How Does a Nice Gentile Boy Become a Jew for Jesus?
Well, I didn’t exactly become a Jew for Jesus, but I did become one of the Jews for Jesus staff workers. And no, it was never on my little boy list of things I wanted to be when I grew up—which, by the way, was in a small town in Wisconsin.
I had gone to an evangelical church all my life, attended a Christian school from kindergarten through first grade and I was planning on going to a Christian college. I was still living with my parents, taking a year off before college. My mom was the chairperson of the missions board, so when my church sponsored a Jews for Jesus Christ in the Passover (CIP) presentation, my parents served as hosts” making sure that everything was in order for the visiting missionary.
The night of the presentation came and I met Scott Rubin. Scott was on staff with Jews for Jesus at that time* and was doing a CIP tour…in the middle of rural Wisconsin! Scott was the first Jewish person I had ever met. Until that night, it had never occurred to me that there were actually Jewish people other than those I’d read about in the Bible.
To this day, I’m not sure why Scott asked me to be a steward on the Jews for Jesus Summer Witnessing Campaign in New York City. I was just following my parents’ example—trying to be helpful! Scott appreciated the help and told me that while my help may not have been a big deal to me, it could make a big difference in an important outreach that Jews for Jesus would be doing that summer. He explained that I would have to raise support to go. Then he gave me a form to fill out and mail to San Francisco. I thought, “If this is where God wants me, He’ll have to provide a way.” And He did. As my enthusiasm to join the witnessing Campaign in New York City grew, Christian friends got behind me and helped make it happen.
The next thirty Jewish people I met were on Campaign training with me at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. While I signed up as a steward—a support person for the front line campaigners—I still took part in learning about the outreach that I would be enabling them to do. That means that I learned how to hand out tracts and talk to people on the streets of Chicago—where, for the first time I met Jewish people who were not “for Jesus.” It wasn’t until I went on to New York City that I realized how very many Jewish people there are who are headed for a Christless eternity. That fact weighed heavily on my heart.
I was the youngest steward on Campaign, and I used every ounce of energy I had! I washed a lot of dishes, lovingly prepared many deli platters to encourage the troops, helped pack over a million broadsides (that’s what we call our gospel tracts) into canvas shoulder bags, and sometimes I delivered those broadsides to various corners of the city as campaigners emptied their bags before a sortie (tract passing expedition) was over. I also helped with the laundry, and along with the other stewards, I supported the Campaigners in prayer. I even had occasional opportunities to spend time on the street, handing out broadsides and sharing the gospel with many people who would never have darkened the doorway of a church.
Jews for Jesus’ dedication to “hard core evangelism” drew me back to volunteer as a steward on a second and third campaign. Jews for Jesus was my kind of ministry, and I began to feel a proprietary interest in what they were doing. Meanwhile, I was going to college and somehow, God always provided for my needs.
The day after I graduated from college I joined the Liberated Wailing Wall (LWW) as the bus driver/sound technician. I can’t begin to describe how God can work in your life when you live with six other people on a forty foot long bus for eighteen months! God did some amazing things in us and through us, using many of the people we met on the road to help forge us. Like Campaign, touring with The Liberated Wailing Wall was a stretching experience, and so rewarding that I decided to do it again! I am grateful to God as well as to you Jews for Jesus friends and supporters to have had the privilege of that ministry.
So what does someone who “retires” from two LWW tours do? Like many other team “veterans” I’ve joined the staff of Jews for Jesus! I went back to Wisconsin for a bit of rest and relaxation, and this month I moved out to San Francisco to work at our Headquarters.
While I continue to work behind the scenes, I know that I am helping Jews and Gentiles meet their Messiah. And you know what? If you have lots of energy and a heart for the lost, there might be a place here for you as well!
* While still closely affiliated with Jews for Jesus, Scott is the full-time pastor of Tiferet Israel, a messianic congregation which began as a local Jews for Jesus Bible study.