In the same way that Roman roads were used in Jesus’ time to spread the gospel throughout the world, the subway system is a useful tool to spread the gospel throughout New York City. The boundaries of ministry are almost limitless since the trains connect the four boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx to each other!
We take advantage of the ease of public transportation during our annual summer outreach. And to celebrate Chosen People Ministries’ 125th anniversary year, Shalom Brooklyn has become Shalom New York! This outreach will be our largest single effort ever to reach the Jewish people of New York City. God willing, 125 people each week from all over the world will join together on the streets of New York City for two week-long missions: July 27–August 3, and August 3–10.
Participants will be staying in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Teams will be trained and then sent throughout New York City to engage in a vast variety of street ministries. At night, there will be follow-up phone calls and visits, gospel cafés, debates, and even an opportunity to experience the richness of Jewish culture in the Big Apple!
Richard Flashman, the director of Shalom New York, described an encounter during Shalom Brooklyn last year:
I met Ben* in Borough Park. He is a member of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. He graciously agreed to stop and answer my survey questions. This led to an in-depth gospel conversation. We seemed to make a connection. Since then, we have had a number of email exchanges through which Ben has been examining the Old Testament evidence for the Messianic identity of Jesus.
While this type of openness does not happen every time we witness on the streets, it certainly can. We hope you will join us in prayer for this kind of receptivity as we prepare for this intensive summer outreach in New York City.
In addition to Shalom New York, the urban environment also lends itself to ministry on college campuses in and around New York. Staff member Darlene is working with the three campuses at Rutgers University. She said:
This is uncharted territory at Rutgers University. We do prayer walks on campus and conduct an outreach book table weekly at the student center where we meet and interact with students and offer gospel literature to them.
Doug, who has been serving the Mission for decades, is still active in campus ministry at Queens College and New York University. Here is just one of his stories:
Two weeks ago at Queens College, I experienced one of the best days I have ever had on campus. Arash*, a young Jewish man from Iran, stopped by our table. He looked at Jesus’ wonderful statement in Luke 24:44 in which the Messiah said clearly that Moses and the prophets were speaking about Him. With a smile on his face, Arash said quite unexpectedly, “What would my relatives say if I told them I was a believer in Jesus?” This is a very real challenge for many Jewish people.
Looking to the Future
Reading about all the wonderful opportunities the Lord has been giving us may call to mind Jesus’ statement in Matthew:
Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” (Matthew 9:36–38)
This is the same feeling Robert, the Mission’s Brooklyn branch leader, described:
What inspires me in my ministry is the ever-present understanding that the work of reaching two million Jewish people in this city needs to get done… one person, one heart at a time.
As we move forward in our task of reaching the Jewish people of New York and around the globe, we look back to our humble roots in this great city and remember the Lord’s faithfulness. We believe He will continue to provide the resources and opportunities we need as we walk in obedience to His call.
When it comes to Jewish evangelism, we really are “in a New York state of mind!”