A Steward for all Seasons
Reggie Douglas is not happy that this was the final Behold Your God campaign. It is barely an exaggeration to say he has made a career out of these witnessing campaigns: beginning with the first BYG campaign in San Francisco in 2001, he’s participated in 15 Jews for Jesus witnessing campaigns. Some might say he is a campaign junkie. People in Jews for Jesus, especially those who’ve led campaigns, say he’s a godsend.
What brought Douglas from his home in Baton Rouge to Behold Your God campaigns in cities all over the U.S.?
It all started at Community Bible Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana where Reggie served as chairman of the missions board. “We were dealing with missionaries all around the world,” he says, “and I remember looking at a map and seeing a void. We had no missionaries to Israel. I wondered, ‘Who is bringing the gospel to Israel, and who is bringing the gospel to the Jewish people?’ That’s where it began.”
It became a heavy burden for Reggie to find out what his church could do to reach Jewish people and he said it seemed like no one had any answers. Reggie officially retired from his job in 2000 to begin his second career . . . as a volunteer for Jewish evangelism.
“I began to look for organizations whose work was to reach Jewish people with the gospel,” Douglas explained. “A friend saw something about Jews for Jesus in a magazine and passed it on to me. I wrote a letter to them asking how I could be involved. In fact, I wrote to three Jewish missions. Jews for Jesus was the only one that answered me.”
The answer was that we needed help with our Behold Your God campaign in San Francisco. Campaigners (those who go out on the streets to witness during the outreach) are generally Jewish or have a Jewish spouse. Stewards (those who do all the behindthe- scenes work to keep the campaign going) do not need to be Jewish. Reggie Douglas was invited to come be a steward.
“Susan Bragg was the chief steward,” Reggie recalls. “She was wonderful. She became my mentor when I was asked to be the chief steward for the Chicago Behold Your God campaign just a few months after the San Francisco campaign. She walked me through the entire organizational process by phone.”
Reggie is not without organizational skills of his own. With a career in industrial technology, he worked as a maintenance planner, outlining repair procedures for crews of maintenance workers. He was used to creating lists of procedures for people to follow, and that transferred well to his role as chief steward. He was the “go to” man to keep the Chicago campaign on schedule, from the meals, to the laundry, to packing the broadside bags, and troubleshooting various problems that can gum up the works.
Reggie managed the stewards in Chicago very well, it seems, because before long he was asked to be chief steward for another campaign, and another and another. Philadelphia, Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles . . . all the campaign leaders wanted Reggie for their chief steward.
So on to Denver Reggie went. And to Los Angeles, St. Louis, Tampa, West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale. That’s 13 Behold Your God campaigns (including this finale) . . . plus he has been on three regular New York Summer Witnessing campaigns.
His favorite campaign? Philly. First of all, the entire operation was headquartered in the hotel, so there was no shlepping back and forth from the hotel to another facility (such as a church) for chapel, meals, etc. Reggie’s team of experienced stewards needed little supervision. So when a number of campaigners became ill, Reggie stepped in as a campaigner, helping to pick up the slack. When his own team leader became ill, Reggie led the team. “I got to do campaigning 50% of my time in Philadelphia,” Reggie recalls.
After the Philadelphia campaign, Reggie asked for copies of the training lectures. “I felt that God called and equipped me to serve as steward, but I wanted to be prepared to witness as well. Even when I’m not involved in sorties (tract-passing expeditions) like I was in Philadelphia, I’m wearing a campaign T-shirt. People ask questions when they see those shirts. I’ve had many good conversations on my way to the grocery store.”
To further his training, Reggie took an intensive training course to become a Co-Laborer in Messiah. He is part of a core of Jews for Jesus volunteers and he is training up more volunteers in Baton Rouge to help reach the Jewish community there.
When asked if the Grand Finale Behold Your God campaign was different from all the others, Reggie observed that having two of the nine campaigns operating under the same roof (the Israeli and Manhattan teams) made this a busier campaign than the others.
The one roof is over the Jews for Jesus mid-Manhattan office, a seven-story elevator building which was the headquarters for the aforementioned Behold Your God campaigns. Campaigners are not allowed to use the elevator during the campaign so that it will be freed up for the stewards, who are constantly bringing in food that needs to go up to the third floor kitchen, bringing down laundry to the basement, or bringing up bags filled with hundreds of our broadside tracts. Even so, Reggie rarely used the elevator. “The stairs are good exercise” he says, “and with all the exercise, I can eat whatever I want.”
The campaigns are intense spiritually, mentally and physically. Reggie stays spiritually fit by spending the first hour of each day “meeting with the Lord.” On a campaign schedule, that means getting up at 4:30 to pray until 5:30, with half an hour remaining for him to get ready before beginning his 6 A.M. workday. As a result, he says, “I go through my day with peace. If a problem arises, I see Him [the Lord] work it out.”
Campaigns are an all-out effort meant only to last for a season. With several dozen of them over the last five years, no wonder many of the Jews for Jesus missionaries were, in a sense, relieved that this is the last of the Behold Your God campaigns—but not Reggie. “It’s a little sad for me,” he said, looking down. When asked if he thought he’d be back for next year’s regular Summer Witnessing Campaign in New York, he brightened. “That would be wonderful.”
Newsletter Editor, Missionary
Ruth Rosen, daughter of Jews for Jesus founder Moishe Rosen, is a staff writer and editor with Jews for Jesus. Her parents raised her with a sense of Jewishness as well as "Jesusness." Ruth has a degree in biblical studies from Biola College in Southern California and has been part of our full-time staff since 1979. She's toured with Jewish gospel drama teams and participated in many outreaches. She writes and edits quite a few of our evangelistic resources, including many broadside tracts. One of her favorites is, "Who Needs Politics." Ruth also helps other Jewish believers in Jesus tell their stories. That includes her father, whose biography she authored in what she says was "one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life." For details, or to order your copy of Called to Controversy the Unlikely Story of Moishe Rosen and the Founding of Jews for Jesus, click here. Or click here for a video desription of the biography. For the inside story and "extras" about the book, check out our Called to Controversy Facebook page. Ruth also writes shorter "faith journey" stories in books like Jewish Doctors Meet the Great Physician as well as in booklets like From Generation to Generation: A Jewish Family Finds Their Way Home, which you can download for free here. She edits the Jews for Jesus Newsletter and RealTime for Christians who want to pray for our ministry and our missionaries. In her spare time, Ruth enjoys writing fiction and playing with her dog, Annie, whom she "rescued" from a shelter. Ruth says, "Some people say that rescue dogs have issues, and that is probably true. If dogs could talk, they'd probably say that people have issues, and that is probably even more true. I'm glad that God is in the business of rescuing people, (and dogs) despite—or maybe because of—all our issues." You can follow Ruth Rosen on facebook or as RuthARosen on twitter.