Build and Be Built
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.”
The Apostle Paul taught the Ephesians that building up the church is a matter of teamwork. In chapter four of his letter to the church he mentions several players on the team, and it is clear that God has bound missionaries and local churches together as partners to labor together for His Kingdom’s sake. Of course, it goes without saying that God is the Captain of the team.
Since being in Washington, D.C., I’ve seen this partnership at work between our Jews for Jesus branch and a particular local church, McLean Bible Church. It’s been a fantastic outworking of the scriptural model. This church and our ministry have been able to help each other build up the Body of Christ.
Within my first seven months in the D.C. area, McLean Bible Church referred four non-believing Jewish people to us so that our missionaries could begin to visit with them and present the gospel in a uniquely Jewish manner. One of those four has already received the Lord and we continue to minister to the others. I love the trust this church has placed in our ministry, demonstrated in the way they refer Jewish visitors to us. This is the single most helpful thing they can do to enable us to evangelize our people.
The church has lent a helping hand to our work in other ways as well. They have allowed us to use their equipment to print our gospel tracts. They’ve publicized some of our outreach events with inserts in their Sunday worship bulletins. They have even included a couple of us as part of their missionary family that they support financially.
What a blessing this church has been for the cause of Jewish evangelism in the Washington, D.C. area! We need more churches like that here, as well as in all the cities where we have missionaries. Such partnerships go a long, blessed way!
But it’s not a one-way street. In turn, we try to bless this church, doing our part to build up the Body. More often than not, we refer those whom McLean sends us back to them. They send people to us for evangelism and we send them back for discipleship and service. We also try to be a resource to the church. I’ve received several e-mails that the pastor’s secretary has forwarded from members who have questions related to Jewish culture and holidays. I’ve been happy to respond so that people in the church have a better appreciation for Jewish people and are better equipped to witness to their Jewish friends. By handling some of his e-mail, I also feel that I’m helping to lighten the pastor’s load and I’m using our unique ministry knowledge base for the sake of the church.
One of the slogans of the early pioneer movement of settlers to modern Israel was “Build and be Built.” In coming to build the Land, the settlers in turn were built strong in body and soul. This slogan fits with our work as believers. As the local church and Jews for Jesus work together, we are building a strong Body of Messiah and we, in turn, are being built strong in Him.
North American Director
Stephen's grandparents immigrated to America from Eastern Europe in the early 20th century, ultimately settling in the Chicago area. As a boy, Stephen enjoyed sports and excelled in school. In his high school years he began to question the values he had been raised with, and instead of focusing on academics, began to spend all his time playing guitar and harmonica. Over the next few years he searched for answers to his many questions about life, eventually becoming a follower of Yeshua. Three weeks after receiving his bachelor's degree in social work from the University of Illinois, he got married and began to work with abused and neglected youth in a residential treatment center in Chicago, which he did for 10 years (taking one year out to live on a kibbutz in Israel). He received his master's degree in social work from the University of Illinois in 1984. He and his young family attended a messianic congregation for 13 years, where Stephen served as the worship leader. In 1989, Stephen began missionary training with Jews for Jesus and now serves as North American Director. For 12 years he oversaw our work in Israel and still continues to be involved with our work there. Laura and he have four children, three of whom are married. He received a master's degree in intercultural and Jewish studies from Fuller Theological Seminary in 1997. Stephen is known to be a warm-hearted and engaging teacher and a good listener.