As we discussed in our March newsletter, the coronavirus pandemic has not halted evangelism at Chosen People Ministries. Our outreach has actually increased! As a result, our staff has undertaken many new and innovative digital platforms and initiatives to share the good news about Messiah with the Jewish people. We have exciting plans for the coming year that we would like to share with you!
We have launched two brand-new Messianic digital evangelism websites—About Messiah and Chosen People Answers—and we plan to expand their reach and add many new features and more content in the coming year.
About Messiah is our digital evangelism site geared toward a curious, secular Jewish audience that is open to the prospect of Jesus being the Jewish Messiah. The site consists of brief articles answering the common questions Jewish people have concerning belief in Jesus and features a live chat box so our missionaries can interact with them and answer their questions in real-time.
We envision About Messiah becoming the go-to site for Jewish questions about the Messiah. We are constantly adding more articles, and we have recently brought more writers to the project, which will allow for increased production of content. Additionally, we will be promoting the website and its content via social media and email to hundreds of unbelieving Jewish contacts.
Chosen People Answers is our Messianic apologetics website designed to reach a more studied Jewish audience that desires deeper explanations for belief in Jesus. The site features a growing collection of apologetics content, a massive library of Jewish and Christian texts, and an interactive design for user participation.
The beta version of Chosen People Answers is currently live, but we will soon be launching the full, improved version of the site. The future edition will include a complete progression tracking system, allowing users to interact with the material and earn achievements as they would in a video game. Enhancements will also contain fewer bugs, a live chat box for users to communicate directly with our digital missionaries, and more apologetics content. We have also included a user moderation system to reduce the possibility of disruptive behavior online and encourage friendly behavior in user participation.
Our new radio show, The Chosen People, is hosted by Chosen People Ministries president Dr. Mitch Glaser and Brooklyn branch leader Robert Walter. Weekly discussion topics include the Jewish holidays, Israel, prophecy, the Jewish roots of Christianity, and much more. The half-hour weekly show already airs on more than thirty radio stations across the United States. We hope to equip believers everywhere to share the gospel with Jewish people in ways that are Jewish-sensitive.
Please pray for us as we are still in the process of pioneering plans for other exciting projects! Here are just a few of them:
We are almost ready to launch an online lay Bible institute that will offer virtual courses explicitly geared toward equipping lay church leaders. Topics will include the Hebrew Scriptures, Israel’s relationship to the Church, biblical Hebrew and Greek, the Jewish roots of Christianity, Jewish evangelism, the Messiah in Judaism, Messianic apologetics, and much more. While accreditation is not yet possible, the institute will offer certificates in Jewish Evangelism, Jewish Roots, and Messianic Judaism. The staff of our very own Charles L. Feinberg Center for Messianic Jewish Studies will teach the courses.
We have also started developing a seeker-friendly Hebrew website addressing practical life questions and emotional issues that Israelis face, such as dating relationships, anxiety, stress, depression, addiction, and others. These are dialogues that naturally lead to more spiritual questions about God and Jesus. The website will also advertise and offer free e-books on these subjects.
Before the pandemic, we began working toward publishing a video teaching series on Right Now Media that will delve deeply into the Fall Feasts, Passover, and the Jewish roots of Christianity. We hope to complete this project in the coming months.
We are also planning to develop an innovative new ministry on the social media platform TikTok that reaches young people—believers and unbelievers—with spiritual, thought-provoking content in a familiar format.
The opportunities to reach people through digital evangelism are vast and growing daily. Your Mission to the Jewish People is committed to using every possible platform and medium to bring the gospel to the Jewish people.
Since the very beginning of our ministry, a primary focus has been to train and disciple the next generation of Jewish believers. Some have become leaders in Messianic congregations, others serve in leadership in Jewish evangelism, and our goal is for all to flourish as active members of the Body of Messiah. We believe that the seeds we plant, nourish, and grow in children and young adults now will make a difference in the generations to come—even beyond our lifetimes! That is both exciting and encouraging.
For this reason, we do all that we can to recruit, disciple, and train a younger generation of missionaries to the Jewish people and minister to children and teens while they are young. We currently have various ministries to children and young adults, including a global conference for young adults, discipleship retreats, an Israeli backpacker ministry, short-term mission trips, summer internships, campus ministry, and children’s camps. Chosen People Ministries has hosted children’s summer camps from its earliest days and continues this effort today through Camp Kesher East and West. Our current campus ministry to serve college-age students is called House of Living Waters.
Kesher is the Hebrew word for “connection,” which is what Camp Kesher is all about. Connecting youth to Jesus, each other, and the larger Messianic Jewish community is our utmost priority. We currently host Camp Kesher on the east and west coasts, a winter camp called Kesher Ice, and a summer camp in Israel called Kesher Israel.
This summer, we are reopening Camp Kesher East and West; these are the only programs to be hosted in person this year because we believe it is crucial to support the emotional health and well-being of our youth. Robert Walter, our east coast camp director, writes, “We sometimes forget the impact that the quarantine and shut-downs have had on the youth. We have seen kids and teens from congregations in the northeast who have struggled greatly with depression, anxiety, fear, and loneliness as they have been disconnected from regular life and fellowship.” Getting camp back up and running was a unanimous decision, and we are excited to minister to our children and youth in this challenging time. We hope you will join us in prayer for the kids who will gather this summer for Camp Kesher East and West, as well as the summer camps that will take place in Israel.
HOUSE OF LIVING WATERS
We are also excited to pick up where we left off with our newest campus ministry initiate House of Living Waters (HOLW). The first House of Living Waters began in 2019 in the East Village in Manhattan near New York University (NYU) but was cut short because of COVID-19. We rented an apartment in the East Village for four young men to build a Messianic Jewish presence on campus by hosting book tables, weekly Bible studies, and Sabbath dinners. We chose NYU because it has the highest number of Jewish students in the United States.
This first House of Living Waters program was very successful. Of primary importance was the outreach we were able to do with Jewish students at NYU and the insight we gained to reach them better in the future. We spent quality time with the four HOLW interns, both together and individually, and shared what it would be like to serve full-time in Jewish missions. They got an inside look at many different types of ministry, including engaging Jewish people in dialogue at book tables and through street evangelism, hospitality, one-on-one evangelism, and more. Overall, it was a fruitful and positive ministry that we plan to launch again for the 2021–2022 school year.
Alexi (not his real name) is an example of a young person who has taken full advantage of our youth and young adult programs. He was ten years old when he began attending Kesher Israel. As a teenager, Alexi became a helper and then a counselor. He went on to help lead our camps, and then in 2019, he came to New York City to be part of the House of Living Waters program. He is currently attending Moody Bible Institute for Jewish Studies and works part-time with Chosen People Ministries. Alexi’s story illustrates the organic flow within our various youth programs. We are excited because he now plans to become a full-time staff member working with children in Israel!
You can see how important it is to invest in our youth and do all we can to train and disciple the next generation! The children and teens of today are the mothers, fathers, pastors, rabbis, elders, and missionaries of tomorrow!