Have you ever wandered along a shoreline and suddenly stumbled upon a rusty old anchor lodged in the sand? It is intriguing to wonder about the ship it once was tethered to, and how that anchor ended up marooned on the shore. Anchors are important to the mission of any ship for stability in a storm, or to hold steady while unloading precious cargo.
All who follow Jesus must hold fast to God’s purposes and His promises as revealed in His Word, knowing that, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast” [emphasis supplied] (Hebrews 6:19).
Our strategic anchors
In Jews for Jesus, we have three additional “strategic anchors” to help us succeed in our unique calling:
- Jewish evangelism
- authentic Jewish testimony
- results oriented
We continually ask ourselves, “Does this plan, event or strategy align with our three anchors?” Let me unpack that for you.
Our name, “Jews for Jesus,” states it plainly: we are all about Jewish evangelism and always have been since we began in the early 1970s.
Jewish evangelism sums up our entire purpose, and is probably why you—and anyone else—support and pray for us. That is why I’ve listed it first, yet written less about it than our other two anchors, which might not be as self-explanatory.
Authentic Jewish Testimony
Our front-line missionaries are either Jewish or have a Jewish spouse because as Jews, we speak as cultural insiders. We understand Jewish objections to the gospel. We share the same Jewish survival instinct. We speak of Jewish people as “us” and not “them.” It is essential to our testimony that we remain true to our connection with other Jewish people.
Our Jewish testimony signals to other Jewish people that the gospel is okay for our people too. Many churches that partner with us have seen this first hand. Take Ida, for example.
Short and bright-eyed, Ida smiled as she announced that she’s 91 years old. Suzette, her Gentile daughter-in-law, had brought her to a church service to hear from a Jew for Jesus. “I’m Jewish, too,” Ida explained, “but I’m too old to believe in that (meaning the gospel of Jesus).” And yet a week later, she spoke with the pastor of that church and prayed to receive salvation through Jesus. Simply hearing from another Jewish person who believed in Jesus had validated the Jewishness of the gospel for Ida, allowing her to admit what she had gradually come to believe.
We don’t want to be like the proverbial archer who shot an arrow into the side of a barn and then drew a target around it. That’s one way to “hit the bullseye,” but anyone who wants to succeed in their calling needs to know what they are aiming for. That requires unwavering focus, intentionality, consistency and measuring results.
As we measure results, we understand that no one can surrender to God through faith in Jesus without a sovereign act of the Holy Spirit. “So neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God, who gives the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:7).
While it is the work of the Holy Spirit to save people, we are invited into His work and can measure our efforts to that end. That is why we set goals and measure our activities—whether it be how many Jewish people we meet within a given week, month or year, or how many pieces of literature or New Testaments we distribute. And yes, we keep track of how many people, both Jews or Gentiles, pray with us to receive the Lord—even though we cannot predict or set goals for how many that will be.
So now you know how Jews for Jesus is guided by strategic anchors as we plan and carry out the ministry God has entrusted to us. In the end, though, we are radically dependent on the work of the Holy Spirit to accomplish anything of lasting value. And frankly, we would have it no other way. Thanks be to God!