One Sunday night, after Executive Director Moishe Rosen had spoken at a local church, a Christian couple asked the following question:
We saw one of your gospel ads in the newspaper and we liked what Jews for Jesus was doing. So we began supporting. After a while we began hearing from one of the missionary staff, and we enjoyed exchanging cards and letters. Then we started hearing from a second missionary who was thanking us for our support. Next we received a communication from the first missionary, informing us that that person had left Jews for Jesus and would welcome our support in a new ministry. I wrote back and asked why the first missionary left and never received an answer. Can you tell me why [name withheld] is no longer with Jews for Jesus—and should I support the new ministry?
Moishe’s answer: Each of our missionary staff is supported by individuals and churches. Prayer is so important to our ministry and we appreciate your help so much that we strive to communicate our thanks as well as our prayer requests as much as possible. You were evidently assigned to [name withheld] so your donations went into that person’s fund. But when that staff member left, we reassigned your support to another missionary, who began writing to you. People leave Jews for Jesus for various reasons. Ours is a difficult work with many disappointments to bear. We’re a highly disciplined group, and the work itself is quite demanding. Some people feel overly burdened to serve in an organization like ours. Others want to serve in a particular place or serve in a particular way that Jews for Jesus can’t facilitate. Some people just find it’s time for a new phase in their life. All missions see some of their valued staff start a career with their particular ministry only to eventually go elsewhere.
With regard to the person that you mentioned, let me say that that person left Jews for Jesus honorably. However, it is unethical for representatives of any ministry to meet and gain friends and supporters through that ministry and then to leave that ministry and seek to bring those supporters with them. Whenever you see a missionary leaving the agency that sponsors him or her and inviting you to support another agency, you want to be very cautious.* The other agency may be worthy of your support. We hope that your decision of whether to support an agency would be based on what you might know and appreciate about its work, and not because a former staff member is looking to bring support from one agency to another.
*An obvious exception to this would be if you knew the individual before he or she joined the first agency, and you chose to support that agency because of your previous relationship with the person.
We welcome your questions and though we cannot promise to answer in print, we’ll make an effort to address the most frequently asked questions in our newsletter.