Shalom from the "other Holy Land" - Brooklyn! These are exciting days for Your Mission to the Jewish People! We recently finished dedicating the new Brooklyn Messianic Center, and it was a wonderful celebration. We are now in the process of moving in and kicking off some of the dynamic new ministries based at the Center.
The Charles L. Feinberg Center for Messianic Jewish Studies (our joint program between Chosen People Ministries and Biola University's Talbot School of Theology) is gradually moving into the Center as well; please pray that these transitions will go smoothly. It is not easy to move and stack 12,000 books!
Shalom Brooklyn: A Summer Outreach in New York City
Shalom Brooklyn was a huge success! Remember that there are almost one million Jewish people living in Brooklyn - which is only one of five boroughs of New York City.
We also ministered in Queens and Manhattan, and when you add up the Jewish communities in all five boroughs, there are more than two million Jewish residents of New York City - and this does not include the hundreds of thousands of Jewish people that commute into the City to work every day.
New York City, and Brooklyn in particular, is home to the largest concentration of God's chosen people in North America. This is why our headquarters is in New York City, and it is also our reason for establishing the Charles L. Feinberg Messianic Jewish Center in the heart of Orthodox Jewish Brooklyn.
Faith Decisions and Seeds Planted
More than a hundred volunteers and staff members participated in the two-week summer outreach program, and prayed with fifty Jewish people, as well as many non-Jewish people, to receive Jesus as their Savior!
Many of the Jewish people who received Messiah are recent immigrants from Russia. This is what we experienced in the early 1990s and I thought that this movement of Russian Jews to Jesus in Brooklyn was over - but I have been wonderfully proven wrong! I am so glad we have two Russian Messianic congregations led by Chosen People Ministries staff where these new believers can go and grow!
We met many non-Russian Jewish people who were open to the Lord as well. We even had some great conversations with religious Jewish people about Jesus... a number of whom are willing to receive and read the Isaiah 53 Explained book!
Here are some wonderful testimonies from two of our volunteers:
God continued to use Shalom Brooklyn, even on my train ride home. I was wearing the Isaiah 53 t-shirt, and a Jewish man sat down next to me. We talked for an hour and a half and as I shared about Yeshua, his eyes gently filled up with tears. He lives in my area, so I am mailing him a copy of Isaiah 53 Explained, and I will keep in touch!
- Nancy Poultney
We met a Jewish man named Daniel,* who was very nice and willing to talk to us. He made it clear that he would always be Jewish. I explained that he would indeed, and that everything about my faith was Jewish. The great thing was that we encouraged him to check out the literature table (a long way from where we were talking) and he did! He walked all the way down the boardwalk and got some more materials.
- Jason Murray
During the last couple of months, our staff members in Brooklyn and around the New York area have been faithfully and personally following up with the hundreds of seekers we met.
So please keep praying, as a number of the Jewish people we met during Shalom Brooklyn are on the verge of giving their hearts to the Lord!
Strategy for Reaching a New Generation
One of the reasons I love "old-fashioned" street evangelism campaigns is that they motivate us to create new materials and strategies that raise the quality of our evangelistic tools. We created a number of new Gospel tracts, which were used on the streets, at book tables, at health fairs, and in the parks where we ministered this summer.
Some believers might think that handing out Gospel tracts, conducting open-air preaching, or even just sitting at book tables on campuses is old-fashioned and fanatical. Well, if this is true, then I am definitely a fanatic - and so is the rest of the Chosen People Ministries family!
Of course, we are also using all the latest media tools on the web, which I believe is the new "Mars Hill" of modern society. But there are still lots of people walking the streets of great urban centers like New York City. This is why handing out tracts, sitting at book tables, and doing various types of open-air outreach is still effective.
Street evangelism is an old strategy that can be used effectively for a new generation if we allow the Lord to use our creativity for His glory.
You can download one of our brand new Gospel tracts, which focuses on the new Freedom Tower that was just completed in Manhattan. This great symbol of our freedom in the United States helps us explain the spiritual freedom we have in Yeshua the Messiah. Please read it, and if you want printed copies, you can call us to order some.
This tract will be relevant all over the country, especially as the festivities dedicating the Freedom Tower continue throughout the year.
A New Congregation to Disciple New Jewish Believers
A fruitful season of evangelism creates its own set of fresh challenges. We are convinced that new believers must become part of a local community of believers in order to grow. This is why our Brooklyn Messianic Congregation Project is so critical! And this is why I'm hoping that you will help us, as we are starting this month.
We have established a budget of $200,000 for The Brooklyn Messianic Congregation Fund, for the first year of planting a new Messianic congregation. This amount includes the cost of the pastor, musicians, advertising, building expenses and more.
As with all church plants - Messianic or otherwise - we believe that once people start attending the congregation and growing in their faith, the congregation will eventually be able to sustain itself.
But this is not going to be the case for at least eighteen months - and perhaps longer, as Brooklyn is a very expensive place to minister.
Would you consider a generous founding donation to the Brooklyn Messianic Congregation Fund?
Now that we have a beautiful building in the heart of Orthodox Jewish Brooklyn, we want to maximize our use of it for God's glory. We are praying for our congregational planter, Rev. Rich F., whom we introduced in a previous letter. Rich is a Jewish believer and has been a pastor affiliated with the Evangelical Free Church for more than twenty-five years. I have tremendous confidence in the Lord and in Rich as both a congregational planter and a mentor of younger leaders.
We also have musicians - evangelists, graduates of our seminary program - who will be working alongside Rich. I believe we are poised to make great strides in planting this congregation, but we do need some very generous founding grants to get started.
Would you pray about joining us in the adventure of planting a Messianic congregation in the heart of Orthodox Jewish Brooklyn?
Whether you can give $100, $1,000, or $5,000 - I know that the Lord will multiply your sacrificial giving. We want to help the two Russian Messianic congregations as well - they will take a little longer to get established because many of the congregants are poor and elderly.
Thanks so much for caring and standing with us in the great work of reaching His chosen people!
P.S. For your gift of $100 or more I would like to send you a copy of our new Messianic Jewish Art Calendar with beautiful pictures of the "true Holy Land" - Israel! We deeply appreciate your support and prayers.
Tour the New Brooklyn Center:
1st Floor – Sanctuary, warming kitchen and multipurpose room
This street-level first floor will be the heart of our ministry presence in the neighborhood. We know that many Jewish people will have their curiosity sparked by our signs on the exterior of the building, which will include Messianic Scriptures written in Hebrew and English. We want to make sure our building is inviting and provides an excellent first impression for those the Lord leads to enter.
For this reason, our first floor is designed to be completely ministry focused. Not only will it accommodate a 170-person Messianic congregation, but it will allow us to have a soup kitchen ministry, a Gospel café outreach for young people, and a reading area for those curious about our faith.
A dynamic ministry opportunity exists in our new neighborhood, as a community of over 750,000 Jewish people reside in the areas surrounding the Feinberg Center.
Ministries planned through the Feinberg Center include:
- ESL Classes
- Addiction Care
- Bible Studies
- Messianic Congregations
- Café Outreach
- Feeding the Poor
- Elderly Care
We hope you are as excited as we are about these ministry opportunities the Lord is providing!
2nd Floor – Classroom, study area, and offices
The second floor of our Brooklyn Center will serve as the new home of our seminary program, the Charles L. Feinberg Center for Messianic Jewish Studies. Through our unique partnership with the Talbot School of Theology, we offer a fully-accredited Master of Divinity degree in Messianic Jewish Studies. We began offering classes in 2007 and currently have 26 students and 11 graduates - and we continue to grow!
The Lord has been so faithful in developing this program. For the past four years we have housed the seminary in our Manhattan headquarters, but we have now outgrown that space. Included on the second floor will be classrooms, offices, and study and meeting areas. The Feinberg library, which has over 12,000 volumes, will reside in the basement.
The Charles L. Feinberg Center for Messianic Jewish Studies program includes courses in:
- Biblical leadership
- Rabbinic Literature
- Hebrew / Greek
- Pastoral Care
- Jewish History
- Rabbinic Theology
- Biblical Preaching
- Theology of Siddur
Training the next generation of leaders for Messianic Jewish ministry is the goal of this program.
Though primarily used for the seminary, the second floor will also be available for ministry purposes when classes are not in session.
"Talbot School of Theology is thrilled to partner with Chosen People Ministries to equip a new generation of Christian leaders for the Messianic movement. There is no better place to do this than Brooklyn. Our heart is to provide solid biblical and theological training along with the skills for ministering in a contextually sensitive way."
– Dr. Clint Arnold, Dean / Professor of New Testament
Talbot School of Theology - Biola University
3rd Floor – Student, missionary and guest housing
The third floor of the new Brooklyn Center will serve as student living space. The floor plan neatly separates the women’s and men’s living quarters, and has a guest room for visiting ministry workers and professors. We will also use these rooms to house summer interns and other staff while school is not in session.
Chosen People Ministries, established in 1894, exists to evangelize, disciple, serve and pray for the Jewish people, and to help fellow Christians do the same. Our ministry began in Brooklyn, New York through the efforts of Rabbi Leopold Cohn, a Hungarian-Jewish immigrant whose life was radically transformed when he discovered that Jesus is the Messiah. Over the last 119 years, our ministry has expanded into the cities all over the world with the highest Jewish populations. Currently, we minister in seventeen countries, with over 200 staff members consisting of administrators and support-raising missionaries.
One of the ways that we are fulfilling our mission is by raising up and training new leaders in Jewish ministry through our seminary program - The Charles L. Feinberg Center for Messianic Jewish Studies. Several years ago, we recognized that there is a great need in Jewish missions for more seminary-trained leadership. Through a partnership with the Talbot School of Theology of Biola University in La Mirada, California, we received our accreditation through the New York Board of Regents and the Association of Theological Schools, and began classes in summer 2007. We currently have twenty-six students enrolled and have graduated eleven thus far.
The Feinberg Center degree program is 98 credits, and awards a Master of Divinity in Messianic Jewish Studies from the Talbot School of Theology. Our program is still the only one of its kind in the world; we offer a unique course of study that prepares leaders to enter Jewish ministry as missionaries, Messianic pastors, Messianic leaders, and educators. We also offer reduced tuition rates and housing subsidies for our students, with the goal that they have the opportunity to graduate debt-free and go directly into full-time Jewish missions.
A New Opportunity
From the beginning, we knew that if this program were to be successful, we would eventually have the challenge of finding a larger and more suitable space to house the seminary. For the past five years, we have been able to host the classes in the international headquarters building of Chosen People Ministries in Manhattan, and rent office space for the library only a few blocks away. Yet a few years ago, as we saw the Lord continue to bless and grow the seminary, we began to search for a new facility to house the program, and the Lord miraculously provided an incredible opportunity in the heart of the Jewish community in the borough of Brooklyn.
Brooklyn is home to more than 750,000 Jewish people, which means this one borough of New York City contains the highest concentration of Jewish people in the entire United States. We came across a building that had functioned as a Jewish funeral home. A rare, three-lot-wide, 14,000 square foot facility with three floors and a basement, a sanctuary on the first floor, located in the heart of a more "religious" Jewish neighborhood, seemed too good to be true.
We were offered a generous two-part matching gift by a Chosen People Ministries donor who had a burden for training a new generation of leaders for the field of Jewish evangelism. As only God could provide, we were able to negotiate the purchase price of the building to the exact amounts of the matching grants!
We prayerfully initiated a capital campaign in the late spring of 2010, and by God’s grace were able to raise the needed funds, closing on the building without debt in June 2010.
The opportunities this facility gives us for expanding our ministries are numerous. The location alone, situated on the borders of Orthodox Jewish, secular Jewish and Israeli communities, and an even larger neighborhood of Russian Jewish immigrants, will provide opportunities for evangelism and Christian benevolence that are unprecedented, as there is no other Jewish ministry in the area. It is clear the Lord wants us right in the middle of this key location.
After an extensive renovation, which is almost complete, the building will allow the following functionality:
- 1st Floor – Chapel/Sanctuary for 170 people, greeting lounge, multipurpose ministry room, warming kitchen
- 2nd Floor – Three Classrooms, study areas with computers, professor and missionary offices
- 3rd Floor – Living space for eleven single students, and a studio apartment for a professor or guest
- Basement – Feinberg Center Library, with more than 12,000 volumes
In addition to housing the seminary, the facility will also give us increased ministry space. We plan to not only house the Feinberg Center in the building, but also our current Brooklyn Messianic Center, which is currently operating out of a rental space a few miles away. The ministries supported by the current Brooklyn Center include a Russian-speaking Messianic congregation, benevolence ministries, ESL classes, and addiction care and recovery programs.
We will expand our ministry in the new facility by launching a brand new English-speaking Messianic congregation. We will also take advantage of the warming kitchen and multipurpose room to begin offering a "soup kitchen" style ministry to the needy in the community during the week, and a "Gospel café"-style outreach for the youth in the evenings. Our missionaries and Feinberg students will also hold various outreach events throughout the school year in fulfillment of their field education requirements for the seminary.
We are amazed at how the Lord has provided, and we know He has called us to expand our work in this important Jewish neighborhood. We are confident that the Lord will help us finish what He started, turning over a new page in our outreach efforts in the middle of Jewish Brooklyn.
KLAUDIA Z. - STAFF MEMBER
Klaudia Z. has been an integral part of our Brooklyn ministries for years. Coming from the Former Soviet Union, she knows exactly the needs and issues of these residents of Brooklyn. Many have come to know the Lord through her ministry. She writes,
"There are two Russian congregations that were started in Brooklyn. We will now be meeting in the Brooklyn Center, which is a huge blessing, since most landlords don’t like us because we are Messianic believers. Recently, we baptized twelve people and already, four more people are asking for such a public covenant with our Messiah Yeshua! With our move to the Brooklyn Center, we will be even more visible for people to stop in, ask questions and come to be a part of the congregation. Praise the Lord for this new facility!"
ROBERT W. - FEINBERG GRADUATE
"I recently had the opportunity to give a tour of the new Feinberg Center to a church group of about ten Christians who were visiting the area. While we prayed together in front of the building, a Jewish woman approached us and asked who we were and what we were doing. It turns out that she owns a store just a few doors down from our center. I explained to her that we were a group of believers in Jesus who love the Jewish people and Israel, and I told her that we were praying for the new center which would house our ministry and school. She was a bit skeptical at first (hey, it's Brooklyn!), but she relaxed a bit after chatting with us and seeing that we weren't crazy. Before we parted ways, a gentleman from the church asked her if we could pray for her business. This took her by surprise, but she gratefully agreed. She walked us to her business and after we prayed she was very appreciative. It was a unique opportunity and what stood out to her the most was the devotion of the prayer offered and how genuine our group's love was."
We are dedicating the Brooklyn Messianic Center!
Shalom! We are gearing up for an exciting month as we prepare to dedicate our newly-renovated Charles Feinberg Messianic Center in the heart of Orthodox Jewish Brooklyn.
The dedication festivities will begin on Wednesday, September 18 with an Opening Reception and special Feast of Tabernacles service, as we have chosen the week of this great Jewish holiday to celebrate the dedication. It is the same week Solomon dedicated the first Temple in Jerusalem.
This long-awaited, highly-anticipated event is the beginning of new and exciting opportunities to share the love of Yeshua (Jesus) with the Jewish people in Brooklyn. We acknowledge that the Lord has brought about this blessing through the prayers and support of our wonderful friends, like you, who believe in the importance of bringing the Gospel to the Jewish people.
Dedication Week Outreach
In addition to the dedication events, we will be launching an Isaiah 53 Campaign in Brooklyn during the month of September. This campaign is especially strategic as it follows our "Shalom Brooklyn" outreach, which took place August 3-17, when 100-plus volunteers and staff members shared the Gospel with Jewish people on the streets, parks, beaches and subways of Brooklyn and many other key spots throughout New York City.
During the Brooklyn Isaiah 53 Campaign, we will advertise our evangelistic website (Isaiah53.com) on bus shelters, billboards, local newspapers and online - sharing the powerful message of Isaiah 53. The ads will direct seekers to our website, where they can request a free copy of the evangelistic book, Isaiah 53 Explained, as well as contact us directly.
We are also initiating many different types of outreaches in the area surrounding the new building. We will sponsor an Isaiah 53 art show, prayer walks, and a young adult café outreach, as well as outreaches on college campuses and special services in Russian and English. Please pray for these evangelistic events!
The Future of Jewish Evangelism in Brooklyn
In addition to the exciting new ministries we have planned, the Brooklyn Center will also be the new home for our Charles Feinberg Center for Messianic Jewish Studies - our Master of Divinity program in partnership with the Talbot School of Theology at Biola University. This fully-accredited program is the only one of its kind, and is designed to train those called to Jewish evangelism. We have already graduated eleven workers who are actively reaching out to Jewish people. In fact, a number of the leaders of our ministry in Brooklyn are graduates of the Feinberg Center!
We now have a whole new group of future leaders enrolled in the Feinberg Center, and I hope you will pray for them.
Allow me to introduce you to Steve and Jenna I. They are both graduates of Moody Bible Institute and are excited about being a part of the ministries of the new center. Steve, who has already been helping to lead one of our Russian Jewish congregations, writes,
The Brooklyn Center's opening will make a big difference in the future of Jewish evangelism globally and in Brooklyn specifically, as it will give us a variety of new opportunities to minister to the Jewish community. We will have a great space for Bible studies, where we can answer the questions of seekers, and a beautiful sanctuary that wonderfully captures the feel of a Jewish house of worship for the different Messianic congregations we are planting. The center is more than a location for mission work; it is also a training center for people called to share the Gospel of Yeshua with His Jewish people. The unique training we are receiving at the Feinberg Center allows us to learn Hebrew, Greek, Bible and Theology, Jewish studies, as well as apologetics for Jewish people.
Eryn and Elizabeth Black, also students of the Feinberg Center and active staff workers in Brooklyn, expressed their excitement about the new center:
The dedication and opening of Chosen People Ministries' new Brooklyn Center is really exciting for Elizabeth and me - one of the main reasons we moved to Brooklyn last year was in anticipation of all the new ministry opportunities the center will afford workers like us. For the past several years, we have become increasingly convinced that it is very important for believers to do outreach, service, and evangelism in their communities. When we were told that we would be able to get in on the ground floor of this new and improved work in Brooklyn, we felt the Lord confirming the desire we already had to do ministry in New York. Now, all the plans are coming to fruition; it’s a wonderful thing to behold the work of the Lord being knit together before our eyes.
During the dedication week, we are helping lead a movie event and a young adults' coffee house, and both activities have a lot of potential to reach the Jewish people in our community. This ministry has been a dream of ours for several years, and we couldn't be happier to see it coming true.
The center brings together theological training with the practical everyday work of Jewish ministry, so that our Feinberg students graduate with both the knowledge and ministry skills to serve the Lord among the Jewish people.
Perhaps this should go without saying, but let me remind you why establishing this ministry in Brooklyn, New York is so critical to worldwide Jewish ministries. Whereas the "official" number of Jewish people living in Brooklyn is about 800,000, the real number is closer to one million. This would mean that almost one-third of this borough of 3.4 million people are Jewish!
This is about the same number of Jewish people as in Tel Aviv - an entire city - and more than double the number living in Jerusalem. The Jewish leaders in Brooklyn, especially among the most religious, have a profound influence on Jewish communities in Israel and in other parts of the globe. By reaching the Jewish people of Brooklyn, we are also reaching the Jewish people of the world. Your partnership in Brooklyn will have an impact on the global Jewish community.
May I ask you to consider a generous gift to the Charles Feinberg Center in Brooklyn?
Our Board and staff have given generously to the center, and I am praying that you will give generously and sacrificially as well! It looks like we will move into the new center without debt; however, we still need additional funds for the renovation as well and approximately $300,000 for the furnishings, technology, chairs, carpets, and much more.
Forgive me for being so forward in asking, but I believe we have a golden moment to join together in reaching Jewish people that may only come once in a lifetime.
Thanks so much for your prayers and generous support! May the God of Israel fill you with His joy and bless you as you bless the Jewish people.
Your brother in the Messiah,
P.S. For your gift of $1,000* or more, we will send you a beautiful picture of the new building that you can frame and use as a prayer reminder.
*The amount of the contribution that is deductible for federal income tax purposes is limited to the excess of money contributed by the donor over the value of goods or services provided by the organization.