Jews for Jesus: Our Approach
Over the last two months I have shared with you our recently refreshed Jews for Jesus mission statement and core values. This month I am writing about our approach. Our approach has been the same all along, but we’ve never formalized a statement about it. Lately I’ve realized the importance of making it official, not only for ourselves, but also for others who want to better understand what we do in Jews for Jesus.
Our founder, Moishe Rosen, often clarified what we do by saying what we don’t do. For example, Moishe would say, “In Jews for Jesus we don’t hold prophecy conferences, we don’t take tours to Israel, we don’t get involved in politics, we don’t take stands on secondary issues that Christians are in disagreement over.” Moishe didn’t mean that any of these things were wrong; he was just making it clear that we focus on Jewish evangelism as our priority and don’t get sidetracked by other things. I have always agreed with Moishe on this point. Our focus has always been and always will be direct Jewish evangelism.
Clearing up confusion: What is missions?
One reason I wanted to articulate our approach is what I’d call a general confusion among Christians over what constitutes mission work. Recently, an advertisement from a well-known Christian organization posed the question, “What is missions?” The ad presented a list of good things that Christians do, and the implication was, “these are all worthwhile things to do but that doesn’t make them all missions.” I agree, and would like to unpack that a bit.
I don’t believe that any activity—be it constructing a church, digging a well or many other important and worthy endeavors often categorized as “mercy ministry”—constitutes missions unless it includes an ongoing declaration of the good news of Jesus Christ. Many mercy ministries do take every opportunity to declare the good news of Jesus, and many missionary organizations (including Jews for Jesus) also perform or partner with those who perform mercy ministries, so of course there is overlap. As missionaries build relationships, we listen to and get to know others. We do not need to make every conversation an explanation of or invitation to receive the gospel. But it becomes clear very quickly in relationship-building that we are excited about Jesus.
Nevertheless, I think it’s important that Christian endeavors not be referred to as missions if they are not actively explaining and inviting people to receive the gospel. Why should that matter?
It matters because if we aren’t clear about what missions means, it’s easy to think we are doing or supporting missions when we’re not. This is especially true when it comes to missions to Jewish people.
We engage Jewish people with the gospel
Much, if not most, support that Christians give to help Jewish people is not going to missions. Many Christian organizations—and certainly organizations mistakenly believed to be Christian (think Yechiel Eckstein, “On Wings of Eagles”)—would not think of presenting the gospel to a Jewish person. Some Christians know that, but many others don’t. So, dear Christian, we are thankful that you have made a connection with Jews for Jesus! We want to be sure that those of you who are newer to Jews for Jesus understand what our mission does.
We engage Jewish people with the gospel, equip them to follow Yeshua (Jesus) and inspire others to do the same.
First and foremost, we engage Jewish people with the gospel, because without the gospel, our people will perish. Jews for Jesus was born out of a need for new methodologies and new strategies to reach a new generation in a forthright and unashamed manner. In the early days, we spoke primarily to North American Jewish men and women. Today, we’re engaging Holocaust survivors, intellectuals and artists throughout greater Europe and the former USSR; we’re engaging Russian-speaking immigrants and sabras (native born) in Israel; we’re engaging children, youth and young adults from messianic homes (we do not speak to children under 18 without parental participation or consent). We’re engaging Israeli travelers in India and Peru, and we’re engaging Jewish millennials—everywhere.
Our methods continue to expand as we continue to experiment. If methods don’t remain flexible they can easily become outdated. But the message is never outdated. The message always remains the same. We engage Jewish people with the gospel.
We equip Jewish people to follow Yeshua
And, when people believe and repent, we equip them to follow Yeshua. God saves people in order to serve and make Him known to others. So, we don’t just teach. We disciple. We train. Through programs like Massah, Halutzim, Gilgal, autumn outreaches, summer campaigns and daily branch activities and internships—we’re equipping new generations of Jewish believers in Jesus to serve and live for Him. And we equip older newborn believers as well! Some of you might be surprised how many older folks are eager to learn and serve and tell others the good news.
We inspire others to do the same
Finally, we inspire others to do the same—engage Jewish people with the gospel and equip them to follow Yeshua.
We invite Christians to stand with us for the sake of Jewish people, so that they may be saved.
We urge Christians to uphold the cause of Jewish evangelism for the sake of the church; because when the church abandons the cause of the gospel for Jewish people, it soon abandons the cause of Jesus for anyone.
We help Christians pray for and witness to our Jewish people for the sake of the world—so that our call to be a gospel light to the nations will be fulfilled. Jewish people can’t carry Yeshua’s light to the world until we carry His light in our hearts. So, we inspire believers to join us in bringing the gospel to the Jewish people first.
As the Bible tells us to do
And we have built our approach on the Scriptures.
We engage Jewish people with the gospel. Paul said, “we preach Christ crucified” (1 Corinthians 1:23).
We equip Jewish believers to follow Yeshua. Paul said, “The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:9).
We inspire others to do the same. Paul said, “The things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2).
Please pray that God will continue to bless this approach as we relentlessly pursue His plan for the salvation of the Jewish people!
Find out more about David, his writings, speaking schedule and possible availability to speak at your church at jewsforjesus.org/david-brickner
Download the entire March edition, including artwork, photos, bits from our branches in London, San Francisco and Israel, a resource/chart about Jewish views on Jesus’ resurrection plus prayer prompters, cartoon and more!