“I knew I would learn, but I had no idea how much. The tools taught here are just amazing. For my congregation, it’s exactly what we needed and at exactly the right time. I wish every Messianic leader could attend this conference so we could all be on the same page.” – Grant Luton, Congregational Leader, Beth Tikkun Messianic Fellowship
As our Shmooze readers know, we plant Messianic congregations because we believe that the most effective long-term testimony of the Good News is a healthy, local congregation. Our “Developing Healthy Messianic Congregations” conferences are designed to equip both Messianic congregation planters and leaders in established congregations with practical tools to enable growth in the various ministries to which God has called them.
During the last weekend of July, thirty-three Messianic leaders gathered at host congregation Tikvat Israel in Richmond, VA, for a regional conference led by Sam Nadler. The weekend began with a study on the crucial matters of: mission (why does our congregation exist?), vision (where are we going?), and values (how will we get there?) A vision centered on Yeshua is vital, for He is the One whom we as individuals and congregations want to grow up to be like! (Eph. 4:15) As a congregation planter develops his view on these essential areas, he must then communicate them to his team, so they will be in unity concerning the primary matters of the congregation.
For this reason, our conferences are not only for congregational leaders, they are also meant for any leader in the congregation. Debbie Holford, Children’s Ministry Coordinator at Hope of Israel Congregation in Charlotte, NC, attended the Richmond conference in order to apply the teaching to her role as leader of a team shaping the next generation of leaders. Afterwards, Debbie remarked, “The principles presented in the conference apply to the leaders of the congregation as a whole, but also to the leaders of the many ministries that make up a congregation… As I listened to the truth being presented, I found myself wishing I had attended the conference years ago. The information was clearly presented and very practical.”
For Tony and Michelle Mardian, who are in the process of planting a Messianic congregation in Roanoke, VA, the biggest blessing of the conference was the fact that their entire core group was able to be in attendance together. Tony remarked, “It’s been wonderful to have our whole team here – for them to be able to get the information and help us to make application when we return home.” Tony encourages other leaders considering attending a conference to, “have all the elders or potential elders in your community to come so that everybody is on the same page, including their spouses; their spouses are key. If the Lord is calling him, his wife needs to be there as well.”
Several of the leaders in attendance remarked that it was very helpful for them to walk through Sam’s paradigm of healthy leadership development: from contact-making to disciple-making to member-making to leader-making. Joseph James, an elder at Son of David Congregation in Silver Spring MD, stated, “I’ve learned a lot about leadership and about implementing new members into the congregation. To make that first initial contact is the most important thing, bringing in new members through discipleship, and then making them into leaders… When I go home, I’m taking all this back with me to the other elders; we’re going to discuss it and see how we can work it into our congregation.”
If we want to see more Jewish people coming to faith in Yeshua, there must be healthy Messianic congregations where the Good News is presented in a way Jewish people can understand it and where new believers can be discipled to be living testimonies of the faithfulness of God, bringing the Good News to the Jew first and equally to the Gentile. We want to see healthy Messianic congregations established in every city, and in September we will be holding another “Developing Healthy Messianic Congregations” conference in Brooklyn, NY, for Messianic leaders and congregation planters throughout the Northeast. Visit our conference page for more information as our registration deadline is coming up on September 4th. And please pray for us as we continue to train and equip Messianic leaders here and around the world!