Check out our new video!
This fall, we are launching a children’s lesson plan all about the Feast of Tabernacles. We want to turn this video into a series called The Olive Treehouse. This series will help teach the next generation how Jesus fulfills the biblical festivals. Central to all biblical festivals is God’s loving plan for Israel and her redemption, why Jewish evangelism is essential, and our unity in the Messiah.
Let the Children Come to Me
Shalom in His grace. Thank you for taking a few moments to read and reflect on the ministry and concerns of Chosen People Ministries—Your Mission to the Jewish People.
Our mission statement reflects the teaching of Scripture: “Chosen People Ministries exists to pray for, evangelize, disciple, and serve Jewish people everywhere and to help fellow believers do the same.”
I am grateful for your prayers and support! Without you, we could not continue this great and historic work among Jewish people!
The Biblical Foundation for Jewish Evangelism
The Bible builds a powerful case for the importance and urgency of Jewish evangelism. We are all, hopefully, familiar with verses like Romans 1:16, 11:11, and the words of encouragement from the Savior Himself who told us, “Salvation is from the Jews” (John 4:22). We can also learn from Paul’s strategy in the book of Acts, where he consistently went to the synagogue to reach his fellow Jewish people even as he exercised his calling as the apostle to the Gentiles.
Paul passionately expresses his broken heart for his own Jewish people in his letter to the Romans (Rom 9:1–3, Rom 9–11):
I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh. (Rom 9:1–3)
I deeply identify with Paul’s sentiments. Passages like these from Romans and others form the biblical foundation for Chosen People Ministries, which has not changed in 129 years. Chosen People Ministries’ history is important to understand as our past helps shape our future!
The History of Chosen People Ministries
Chosen People Ministries’ founder, Rabbi Leopold Cohn, left his home in Hungary and immigrated to the
United States in 1892. Soon after he arrived, the rabbi heard the good news about the Messiah from a young Polish Presbyterian missionary to the Jewish people. After receiving the Lord, Rabbi Cohn studied theology in Scotland and returned to Brooklyn in 1894 to begin what is now known as Chosen People Ministries.
God called Rabbi Cohn to reach out to his fellow Jewish people immigrating to the United States. At that time, the Mission served the material and spiritual needs of the growing population of Jewish immigrants.
Several decades later, our staff served the survivors of the Holocaust—a tragedy of astronomic proportions. Today, we still assist elderly Holocaust survivors. Most are in their nineties and living in Israel!
Our staff love God’s chosen people, and we do whatever it takes to support their needs and present the gospel message at the same time.
Our focus has always been on a people, not a particular country. In the 1990s, when millions of Russian-speaking Jewish people left the former Soviet Union for America, Germany, Canada, Australia, and, of course, Israel, we were there to help and show the love of Jesus the Messiah to our people.
With God’s help, Chosen People Ministries is eager to reach Jewish people of the twenty-first century. Our strategies, methods, and materials have changed with the times and will continue to adapt—which is part of our DNA. Yet, the gospel we proclaim remains the same: We preach an unchanging message of God’s power to save, “to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16). We preach this message in Hebrew, Spanish, Russian, Ukrainian, French, English, and as many languages as it takes to reach our people!
We began as a global ministry, and by His grace, we will continue this way until the great day when, as Paul writes, “all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:26). Only then will our work be done.
“Helping Others Do the Same”
Chosen People Ministries relies on the help and partnership of our brothers and sisters in the Messiah to help us reach the 15 million-plus Jewish people in the world today. Our mission statement affirms we not only reach Jewish people with the gospel but also help the church do the same.
To understand how evangelicals perceive the Jewish people, we decided to study Christian involvement in Jewish evangelism by sponsoring a survey of more than 2,000 evangelicals.
This survey discovered approximately 70 percent of evangelicals look favorably toward Israel, and 86 percent agree proclaiming the gospel among Jewish people is important. We found this fact very encouraging. However, we also learned age makes a big difference! According to the survey, evangelicals age 65 or older are 10 percent more likely to agree “sharing the gospel with Jewish people is important” than evangelicals ages 18 to 34.
We looked at other organizations’ surveys to see if this interest in Israel and the Jewish people among younger Christians was waning and how it might impact their willingness to be active in reaching their Jewish friends for the Lord.
A survey by the Brookings Institution in 2021 found support for Israel among young evangelicals dropped all the way to 34 percent from 75 percent in 2018. Within just three years, support for Israel plummeted 41 percent! So, our research and the results of others confirms younger evangelicals are becoming less favorable to Israel and are likely growing cooler toward Jewish evangelism as well.
We suspect support of Jewish missions increases when those engaged have a favorable view of Jewish people and the nation of Israel. Since this favorability is lessening among younger evangelicals, we should be concerned about Jewish evangelism decreasing among this group as well.
Inspiring a New Generation of Jewish Evangelists
How do we pass the baton to a new generation who might not necessarily embrace the full package of evangelical views and values cherished by previous generations? Though generations and cultures change, God’s character and Word do not. We believe affirming the ongoing role of the land and people of Israel in God’s plan is part of being faithful to Scripture. So, we should care about helping younger evangelicals appreciate this key theme in the Bible.
We asked our staff and friends to suggest some ways we can help a new generation of Christians care about the Jewish people.
To most effectively spur the next generation to support Israel and passionately proclaim the gospel among the Jewish people, we need to start educating at a young age. Childhood and adolescence are key times to learn about the world and form opinions about complex topics. We should reach children at home, through kid’s programs at local churches, and at Christian camps. As kids mature, we can cultivate conversations about Israel and the Jewish people through youth groups and student ministries.
For this reason, we are producing new materials to help children learn about and love Jewish people. We are excited about our new animated video and teaching materials for children on the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot). This video is available now, and I hope you will watch it and pass it along to your children, grandchildren, children’s pastors, and home-schooling groups. You will learn more about this project and future resources in this newsletter.
The video is by no means our only strategy for reaching younger generations! For years, we have run summer camps and winter weekend retreats for children and adolescents. These programs have shaped hundreds of young people’s relationships with the Messiah and have influenced their understanding of Israel in the Bible. These camps are only growing!
Another way to inspire younger generations toward Jewish outreach is through our new Host Israelis ministry. We are currently recruiting host families for this new ministry where you can have young Israelis stay in your home. This will not only be good for the Israelis who will see your love for the Lord through your hospitality, but it will also help your kids or grandchildren who might be meeting Israelis for the first time. You can then follow up by teaching these children about God’s plan for Israel and the Jewish people! Stay tuned to hear more about our Host Israelis ministry in our November newsletter!
We believe one way we can influence a new generation of Christian young people for the Lord is to foster from a young age their interest in Israel and in outreach to their Jewish friends.
I am sure you will enjoy this newsletter, and please join us in praying for the next generation of young people who will carry the banner of the Messiah and Jewish outreach to a future day . . . until He returns!
God Desires to Dwell with His People
Jesus is the fulfillment of all the Jewish festivals, including the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot). He is the consummation of the holiday as He is God in the flesh who “tabernacled,” or lived, among us. As John wrote, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
This beautiful verse echoes the Tabernacle the Israelites built in the desert. Just as God dwelt with His people in the Tabernacle, God dwells in the flesh with His people through Jesus. Jesus is the true Tabernacle, God’s manifest glory and presence, foreshadowed by God’s glory and presence by which He led His people through the challenges of the wilderness.