Annual Report for LCJE Israel 2003By David Boyd, LCJE Coordinator for Israel
As we begin 2004, there is much to be thankful for in the year that has gone by. There continues to be both concerted and organized outreaches in Israel. They have taken varied forms: training to reach Israeli ‘new agers’ both in the Land and in India and an outreach in Jerusalem at a public viewing of the movie of Matthew’s Gospel in a secular cinematech by a group of students.
Here is a quick summary of some of the ministries with successful outreaches in the Land. Jews for Jesus has completed the translation of the book Future Hope into Hebrew and is making effective use of it. They held outreaches at most of the music and new age festivals in Israel and are actively following up over 125 contacts that the made at these festivals. A new Hebrew language website has increased the number of inquiries from 5 per month to 5 per week.
The Yeshua video continues to have a significant impact. Thousands of copies are being distributed at the request of individuals who respond to the flyers. There is a trend however away from video and a growing need to develop a DVD version of film. This past year the leadership decided to go with less mass distribution and with more targeted distribution and a more focused follow-up program. The congregations participating are showing more boldness, but there is still a growing need for more commitment to the follow-up process. The major results are coming not from the simple distribution of the video, but from the one to one contact that comes afterward. The video is a tool for creating discussion and gauging openness.
R has established a formal Israeli amutah for her new outreach ministry. She has an approach that is both culturally sensitive, Bible based and very effective in Jerusalem. Besides creating opportunities for gathering during the festivals, she organizes weekly Bible studies with a local congregation leader that is followed by a collective meal and open discussion times to debate and question the content of the study. This has created a great openness and willingness to consider the claims of Yeshua and has people regularly making commitments to follow the Lord.
The local leadership of the Messianic movement has been increasingly involved in cooperative outreach activities. As the LCJE representative for Israel, I am planning to attend the March meeting of the executive and to discuss plans for cooperation between our two groups. We will also discuss policies relative to the dissemination of information and how that information can best be published.
Although the Israel College of the Bible is not an evangelistic or missions organization, it continues to be very involved in training of Israeli messianic people and leaders. Last year six pastors and elders studied with the college. There are requests to being courses both at the discipleship and college levels in Spanish and French. Furthermore, the Board of the College has recently approved the creation of two new graduate level institutes: Messianic Counselling and Messianic Leadership that are to begin in the fall of 2004.
In its recent application to the Council for Higher Education in the State of Israel, the College requested recognition and accreditation of its programs. The process has begun and is being followed up on. The Government of Israel has indicated to us that if we hope to receive that recognition, then we must open up our courses to students of Jewish and Muslim backgrounds who might be interested in studying about Yeshua. This is a revolutionary statement and its implications for both the College and the Messianic Movement in Israel are enormous.
We are currently planning a meeting of all those organizations who are involved in evangelism in Israel to see how the LCJE can be of assistance to them and facilitate communications between them. I trust that this will help give the LCJE a renewed vigor in Israel.