Campaign, Then and Now
Seven weeks after Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, a great event took place in Jerusalem. You might call it the first-ever Jews for Jesus Witnessing Campaign. The Holy Spirit came upon the first Jewish believers with such great power (Acts 2) that they went out into the streets to tell everyone they met about Yeshua, their wonderful Messiah and Savior. That day, God used Peter’s sermon to convince many and, according to Acts 2:41, about three thousand were saved.
That was only the beginning! The important and operative passage in the entire account is the last phrase of verse 47: And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”
Only a few of the responders to Peter’s message were permanent residents of Jerusalem. Most were pilgrims who had come from many different countries to celebrate Passover and Pentecost (the Feast of Weeks). Away from their home towns and their ordinary work, they lived in temporary lodgings and met daily in the Temple for fellowship and prayer. Their zeal and excitement about salvation in Yeshua was so apparent that thousands more saw them, heard their message and believed.
Eventually, those first pilgrim believers had to go home, but while they were in Jerusalem, they constituted a potent missionary force. This was the first all-out effort to tell others about Yeshua. Their determination and energies were so focused on that one task that they lived and acted as one. They held everything in common. They ate together. They worshiped together. They witnessed together.
We Jews for Jesus pattern our Summer Campaigns after that early church situation and have made our New York Summer Witnessing Campaign the model for all our other outreach efforts. It is an all-out, intense time when everyone’s mind, heart and energies are focused together on just one thing: to get out a gospel witness.
For one concentrated month of outreach, the campaigners live and act as one. Unlike the early church, our campaigners don’t need to “hold all things in common,” or pool their finances, because the ministry provides for their food, shelter and other needs such as cleaning and laundry. Yet in other respects, the campaigners do emulate the lifestyle of those early witnesses for Yeshua. For a month, they live in one building. They eat together. They worship together in daily chapel services, they pray together and they witness together on the streets.
Some wonder why we campaign for one month. We have tried both longer and shorter Campaigns. We have campaigned for as short a time as two weeks and for as long as ten weeks. Two weeks was too short. It did not afford enough time to make an impression. Ten weeks was far too long because after such a long time, the campaigners were getting dizzy, and not always with joy. When distributing tracts, campaigners can make eye contact at a distance, but as they get closer, they must focus elsewhere. When people pass closely on both sides, the campaigners’ eyes don’t get a chance to focus, and that often causes headaches.
One month of campaign is an exhausting experience. It affects not only the campaigners’ eyes, but their feet, backs, arms, legs and emotions. One individual who had gone through Marine boot camp training remarked that he had found that experience substantially easier than the exhausting rigor required from each person on Summer Campaign.
Because the experience is so fatiguing, we take good care of our campaigners. No one on Campaign needs to worry about anything except handing out tracts, greeting people and telling them about Jesus. We house our campaigners in a comfortable hotel. Maids make their beds every day. A gourmet chef provides them with as much quality, high-protein food as they can eat (but they work so hard that very few gain weight). Volunteer stewards wash the campaigners’ laundry and pack their tract bags. We have dentists, physicians and attorneys on standby for emergency situations, and we provide for the campaigners’ spiritual needs as well.
Besides physical stamina, Campaign requires spiritual stamina. One important aspect of Campaign is the spiritual life of the campaigners. We have daily chapel services and a special Campaign chaplain. Every day the campaigners memorize a Bible verse. You never saw people more hungry to worship or more eager to get together and praise God than our campaigners!
New York isn’t exactly Jerusalem, but in some respects it is similar to that Middle Eastern site of the “first-ever Jews for Jesus Campaign.” New York City is the commercial, communications and cultural capital of the Western world. As there were visitors in Jerusalem on Pentecost, many people from every nation on earth visit New York City every summer. Some go there on business, and some go there on holiday. Whoever they are, and for whatever reason they have come, most of them can hear the gospel from our people in a language they understand. Whether it’s French, Hebrew, Russian, Spanish, sign language for the hearing-impaired or a myriad of other languages, someone in our group can communicate in it.
That’s because our campaigners are not only from the United States. Many of the multilingual campaigners come to New York from our overseas branches to learn the unique methodology of that first post-Pentecost “campaign.” Afterward, these overseas campaigners take back what they have learned to their numerous places of origin, such as Israel, South Africa, Russia, Ukraine and Australia. Our overseas Campaign sites have included, among others, London, Paris, Moscow, Odessa, Capetown and Johannesburg.
The witness of salvation in Yeshua that began in Jerusalem at Pentecost continues to spread to the uttermost parts of the earth. We Jews for Jesus are grateful that God has allowed us a part in it. New York City was the site for our first Summer Witnessing Campaign in 1974 and has been our primary Campaign target ever since. Summer Campaign is a major undertaking, but it garners major results. Last summer1 in New York 27 campaigners handed out 1,144,626 tracts and 415 people prayed to give their lives to the Lord.
We are trusting the Lord that this year’s Campaign will be at least as successful. Of course, we can’t do any of this without the empowering of the Holy Spirit or without the friends that God provides to stand with us. We need friends like you in every town of this country and beyond to be support “campaigners” for our massive outreach in New York this summer. In order to stand with us, you don’t need to be there physically, but you can do several things that will help:
- We need to hear from you that you are standing by us.
- We need your prayers for courage to commit ourselves fully to this difficult task.
- We need your prayers for the hearts and minds that God is preparing to receive the message we will bring.
- We need your financial support to help provide this Campaign with tracts, equipment, lodging and food on the table.
Won’t you pray about our Summer Witnessing Campaign and about your part in it?