Missionary work is a practice just as the professions of medicine and law are. We are perpetually studying our craft, hoping to learn new and better ways to fulfill the Great Commission. How do we improve the way we proclaim the gospel? How can we more effectively engage Jewish people to help them understand the true meaning of conversion: loving God, one another and neighbors? How can we best demonstrate the continuity between Jewish identity and faith in Jesus?
Sometimes we learn by our mistakes. We once planned an evangelistic media campaign around a common idiomatic Jewish expression: “Don’t ask!” Few people did; the outreach flopped.
It is not enough to take the Great Commission seriously; we must take it studiously. We must continue asking ourselves how we might better serve our Lord in making disciples. So, over the past twenty-five years, we have encouraged our missionaries to incorporate continuing education into their missionary service. In 1979, we conducted an intensive study program called Avodah, which spanned the entire ministry and lasted for ten months. In 1985, we hosted the Israel ’85 Study Abroad, a summer-long academic training program in Jerusalem for seminary level students, including some of our missionary staff. Three years later, our ministry partnered with the School of World Mission at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena to provide a Master of Arts degree in missiology for our staff and their spouses. We also had brief times of retraining the staff in 1991 and 1993.
Similarly, since 2006, we have partnered with Western Seminary through their campus in San Jose, California to provide a Master of Arts degree specialization in Jewish Ministry. We offer unique courses such as Jewish Mission History and Ministry to Jewish-Gentile Couples. This program, which is open to the public,* enables our staff and others to upgrade their skills as evangelists.
Academic training programs cost more than the tuition, books, housing and meal cards. To participate, our missionaries must spend time away from their posts to attend classes, and when they return to their post they must allocate some time and energy to studying. The leadership of Jews for Jesus believes that investing in a thoughtful, studious pursuit of missionrelated knowledge will make us better servants of the Lord of the harvest. Please pray that God would provide the time, opportunities and financial resources necessary for our Jews for Jesus missionaries to remain perpetual students as we devote ourselves to the practice of making disciples of Y’shua.
*Interested in taking some classes with us to gain greater insight on how you can help Jewish people know Jesus? Contact: Tuvya Zaretsky through this contact form or call 310-443-9553 x25.