What’s a Co-Laborer?” I’ve heard that question many times, often with extra emphasis on the word “what,” as though a Co-Laborer were an “it.” They are just ordinary people—well, maybe not ordinary, but definitely people. How do I know? I’m one.
The technical description of a Co-Laborer is Volunteer Missionary Coordinator for a given geographic area. Unfortunately, a technical answer doesn’t begin to convey the excitement and challenge of being a Co-Laborer with Jews for Jesus, so let’s examine each part of that description.
Volunteer: one who enters into or offers himself for any service of his own free will. In addition to the more than 104 full-time Jews for Jesus staff workers, there are about 47 Co-Laborer volunteers who are committed to 10 hours of work a month. Most of us put in more hours than that. You don’t watch the clock when you’re busy telling someone about the Messiah!
Missionary: one who undertakes an assigned task to propagate the gospel. Many churchgoers have a stereotyped concept of what it means to be a missionary. Missionaries need not leave home in order to serve, nor devote the majority of their time to “missionary activities” or be paid a salary in order to produce worthwhile results. The most important requirement for a missionary is a deep commitment to serve the Lord and a strong desire to see people come to know him.
Coordinator: one who harmonizes and acts smoothly with others. Jews for Jesus Co-Laborers coordinate a variety of activities. There are meetings with Jewish people, both believers and unbelievers, and calls to familiarize pastors with the ministry of Jews for Jesus and extend assistance to the local churches in their work of Jewish evangelism.
Since there are currently 47 local Co-Laborer units or chapters throughout the country (and overseas), no two will have exactly the same pattern of activities. For example, my local unit, the Northeast Ohio Chapter, is in a rural area far from a sizeable Jewish community. At first that might seem impractical, but God delights in bringing results out of difficult circumstances. I have seen Gentile believers become more bold in witnessing to Jewish friends and co-workers as they realized that I could assist them with advice and materials. Jewish holiday activities such as a Hanukkah party or a Passover seder have brought many Gentiles a greater understanding of Jewish culture and the relationship between the Old and New Testaments.
At our work meetings helpers assist me in preparing for special activities and compiling lists of Jewish people to be sent our evangelistic publication ISSUES. I often send letters to radio stations and newspapers about Jews for Jesus activities. In addition, my responses to printed articles about Jewry and Jewish customs often find their way onto the editorial page.
The emphasis and activities of another chapter might be quite different. The activities of each Co-Laborer chapter depend on proximity to and size of the nearest Jewish community, as well as the individual temperament and talent of each volunteer. Co-Laborers do only that with which they feel comfortable.
In some areas Co-Laborers stand side by side with the Jews for Jesus missionaries and hand out tracts. In other chapters they merely scout out suitable places for tract distribution and let others do the actual “broadsiding.” Co-Laborers also help to set up visits with Jewish people in homes and hospitals, often witnessing and teaching alongside Jews for Jesus staff. Sometimes they plan special meetings with a Jews for Jesus speaker in their own homes to which they invite Jewish and Gentile guests. Another Co-Laborer task is to provide housing and meals for the Jews for Jesus teams and individual staff as they travel around the country.
Though Co-Laborer chapter activities vary, the purpose and results are the same: together we seek to make people more aware of the Jewishness of Jesus and the fact that everyone needs to have a personal relationship with him.
Geographic Area: Obviously this part of each Co-Laborer’s title will vary. It might read “of Nashville” or “of Akron” or “of Indianapolis,” etc. Although the locations differ, we all have a common need as we serve the Lord by helping and encouraging the Jews for Jesus ministry. That need is people. There is too much territory and too much work for only one person in each chapter. That’s why we all need others who will help us for a few hours each month.
We are volunteers in need of volunteers. Would you like to join us? You might address postcards, make phone calls or design posters. Whatever your talents or skills—if you can lick stamps or bake cookies—you can help. It means participation in bringing the gospel to others and the joy of helping someone become a believer. If you’re interested, let us know. Write and ask for the location of the Co-Laborer chapter nearest you.
WANTED! Volunteer Missionary Coordinators to be Co-Laborers in Messiah!
Do you have a burden for the Jewish people to know their Messiah? Here’s an opportunity for you to learn to work with us as a Co-Laborer in areas where we do not have an established branch of Jews for Jesus.
We need friends to help us coordinate the many behind-the-scenes tasks necessary to advance our story. Sometimes the opportunity will even present itself to do regular missionary work, but this is not required.
The fruitful results of our past Co-Laborer training sessions have encouraged us to do it again. There will be another training week July 22-27, 1985, in Wheaton, Illinois. If you are excited and challenged about the possibility of becoming a Co-Laborer in Messiah with Jews for Jesus, then join us in July for this special week. The topics will range from an examination of Jews for Jesus’ outreach strategies to some basic “how-to’s” on aiding us in reaching the Jewish community for Christ.
We will not be able to accept every application, but we hope that you will try. You may be far more qualified than you think! Send for your Co-Laborer brochure soon because the application process is lengthy.
Write to: Mitch Glaser, Minister-at-Large, Jews for Jesus
60 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA 94102-5895