By Theresa Newell, LCJE-NA Coordinator
LCJE is, by definition, the only global organization in existence today in which people involved in the field of Jewish evangelism come together to share information and resources. LCJE is a network that exists to help workers in Jewish evangelism to meet and exchange ideas in regular consultations and to build fellowship together. Often this exchange happens at conferences, both national and international, that LCJE sponsors. But there are other ways for this to happen in today's 21st century world. One of these methods is using cyberspace, either using electronic mail (e-mail) or websites.
Some years ago, the LCJE International Committee began to discuss the idea of creating a website which would not only serve the members of LCJE but give worldwide accessibility to information about the work of the organization. As the newly elected North America coordinator, I was asked to see if I could make such a website come into existence.
I accepted the challenge not because I am a website creator. Far from it! But I did think that I could find the right people to do the job. I also thought the idea was terrific, especially for a global ministry such as LCJE. Fortunately, I am on staff at an Episcopal seminary where many young "geeks" reside! One seminarian, Chris, had a website business on the side, so he was the first person from whom I sought help. Chris did the original design for the site and posted the first information. When he became too busy with his seminary work (and a new baby!), another web-er, Chad, who oversaw our seminary's online program, came in to refine and build on Chris's work. Today Cindy Osborne, Caspari Center of Jerusalem's USA representative, serves as our newest, long-term Webmaster. (webmaster's note: Cindy's husband Sean took over the site in September with a complete re-design of the site - you're looking at it now!).
What goes onto a Website?
Websites are a wonderful way to get your message out to the world. Deciding just what to put on the site was something the committee spent time discussing. Here are some of the selections that presently appear at www.lcje.net:
- Conference Papers. For years my LCJE-NA predecessors had been cataloging copies of well-done, scholarly papers that had been presented at successive annual LCJE conferences in the United States. The International coordinator had done the same for the every-four-year international conferences as well. This catalogue of papers is a valuable asset. Making it available electronically on a website multiplied its usefulness exponentially. Those logging on could look for the titles and authors of interest and simply download a particular paper for reading on screen or printing out for later reading or filing. In 2002 the papers given at the North American conference (which also included some papers from the simultaneously held Latin America conference) were posted onto the website immediately following the conference. The program for the conference are also presented on the website for those who could not attend.
- The Bulletin. Selections from LCJE's standard quarterly, The Bulletin, one issue back, have recently begun appearing on the website. The Bulletin has been mailed to members only until now. Now anyone in the world can read this publication even if a quarter later than members. This is a good incentive to become a member and still have access to the website as well.
- Basic history and application information. When we thought of what else would be helpful in communicating the LCJE message, the basic documents that are required for membership came to the top of the list. You will find on the website membership application forms and information, a basic explanation and history of the organization, and documents such as the Lausanne Covenant to which all members and conference speakers must agree.
- Updates. Wondering when the next conference is happening or looking for reports on recent meetings on the topic of Jewish evangelism? Or what some of our LCJE members are up to? Page One of the website is the place to look for such info with links to detailed reports.
- Book Reviews. Keeping up with the newest literature in the field of Jewish evangelism and related areas is most important. Some of the newest books in related fields and news of the latest publications in the field appear on the site.
- Profiles. Get to know more about the leaders in LCJE worldwide by watching for brief profiles of the coordinators from many different countries.
- Registration information on upcoming LCJE Conferences. Check the website for not only dates of upcoming conferences, national and international, but also find registration forms, hotel information and schedules of upcoming conferences.
- Links. For those who are "society members," the website will carry links to your websites. If you are a "society member," have a website of your own and would like to have a link on the LCJE site, email email@example.com
How can YOU help make the LCJE website even better?
The LCJE website is the newest edition to the system of worldwide communications in the organization. We have a long way to go and welcome ideas from our members. Here are some ways you as an LCJE member may be able to help:
Send me information well in advance on evangelism campaigns, conferences, special speakers events, etc. which your group is sponsoring. Remember the website is open to anyone who visits, so put up what you want everyone to read. Send one good photo electronically, perhaps, to use with your report of such an event.
Suggest a new book that you think should be reviewed. Write the review and send it in!
Because we are still looking for ways to make the website more attractive and helpful, don't hesitate to e-mail me with your suggestions on how to make the site better.
Pray for this new venture for LCJE that it might be a tool of helpful communication for those working in the field of Jewish evangelism whether from a missions, congregational or scholarly perspective.
Finally, check the site to see how it works for you. Check out the links and see what might be helpful for what you are working on, thinking about, teaching on, etc. right now. Just this week I was able to point to a person who was witnessing to a Jewish woman. The woman had come in contact with a strong anti-missionary and had discouraged about whether Jesus was in fact her Messiah as she was coming to believe. I suggested that her gentile friend check some of the papers that had been given on "anti-missionary movements" among Jewish organizations on the LCJE website to help them get a better perspective on some of the arguments put forth by the anti-missionaries.
From the beginning, I have been serving as "editor" for the website, but there may be some one out there who is equipped and called to take on this role in the future. Let me know if that person is you!
So we have made a new beginning into cyberspace in the worldwide network of LCJE through our new website. But it is only a beginning. We look for your comments and contributions to make it better as we go along. As in all other programs which LCJE attempts as a networking agency for Jewish evangelism workers, the website is only as good as the input that comes from each of its members. So we look forward to hearing from you!