Stephen Katz was born in Highland Park, Illinois, and raised in a traditional Jewish home in Skokie. He received a Jewish education in a Conservative synagogue where he became bar mitzvah and confirmed. He has been a believer in Yeshua since May of 1975.
Prior to coming on our staff, Stephen was the Program Director at Lawrence Hall Youth Services in Chicago, working with emotionally disturbed children and adolescents. He has both a bachelor’s and a master’s of social work from the University of Illinois and is in the process of course work for an M.A. in missiology with concentration in Jewish Evangelism/Judaic studies from the Fuller School of World Mission in Pasadena, California.
He was at B’nai Maccabim from 1976 to1989 where he served as worship leader for seven years and was also an elder for the last year and a half. Ron Gazlay, one of the elders of the congregation, describes Stephen’s ministry to him:
My wife, Shellie, and I first met Steve a dozen years ago. We were undergoing a spiritual search at the time. A friend recommended a congregation in Highland Park, and we decided to go. Steve was one of the people (along with Mike Becker and Jhan Moskowitz) who was there for us and made a huge impact on our lives. He demonstrated to us that there was a greater purpose for our lives through our Messiah Yeshua. We saw compassion, humility and sacrifice in Stephen’s life. We wanted that too! We went and got it! Praise God for good teachers.
Stephen came on staff with Jews for Jesus in 1989. He began his ministry with us in Southern California, where he led the local music team, Israelight. Prior to his post as Minister-at-Large, he led our San Francisco branch. He’s written for ISSUES, our evangelistic publication, and he’s written some of our broadside tracts. He is a talented musician and gifted worship leader, and he directed our West Coast Ingathering children’s program in 1994.
Stephen leads evangelistic teams on our witnessing campaigns, and he continues to lead worship at our public meetings as well as staff gatherings. In addition to writing for the Mishpochah Message, his duties as Minister-at-Large include reaching out to Jewish people where we do not have branches. He also is receiving applications for our music group, The Liberated Wailing Wall, as well as for our Summer Witnessing Campaign.