Read more about our Core Values

There is an old Yiddish phrase, Man drives but God holds the reins.” As Jews for Jesus we take that a step further, recognizing that we are dependent on God and His Word for all that we do. Apart from Christ and the power of His Spirit, we can do nothing. Yet we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. And through Him we can commit ourselves to certain values.

I think it is important for individuals and organizations alike to be mindful of the values that help define us. Recently, our Jews for Jesus staff articulated a “Core Values” statement to help us rally around our fundamental commitments. Core values don’t represent an exhaustive list of all our commitments, nor are they meant to serve as a doctrinal statement. They do point out key scriptural principles that serve to identify us and how we conduct our ministry around the world. Core values help define what makes Jews for Jesus unique. Our Boards of Directors around the world unanimously adopted our “Core Values” statement (please see list at end).

I wanted to share those core values with you, our friends and supporters of Jews for Jesus, to encourage you and to help you understand our basic commitments. First, we have a preamble to establish the foundation upon which each of these values rest:

Understanding that we at Jews for Jesus

  • are under the authority of God and His Word
  • desire to honor Messiah Yeshua and
  • are dependent upon the enabling power of the Holy Spirit

we commit to the following core values:

Then the statement goes on to list nine values. I don’t want to elaborate on each one here, but I would like to bring you into our thinking on the specific values over time, starting with the first core value: Direct Jewish evangelism as our priority. Some may wonder why a Jewish mission needs to state this at all. It seems rather obvious that a mission to the Jews should make Jewish evangelism a priority! Yet throughout history, many Jewish missions and missionaries who began by wanting to talk to Jews about Jesus have ended up talking to the Church about Jews.

It is difficult, even as a Jewish mission, to keep the focus on sharing Christ with the unsaved. Jewish evangelism is difficult. My people have a long-standing tradition of unbelief, and often view with contempt those who seek to share the gospel. The discomfort of being vulnerable and the pain of rejection that necessarily accompany effective missionary work can take their toll if not handled properly. If we don’t keep that vulnerability, that pain, in perspective, the natural desire to avoid them can slowly erode any commitment to direct evangelism. We seek to provide the encouragement and teamwork needed to keep ourselves visible, vulnerable and available so that Jewish people might hear the message of the gospel.

A second difficulty in maintaining the focus on evangelism is the fact that there are so many distractions. Whether it be leading tours to the Holy Land, conducting prophecy conferences or attempting to win support for the state of Israel, there are many worthy endeavors that simply do not add up to Jewish evangelism. No Jewish mission can afford to take on these endeavors at the price of neglecting to speak directly to the unsaved. Perhaps other organizations can, but not missions. We are committed to ministering to our brothers and sisters in Christ (Galatians 6:10). That is one reason we publish this newsletter. But you read this newsletter because we are witnessing to Jewish people. All that we say and do and write about in this newsletter flows out of that priority. I would hope that if we stopped doing that, you dear friend would let us know of your displeasure. If we stop witnessing to Jews, you should stop reading this newsletter!

Please note that we use the word “direct” in describing Jewish evangelism as our priority. This is important because many activities that pass for witnessing have very little to do with evangelism. Perhaps the most distressing example of this regards a program about which we continually receive inquiries: “On Wings of Eagles” by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. Their stated purpose is to help Jews immigrate to Israel from the former Soviet Union. Many well-meaning Christians who give to this organization think they are supporting Jewish missions. Sadly, nothing could be further from the truth. The organization uses the word Christians in its title, but it is run by an unbelieving rabbi who is dead set against evangelizing the Jewish people. What’s more, the people who receive aid from this organization are turned over to the Israeli Ministry of Absorption, which is run by Orthodox Jews. They make every effort to indoctrinate these Russian Jews against the gospel. This organization not only doesn’t do evangelism, they work hard to make sure that those who are most open to the gospel are prevented from hearing the good news.

Some non-witnessing activities are carried on by Christians who seem to be misguided about the meaning of witnessing. Recently, I heard about a “Jewish mission” in Europe whose sole activity involves buying goods from Israel and selling them in churches. They quote from Genesis 12:3, “I will bless those who bless you…” and reason that they are “blessing Israel” economically through this arrangement. They might indeed be providing some kind of blessing, but it isn’t missions and it isn’t evangelism.

Then there are unquestionably worthy Christian causes that ought to be carried out, but nevertheless are not the same as missions. Many people talk about church planting as evangelism, but even something as important as church planting is not the same as direct evangelism. Church planting is the result of direct evangelism, and may eventually provide good opportunities for evangelism, but it is not the same thing as evangelism. Jesus didn’t tell us to go into all the world and plant churches. He said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). Don’t get me wrong; I am not against church planting! I just want to be precise in our use of terms and in our understanding of evangelism. Direct evangelism occurs when there is a clear presentation of the facts of the gospel to the unsaved and an urgent appeal to receive salvation through faith in Christ. This is the best and only hope for a lost and dying world. This is the best and only hope for my Jewish people, indeed for all people everywhere.

That is why you will find us Jews for Jesus out on the streets and on college campuses handing out our gospel tracts. That is why you will see our full-page gospel ads, billboards and other forms of media in public places. That is why you will find us calling on the telephone and meeting in person with unsaved Jewish people. It is all part of our Jews for Jesus commitment to remain visible, vulnerable and available as we maintain direct Jewish evangelism as our priority.

Jews for Jesus Core Values

Understanding that we at Jews for Jesus

  • are under the authority of God and His Word
  • desire to honor Messiah Yeshua and
  • are dependent upon the enabling power of the Holy Spirit

we commit to the following core values:

1. Direct Jewish evangelism as our priority
2. An apostolic lifestyle of availability, vulnerability and mobility
3. Striving for excellence in all we do
4. Deploying only front-line missionaries who are Jewish or married to Jews
5. Principle-based operations and practice
6. Accountability to our mission family and the body of Messiah
7. Integrity and faithfulness
8. Creativity in our staff
9. Stepping out in courageous faith and taking risks for God

Read more about our Core Values