Letter from Lev Leigh
To whom it may concern,
I served with Jews for Jesus for six years, from 1995 to 2000. During my time with the mission, I found Jews for Jesus to be a Christian ministry (or Messianic, if you prefer) with a passion for the good news about Jesus and a heartfelt dedication to communicating the message of the Messiah in the most loving, forthright and creative ways possible.
Needless to say, everything that Jews for Jesus endeavored to do, was done, to the best of my knowledge, in line with the ethos and morality germane to Christianity. As anyone who knows anything about this religion will agree, the moral standards of Christianity are extremely high, if not, the highest.
I found that the organization cherished the values of uprightness and integrity in all dealings, both with Jewish people who do not believe in Jesus, with Jewish people who do, and with the believing Church at large, to which Jews for Jesus always showed the highest respect and regard.
Besides being an efficient and effective organization, Jews for Jesus also contributed something of an extended family atmosphere to those dedicated staff members who served and continue to serve under the banner of this ministry. Those people who minister with Jews for Jesus do so because they love the people and the ministry that they are serving with and because they subscribe to the same forthright story that Jews for Jesus upholds.
I formed high-caliber friendships with high-caliber people while I was in the ministry. I continue to retain my friendships with Jews for Jesus people. Some of these Jews for Jesus friends continue to go the extra mile in their support of my family and I; as we have since left the ministry and proceeded into pastoral work.
I always felt proud of the theological stance that Jews for Jesus took and continues to take on a broad range of issues. The ministry made the gospel the primary concern and agreed not to make secondary matters divisive.
During my time with the ministry, I found the leadership of Jews for Jesus to comprise experienced and seasoned men and women of God who gave thoughtful consideration and prayerful deliberation to all the major decisions of the ministry. I was privileged to take part in numerous Jews for Jesus Council meetings where I saw this open, transparent and trusting decision-making process at work. All council meetings took place in the spirit of mutual respect for the opinions of whoever attended these meetings, be they new staff members, administrative workers or veteran missionaries, male or female.
I was also privileged to sit in on numerous meetings and deliberations in the Executive Director’s office. I feel that a special word must be said about David Brickner, who presently serves as the Executive Director of this ministry and who represents the genuine character and ethos of this ministry. In my numerous dealings with him, I found David to be a man with his heart in the right place; a godly, humble and warm-hearted individual who has been graciously leading the ministry from one strength to another and from one season to the next. David was elected to be the new Executive Director by his peers in the ministry of Jews for Jesus. I think they chose well.
David Brickner endeavors to work through all the variegated concerns that come across his table as an under-shepherd of the Messiah. He is fully aware of the spiritual nature of his task and has chosen to make himself accountable to many people within the ministry. An external Board of Directors, from all walks of Christian life, also holds David accountable. I often heard David on the telephone speaking to staff members about their needs, plans or concerns. In each and every conversation, I heard only edifying and encouraging words.
I was never mistreated by the ministry of Jews for Jesus. On the contrary, the ministry always dealt with my family and I impeccably. Further, during my six years of ministry with Jews for Jesus, I know of no one who was mistreated by this ministry. Certainly, no one of the many staff members who I knew ever even hinted that any kind of mistreatment was ever taking place. I did know of some personality conflicts, but what organization fails to have those? Where there were disagreements, godly procedures were mandated, whereby offended parties were encouraged to resolves their differences in person, face to face, before going to a third party for arbitration. It would be good if other organizations could emulate this procedure.
No organization is perfect. Jews for Jesus is, I believe, as upright and above board as anyone could hope for. It is highly respected by other Christian missions and by the Church at large. In fact, Jews for Jesus remains a model of integrity and faithfulness to those who would pursue the high and difficult task of proclaiming the gospel forthrightly and unashamedly to their fellow Jewish people.
Those who have ever been hurt by individuals within this ministry should seek to resolve their pain with the individual who hurt them. The ministry of Jews for Jesus never condoned or encouraged any kind of maltreatment whatsoever. It should not be blamed for the sins, or perceived sins, of certain individuals. And let us remember, individuals are not incapable of sinning!
Any individual who maligns the ministry of Jews for Jesus not only commits an act of ungodly slander but also provokes an unwarranted and ignominious attack on the hundreds of wonderful, noble and kind-hearted people who form the rank and file of this mission all around the world. To cast aspersions on the character of these dedicated individuals is an act of cowardice, whether it is perpetrated by a Jewish or Gentile believer in Jesus, or, for that matter, by a Jew or Gentile who does not believe in him. One could say the former should know better.
As one who served in this ministry for over half a decade, I can solemnly testify and assert once again: the ministry of Jews for Jesus in no way condones or encourages any form of abuse. Accountability levels are high in the ministry. I know of one individual who was removed from his post for unChristian behavior.
Those who may have been hurt by individuals associated with Jews for Jesus need to distinguish between personal and corporate sin. And having done so, those who have been offended ought to go directly to the individual that allegedly hurt them, and seek an apology, render forgiveness, or form some kind of resolution face-to-face.
Slandering an organization at large, and by association all those people unknown to the offended party who work within it, is no way to work out one’s unresolved interpersonal conflicts.
My years in Jews for Jesus engendered within me a strong sense of dedication and seriousness of purpose, of uprightness and integrity, and of humility in the high and holy calling of serving the Messiah. When I announced that I was leaving the ministry of Jews for Jesus, I was upheld and supported in my decision.
To those who continue on in the mission I say, Be strong and very courageous” (Joshua 1:6).
Written of my own free will and sincerely
Pastor Lev Leigh
Hope Baptist Church
AN OPEN LETTER REGARDING MY EXPERIENCE WITH JEWS FOR JESUS
My name is Jenifer Leigh. I served with the ministry of Jews for Jesus for six years.
I am very thankful to the ministry for allowing me to serve the Lord with them in bringing the Gospel to the Jewish people. During my time with the ministry, I served on four New York campaigns. I enjoyed them all. In fact, I enjoyed all my years of service with Jews for Jesus. I would not have had the opportunity to tell so many of my Jewish people about Jesus if it were not for the ministry of Jews for Jesus.
I also had the opportunity to really grow in my own personal life. David Brickner likes to remind me of the first time he met me. He says that I was so shy I couldn’t even look at him in the eye as we sat over a cup of coffee. Through the years, Jews for Jesus upheld me and encouraged me and I grew in confidence and in many other ways.
In all my years with Jews for Jesus I was never mistreated by the ministry of Jews for Jesus, nor did I ever know of anyone being mistreated by the ministry.
I left the ministry on good terms and continue to have a good relationship with people still in Jews for Jesus. I am thankful to God for allowing me six good years of serving Him with the ministry of Jews for Jesus.