Jewish people are scattered all over the world and in every state in this country, but Jews for Jesus has branches in only six major North American cities. Though our mobile evangelistic teams travel all over the country, we cannot reach all of the Jewish people in the United States with a small staff like ours.
We can’t, but our Christian brothers and sisters can! Through our Co-Laborers in Messiah program we have Christian brothers and sisters laboring with us part-time in cities all over the country. Perhaps you are too busy to volunteer so many hours a month toward Jewish evangelism, but you can participate in other ways.
Besides the more obvious ways of prayer and financial support, you can also be involved in follow-up and discipleship of new Jewish believers. For example, if you live near one of our Jews for Jesus branches, there are probably Jewish people in your area we have already contacted. Many of these become believers through our ministry and need follow-up and discipleship. If they live close enough to our branch, we can disciple them initially, but the time comes when they need to get plugged in” to a local body of believers. Why not your church?
There is a problem, however, in inviting new Jewish believers to attend or join a church. If you expect them just to come and fit right in, you probably are not aware of the unique obstacles new believers face in making such a transition. Coming into a church atmosphere may cause severe “culture shock.”
The sensitive and caring church member needs to be a willing spiritual “midwife” for new believers. Smoothing the transition may involve calling them every week for the first month or two and offering a ride to church until they build enough incentive to attend alone. This is because most Jewish people attend synagogue infrequently or only on special occasions. Attending a service every week may seem strange to them. Take them under your wing for a while. Offer to pray with and for them, and to study the Scriptures with them. Just one hour a week of one-on-one attention can be a tremendous help in teaching a new believer the disciplines of prayer and Bible study. If you’re too busy to meet in person, it can be done over the telephone.
Another way to help Jewish believers feel more comfortable in your church is to see to it that your worship service contains some Jewish Christian music (we’d be glad to recommend some of ours). That would let your Jewish friends know that you respect and appreciate their heritage and culture. If such music is not already a regular part of your church services, why not ask whoever makes those decisions to incorporate some “Jewish-sounding” songs in your worship. Remember: it was Jesus’ heritage and culture too!
If you feel led to get involved in any of these ways, do let your pastor know so he can contact you to help when such an opportunity arises. We have received and are anticipating many more inquiries by interested Jewish people in response to our recent Yeshua ads in magazines and newspapers. Perhaps some of them will be in your area. We will be sending all such inquirers our free Yeshua book and will try to follow up with a visit to those who request it. Many will be making commitments of faith and will need Christian encouragement, fellowship and a church home. Will you be ready to make them feel welcome?