My father once said something to the effect of, “If we are doing all the same things to proclaim the gospel ten years from now, we will be obsolete.” Maybe that’s why I’ve been an unabashed fan and supporter of our Massah program since the beginning. While the gospel message never changes, opportunities to communicate are constantly changing, and we need to keep up with those changes to stay on the cutting edge.
Reaching out with the gospel requires courage, and that courage takes different forms. Not many of our missionaries have to do without the conveniences of modern living, but Massah-niks give up many of their creature comforts once they take off from Israel to meet up with trekkers in far-flung places like Leh and Dharamsala.
Not only do team members brave twelve-hour rides on mobile sardine cans known as busses, whipping around the mountains of India, but they are constantly sharing their lives with strangers, turning conversations to spiritual matters. And in the midst of all this, they are learning to depend on the Lord to meet physical and spiritual challenges, and to keep the group dynamic positive and God-focused.
I remember my dad nodding with approval as I explained why I support our Massah program. I also pointed out that it does not take the place of our summer witnessing campaigns. We are still saturating places like New York City, clad in Jews for Jesus T-shirts and handing out the literature for which our ministry is known. Fewer people actually take literature than in years past, but hundreds of thousands of people still reach out and accept the pamphlets and evangelistic post cards. The visibility, vulnerability and availability of those who stand identified as Jews for Jesus is itself a worthwhile story and a way to stimulate interactions.
I like hearing about the hardcore, gritty story of street evangelism that is going on right now in New York City, and I also like hearing reports from the more experimental Massah program that developed from the hearts and minds of young Israelis on our staff. And I like knowing that at the same time, we’ve got several camps going that are strengthening the next generation of Jews for Jesus. We can never take for granted that these kids will walk with Jesus just because many of their parents do, or that they will just naturally care about reaching the lost.
Those of you who have been tracking with Jews for Jesus for awhile know that for several years, we have been praying for and investing in the next generation, whose vision and creativity will be key in keeping the cause of Jewish evangelism on the cutting edge of creative communication. Campaigns, Massah, and summer camps all play a part in this, even though the primary purpose of the first two is direct evangelism.
As we are working to bring along the next generation of Jewish people who will carry on the mission of making Jesus known to Jews and Gentiles, I sometimes pray for the unseen people who are preparing the next generation of Christians to understand the need for direct evangelism, and to be passionate about missions to Jews, Arabs and others who need to hear about Jesus.
Probably most of the next generation of Christians who will one day choose either to support or overlook Jewish missions will not be reached by print … or even electronic communications. They will depend on you—their parents, aunts, uncles, Sunday school teachers and mentors—for the kind of heart-to-heart talks that can inspire them to claim a part in carefully and compassionately reaching Jews and other gospel-resistant people for Jesus.
We’re caught up in some intense and rewarding opportunities to reach the lost, and, in the process, are raising up the next generation of missionaries. As you pray for us, we are also praying for you. God bless you as you invest in those whom the next generation of missionaries will one day look to for the encouragement, prayer and support that many of you so faithfully provide for us.