Through praise, prayer, listening to the Word and sharing, we all tasted what true fellowship of the Holy Spirit was…

Many people truly dedicated themselves to God. Some are seeking to go into ministry, others reconsidered what it means for Christians to be “in” in the world, but not “of” the world…

I believe that many who came to the college AMEN 88 retreat will become the future leaders of society as well as servants of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

How true that last sentence became. Of 45 people that were present at College Amen 88, many did go on to be influential and impactful leaders. The young leaders then — Paul Yang, Ron Chu, Min Chung, and others — are now Senior Pastors of significant ministries. Many of the college students who attended went into full-time ministry, like Sam Shin, and others rededicated themselves to be Salt and Light on their campuses and workplaces.

As I reflect on this past retreat, I realize how inadequate we were yet how sufficient God was. Those Princeton days for me (1986-1989) were times of struggle (as I wrestled with the liberalism of Princeton Seminary), but also a time of revival in the work of youth and college ministry. Not only AMEN 88, but so many events during those days which can only be characterized as “revival.” This revival was real in that it was not merely emotional but it bore the fruit of many changed lives (not only for the moment) and the scope of it was quite amazing. The sense of God’s presence was perceptible and irrestible, not only by those who came ready to worship and hear the Word, but by people who had little or no spiritual desire. I witness some amazing transformation of people who were, not only theologically, but perceptibly spiritually dead, to become in almost an instance “on fire for God.” This time of revival in the 80s and early 90s was lacking theological depth because its leaders were young and inexperienced. This is one of the reasons why this period may have been short lived and in the end bore many emotional excesses. However, it is undenial to me that the late 80s and early 90s were a time of renewal and revival, at least among the Korean Americans on the east coast. Often I find myself saying, “Lord, do it again!”… but with more depth.

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8 Responses to The SaltShaker, 1988 (Updated)

  1. JumboBody says:

    Billy, hello! We met once at JAMA in Atlanta in 2003 but you probably don’t remember. Our wives I think knew one another from UVA. I have really been enjoying your blog both as a Christian and as a pastor. I used to serve at KCPC Atlanta from 1998-2000, and am now part of the PCA serving a church here in Arizona so I remember running into a few folks from your church back then I think. Anyways, just dropping a line to say hello. Many blessings to you! Joe

  2. Billy Park says:

    Thanks Joe for getting in touch. I’ve emailed you directly, so please check your email.

  3. Julie Chang says:

    Hi Pastor Billy!

    Remember me? Julie (Kim) now Chang from OKC (when you Pastored there). Glad we’re able to reconnect through the blog world (aka Pastor Sam’s blog). He’s been my Pastor at Wellspring for the past 4 years! =) Pastor Sam’s love for books and theology reminds me of you!

    You’ve been such an encouragement during that most difficult time in my life. I truly thank the Lord for blessing us with such a wonderful Pastor back then in Socal! Hopefully one day you will come visit Wellspring and be a guest speaker!

  4. Billy Park says:

    Julie, Great to hear from you. I heard from Sam that you were at Wellspring. It’s been a long time since the OKC days. Thanks for sharing such encouraging words. I really had a hard time at OKC however I was glad to meet some great people like you and others.

    Thanks for getting in touch. You’re in good hands with Sam as your pastor, and of course ultimately in the hands of our great God.

  5. TimK says:

    Billy, thanks for sharing this. Like Julie, I am blessed to attend Wellspring where Sam Shin pastors. Question: was he such a prolific writer back in the day?

  6. Billy Park says:

    Tim,
    I think Sam really got his start in writing with the Saltshaker. You can check with him, but it was in 1988 that Sam really became spiritually awakened and began to really step into spiritual leadership roles starting with leadership in the Saltshaker. Saltshaker was not only a newsletter, but we sponsered retreats and summer gatherings for college and young adults. Sam really was instrumental in keeping the Saltshaker ministries going for a few years. At the beginning, Sam and I spent many late nights trying to put together issues of the Saltshaker. We didn’t know what we were doing. We were neither good writers nor graphic designers, however, it was through this ministry, Saltshaker, that both Sam and I gained a desire for graphic design and writing. We also were not very astute theologically. When I read some of the articles in the previous Saltshaker, it reflected a lot of theological ignorance and sometimes error. However, it is by God’s grace that Sam and I have come to become more reformed and biblical in our thinking. Praise God that he does not always leave us in our ignorance and error.

    By the way, Sam is the second person from the right in the dark photo on the Saltshaker.

  7. Sam S says:

    Billy, that pic is hilarious. I’m going to link this to my blog. I just got back vacation in our old stomping grounds, NJ. Man oh man, when I think about the SaltShaker, I can’t help but remember some very long nights and good times.

    It’s good to always hear from you Billy. I’m actually going to the Desiring God National Conference in Sept this year. You wouldn’t happen to be going, would you?

  8. Billy Park says:

    Sam, good to hear from you too. How was Frank’s wedding? Send me a picture.
    By the way, I would love to go to the Desiring God Conference, but I won’t be going to any conferences this year. Let me know how it goes.

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