It is with joy, a bit of apprehension, but mostly delight that I introduce David Brickner as the new Executive Director of Jews for Jesus! My joy is for him personally because I believe he will have much joy in leading this ministry. The apprehension I feel is because I know the weight of the responsibility he must bear. It is so very easy to make mistakes when you are the chief—I have made my share. It is a burden to make continual decisions. One must always be alert; one must always be ready to act.
The delight I feel is for the ministry of Jews for Jesus because of all that I know God will do through David Brickner. I should tell you that there is something else underlying the joy, the delight and yes, even the apprehension I feel, and that is trust: trusting first of all in God, but also trusting David.
David Brickner was born in 1958 and has known the Lord since childhood. Unlike most of the Jews for Jesus staff, David grew up in a home that was steeped in Jewish evangelism. His background is unique inasmuch as, on his mother’s side of the family, his is the fifth generation of Jewish believers in Jesus. David’s father, Avi, was the first on his side of the family to believe.
Avi Brickner is my contemporary and my good friend. He was one of the bright lights in Jewish missions that I admired in the1960s—a man who loves the Lord, he is also great at public relations and a skillful writer. He has two graduate degrees, an excellent knowledge of the Bible and a heartfelt commitment to seeing people saved and properly discipled in the Lord. He passed on all those values and talents to David.
As a teen, David studied music at Boston University. Our branch leader there was instrumental in his life; David rededicated his life to Christ in Boston and began doing volunteer work with the branch. He went on to study at the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music where he met his wife, Patti.
David has pursued an education in Jewish studies since 1978 when he enrolled at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. He finished MBI with a diploma in Jewish and modern Israel studies and later earned a degree in Judaica from Northeastern Illinois University in conjunction with Spertus College of Judaica. Most recently he graduated from the Fuller School of World Mission in Pasadena, California, with a master’s degree in missiology with concentration in Jewish evangelism/Judaic studies.
David’s first full-time assignment with the ministry of Jews for Jesus was touring with The Liberated Wailing Wall, which he and Patti did from 1981 to 1984. David led that team from 1982 to 1984. He has been in positions of leadership ever since. Following his time with The Liberated Wailing Wall, he led our Chicago branch. After that, he came to San Francisco to serve as our Minister-at-Large, Director of Recruitment and Music Director. I relied upon him as one of my chief advisors.
During his time in San Francisco, David was ordained through the Baptist General Conference. He also took the post of worship leader at Congregation Tiferet Israel (a messianic congregation affiliated with the Baptist General Conference) and was elected as a member of the congregation’s Board of Trustees. He fulfilled these responsibilities with faithfulness and joy amid a demanding schedule of producing music recordings, recruiting staff, ministering to Jews in far-flung areas where we do not have branches and serving on the Board of Directors for Jews for Jesus South Africa (David also held our South Africa portfolio) and more.
Six months ago the Brickners moved to New York, where David took on the challenge of leading our flagship branch. With every move he’s made, more of our staff have come to know and appreciate David. Frankly, I’ve not even listed all his accomplishments because there’s not enough space, and after all, this isn’t a resume! There’s more to the man than his accomplishments. A true leader, he is as capable of helping other leaders succeed as he is of taking charge himself. He is never too busy or too important to listen, to care, to pray. He has a heart for God. His wife is given to hospitality and their children, Isaac and Ilana, are a delight.
David Brickner is a true evangelist and minister in every sense of the word, and I am truly pleased to commend him to you. I was not part of the nominating process, but I was happy to cast an enthusiastic vote as a board member to elect David Brickner. If we can keep praying, keep working hard and keep our eyes on the Lord, Jews for Jesus will go through a great spurt of growth. Many more of our people will hear the gospel, and as they begin responding, the greater harvest is yet ahead.
*Many of you know that Moishe Rosen founded Jews for Jesus in 1973, but the word Founder also refers to his official position in our ministry now that we have a new Executive Director. He doesn’t like the title Founder” for people who are still alive, so he wants to be known just as Moishe.