Cape Town, South Africa, October 15 2010
Theme: Jewish Evangelism in the 21th Century?
· Here is the 'Program' for the event, subject to alteration.
LCJE South Africa Conference in Cape Town
Compiled by Cecilia Burger, LCJE Coordinator for South Africa
Prior to the LCWE Congress in Cape Town, LCJE South Africa held a conference on Friday, October 15. One hundred thirty people, including twenty from abroad, attended the conference. The theme was “Jewish Evangelism in the 21st Century?”
Cecilia Burger asked three LCJE members for their impressions:
Jack Carstens, David & Jonathan Foundation, Cape Town
The conference of LCJE South Africa was a huge success. The conference took an in-depth look at evangelism to the Jewish world in the 21st century.
Cape Town was fortunate to see and hear world leaders on the subject. Many of them have years of hands-on experience in approaching the Jewish people with the reality that Yeshua is not only the Christian Messiah, but that he is thoroughly Jewish and came especially for “the lost sheep of the House of Israel” (Matt. 24:15).
Mitch Glaser, president of Chosen People Ministries in the USA, was on hand to tell us the fascinating story of how his organization used the prophetic words of Isaiah 53 to reach the hearts and minds of the Jewish people in New York. The Isaiah 53 campaign used billboards, bus shelters, newspaper advertisements and ads on buses to tell the Jewish community to read this chapter in the Jewish Scriptures that could change their lives forever. By responding to these multi-faceted advertisements, interested people could order a book free of charge titled Isaiah 53 Explained. This allowed the organizers to follow up and confirm whether the book made an impact or not.
Michael Sischy, director of Jews for Jesus in South Africa, explained how his team used the Soccer World Cup to speak and engage with soccer fans from around the world, including Israeli visitors.
The conference also heard news from Australia in a talk delivered by Messianic pastor Lawrence Hirsch, a former South African and WP rugby player, now residing down under and pastoring a congregation in Melbourne.
Of course the conference would not have been complete without word from Israel itself. David Zadok was on hand to discuss the ways and means used in Israel to approach the Jewish population who seem more keen than ever to hear about this ever expanding off-shoot from Judaism that refuses to go away.
Many other speakers were on hand to fill in the gaps; they included David Brickner, executive director of Jews for Jesus, and Susan Perlman, JFJ director of communications. The South African speakers included John Atkinson, Edith Sher and Jack Carstens, who led workshops on various subjects.
The conference-goers were left in no doubt that the various organizations were encouraged by the prospects for reaching the Jewish world with the message that the Jewish rabbi from Nazareth came to fulfill his role as the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53, and that he would one day return to establish his kingdom from the throne of David in Jerusalem.
Michael Sischy, Jews for Jesus, South Africa
I was privileged to attend the 2010 LCJE in Cape Town this October. Cecilia Burger, Francois Wessels, John Atkinson and their team did a superb job to organize and execute this event. I was encouraged and impressed by the work of Jewish mission around the globe in its various expressions, as well as the representation of the work of the gospel going out to our Jewish people in South Africa.
Edith Sher gave a refreshing and very honest account from her own journey as a Jewish believer in Jesus, regarding the struggles and issues encountered as a Jew in a predominantly Gentile church environment. She took us through delightful anecdotes as she elaborated on the issues of identity as a Jewish believer and learning to “fit” into Christian Messianic culture. We really could identify with her poignant, honest and touching reflections.
Mitch Glaser updated us on the Isaiah 53 campaign held in New York City this year and enlightened us on using this well known passage and the tools that have been developed to equip the Body of Messiah to use it effectively and in an evangelistic way.
David Brickner from Jews for Jesus gave a sobering reflection on the pitfalls and encouragements we face in Messianic ministry. Lawrence Hirsch took a look at ministry from his vantage point in Melbourne Australia – the work of Messianic congregations in
propagating the gospel was looked at as part of his report. The workshops that were presented were edifying, enlightening and challenging, especially the one by Susan Perlman on engaging the new methods of communication in getting the gospel out. We
were all encouraged to use these new avenues more and not be scared in using them, in having a witness to our Jewish people and a resource for networking in this new way. Tuvya Zaretsky encouraged the participants to join the network of LCJE, to help in the mutual encouragement and partnerships needed to spread the gospel to our Jewish people worldwide, as he summed up the day’s gathering. In all a very worthwhile gathering and a great encouragement to see “God on the move” amongst our Jewish people!
Edith Sher, Messiah’s People, Cape Town
The first impression of the conference was the fact that all the speakers were Jewish. For me as a Jewish believer, it was wonderful to see and hear how Jews were reaching Jews, to hear their heart and their passion, to see that Jewish believers were dedicating their lives to making Yeshua known to our people. The speakers represented different evangelistic organizations and it was enlightening and challenging to learn the variety of creative ways in which they are touching the Jewish community. Mitch Glaser’s presentation of the Isaiah 53 Campaign demonstrated the breadth of vision and boldness God grants his people in proclaiming Yeshua. It was also a reminder that we serve a big God of imitless resources. Michael Sischy showed how we can seize huge opportunities for evangelism by making use of events such as the Soccer World Cup. It was also good
to be reminded by Lawrence Hirsch of the important and pivotal role of Messianic congregations, not just as stopovers en route to the nearest church, but as places of worship where Jews can express themselves as Jews. The two workshops I attended were also helpful, informative and interactive, giving a much needed opportunity to ask questions and engage with the speakers. On the practical side the event was incredibly well-organized and smoothly run, not to mention the fantastic lunch provided! My only quibble is that perhaps the talks were aimed more at the “professional missionary” than at the believerin- the-street, but that is a minor cavil. As one person put it, “There have been occasions when I’ve attended conferences and come home thinking, ‘I could have put my time to better use,’ but after this conference I came away thinking, ‘It was good to have been there.’”
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