Jewish Evangelism – Sad but True Rabbi Michael Weiner
This is the third year in a row that our Shomair leadership has gathered at the beginning of the year to pray and listen to what God is saying to us for the coming year. The result is our annual congregational declaration. Here is a quote from the 5th sentence of this year’s declaration, “This will be a year of taking back the ground the enemy has stolen.” I believe our desire to fulfill our evangelistic calling is an answer to that prayer.
Last week the eldership of Shomair had our first conference call on Jewish evangelism. My first question? Who is getting “it” right (where “it” is Jewish evangelism)? In the business world, we are all in search of “best practices.” What works and why, that’s what we want to know. However; the answer to my first question, was anything but the answer I was seeking. I was immediately directed to the book of Acts. The Apostles got “it” right, but we already knew that.
Back to my original question, what congregation in North America is being successful in Jewish evangelism? According to the evangelist I was interviewing, I’ll have to keep looking. There are ministries with some success (like Jews For Jesus, jewsforjesus.org. They go where Jewish people are. We just don’t have a lot of Jewish people in Knoxville. But there are a lot of lost people in Knoxville and some of them are Jewish. My question is, “How do we be faithful to the great commission where we are?”
I plan from 4 to 6 other interviews. There are a great many resources out there. In my first interview, I made 8 bullet points. I’ve already written about the first one. Would you like to see them all? Here they are …
- Who is getting it right? The sad answer is that nobody is. Yeshua got it right, and so did His Apostles. His ministry started with the command, “Follow me.” It ended with the command, “Go and make disciples.” We are not Yeshua, but we need to walk in His authority.
- What would “getting it right” look like? We have to refer to the book of Acts. Peter and John could not be silenced and neither should we. Also, like them, we should be willing to move in signs and wonders.
- We should partner with churches that not only love Israel, but also love the people of Israel, and have a heart to reach the Jewish people.
- What are the practical next steps? What follows are some practical next steps.
- Pray for a champion. The last words of Matthew 9 seem to fit here … Matthew 9:37-38 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore pray to the Lord of the harvest that He may send out workers into His harvest field.” Our eldership team at Shomair has accepted the challenge to be the champions of evangelism until the Lord raises up more leadership to come along side us.
- Start with prayer. Years ago, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association organized the Knoxville area body of Messiah for a festival in Knoxville. I’m glad they no longer call them crusades. 1,000 years ago, the Crusaders killed Jews. In the several meetings I attended, I was impressed with the emphasis on prayer. Who knows more about evangelism than BGEA, and they know nothing happens without much prayer.
- What would be some “ice breaker” questions to begin a conversation with a stranger or a friend that could open the door to share the good news? Some possibilities … “Do you ever wonder why you’re here?” Or, “Have you ever felt drawn to God?” John 6:44 No one can come to Me unless My Father who sent Me draws him – and I will raise him up on the last day.
- We need more of the power of God in our lives individually and collectively. Prayer is our chief weapon to bringing in the presence of God. Jacob 4:2b You do not have because you do not ask. Let us all continually knock, seek and ask for His presence. Not selfishly, but out of love for our brothers.
Please pray for us. We are going to have more conversations like this in the coming days and weeks. Feel free to share your thoughts by replying to this post or sending me an email message. I read every one. Blessings my friends. Rabbi Michael.