Surrounded by the soaring walls of a Sephardic- style synagogue and the Israeli-accented melodies of the Friday night Sabbath services, hundreds of Jewish people crowd into the one-hour service on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City. Half of them are below the age of 30. Many are students and young professionals. They are the group we have come to call “Millennials” – and they are a demographic Chosen People Ministries is committed to reaching.
Not all Jewish Millennials are religious. Many channel their impulse to gather in other directions. They are fond of going out with friends, joining special interest groups, dating whomever they please, or advocating for special causes regardless of the religious, ethnic or racial affiliations of the others involved. They often reject organized religion, except perhaps for a few holidays to please their parents, because it may not suit their philosophies or interests.
There is a world of difference between the poles of religious and non-religious Millennials. Many fall somewhere in between. This Jewish Millennial population is diverse, but there is a commonality. They investigate whatever interests they may have, but all the while they keep their Jewish heritage somewhere in their minds, often toward the back.
We as believers who have been blessed by the Lord and changed by Jesus need to be effective witnesses to this needy and largely uninterested age group of Jewish people. God has given us the gift and privilege to be able to proclaim the Good News of His kingdom. The question is, “How do we reach the Jewish Millennials with the truth that Jesus is the Messiah for whom their people have been waiting?”
We must find up-to-date, creative and innovative ways to communicate our message. But we must not forget that there is one tried and true method of reaching anyone – and especially Jewish Millennials. It requires commitment, time and prayer, but by devoting yourself to a relationship with a young person, you communicate more than the Internet ever could. When a mature believer exudes what the Spirit of God has done in his or her life, Millennials will take notice.
In the next two decades, the Millennials will be running Fortune 500 companies, raising families, making public policy, and conducting international affairs. The challenge before us is this—what will you and I do to reach these young Jewish people who desperately need the hope of the Gospel in a world that continues to walk away from God?