Former Oklahoma County District Attorney Wes Lane has changed his focus from prosecuting criminals to uplifting cities and people in Oklahoma City and the world.
Through the organization he spearheaded in 2008, Salt and Light Leadership Training, influential citizens are given the tools to turn their hearts’ passions into real-life changes. Recently, Lane went to Johannesburg, South Africa, and Abidjan, the Ivory Coast, invited by Christian leaders who want to implement a SALLT group in their cities.
The group takes its name from Matthew 5:13-14, which states “You are the salt of the earth … You are the light of the world …”
“Throughout history, culture has always been influenced not by that single great person but by the network,” Lane said.
“Typically in the Christian realm, if you will, what you find is that you’ve your thing going on, she’s got hers, Bob’s got his, John’s got his and they’re all lovely things. Everybody’s got something. But what we do not do is gather,” he said. Lane said by organizing together, he thinks leaders called by God can “answer a question of how do we do something with unity and love that we cannot do as individuals.”
The idea for an organization of like-minded Christian social reformers was inspired by the work of Londoner William Wilberforce and the Clapham Circle at the beginning of the 19th century. Wilberforce’s group focused on ending slavery in Great Britain. After fighting for more than 20 years toward abolition, Wilberforce died three days after passage of abolition in Great Britain. The group also founded the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
SALLT members hope to do similar work in the modern era. They work in groups to effect change, both spiritual and material. Some of the group’s goals are reducing child abuse, drug abuse and human trafficking, while increasing jobs and generosity.
Lane’s connections in Africa came about through a partnership with Campus Crusade’s “The Cities Project,” a Christian group with ministries, or feet on the ground, in hundreds of cities worldwide. Cru, founded by native Oklahoman Bill Bright, is headquartered in Florida. Lane is developing similar relationships with groups such as Oklahoma Baptist University.
Since SALLT began five years ago, about 144 leaders from around the metro area and state have taken the training. This year, more people will find opportunities for the training in a second group, for younger leaders ages 25 to 35.
The list of communities asking for Lane to bring his SALLT program is international, ranging from Kansas City to New York and Los Angeles, and as far as Bangalore, India, and Alexandria, Egypt.
Lane is enthusiastic about the possibilities of reaching out to these worldwide Christians, but wants to make sure SALLT in Oklahoma City is ready to serve all these people. He’s planning to write a short book explaining the concepts of SALLT, one that will be easily translated in other languages, and a video to support the methods.
“We’re working on our infrastructure right now,” Lane said. “The worst thing in the world is to get the people all dressed up with nowhere to go.”
For more information about SALLT, go to www.sallt.com.