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.