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 Flashman, 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.