By WMM Staff
In late January, Sam and Miriam went back to Israel yet again to witness for Messiah. Their purpose was to help establish and develop believing Messianic communities in the Land, through intensive training and conferences on Discipleship and planting new congregations, as well as witness to the Israelis who need Messiah. During their time in Israel, Sam and Miriam met with the following ministries: One for Israel & Israel College of the Bible (ICB), Maoz-Israel Ministry, and with leaders of the Southern Baptist Mission in Israel.
The larger meetings were interspersed with one-on-one meetings with other Messianic leaders. On the last leg of the trip, Sam met with a London congregation planter to discuss the possibility of a future Planting Conference in England.
On Messianic discipleship
At the Maoz Ministries sponsored conference in Tel Aviv, 60 Messianic leaders in the Land gathered for the purpose of developing Messianic Talmidut (Discipleship). Sam and Miriam learned that many of the congregations in Israel that are doing one-on-one discipleship use Sam’s book, Messianic Discipleship. Remarkably, a few years earlier an individual had testified of the tremendous need of discipleship materials to help train up believers. On this trip, Sam and Miriam were able to provide copies of this book in four different languages: English, Hebrew, Russian, and Amharic (Ethiopian)! The Ethiopian Messianic leaders were especially thrilled to find it in their own language, the only one of its kind in the world.
Also in attendance were eight believing Arab leaders from the West Bank who love Israel. They want to begin using Messianic Discipleship in their Arab believing communities! As an additional blessing, Sam had the opportunity to share extensively with a pre-believing Israeli sound tech, who is close to accepting Messiah!
On Messianic Outreach
Sam had a special outreach opportunity with the ministry “One for Israel” where Sam recorded his testimony at the Israel College of the Bible (ICB) in Netanya. One for Israel is a dynamic evangelistic outreach which has ten websites in Israel, both in Hebrew and English. They have a tremendous response from Israelis, since so many are online looking for answers that are only found in Yeshua the Messiah.
Later that same day Sam met with an ICB Administrator to discuss using Sam’s book, Developing Healthy Messianic Congregations. They conferred about using the book for those studying to be Congregational Planters. Since the book is only available in English at present, it would be optional reading for students pursuing a Bachelor’s degree, and required reading for those who are studying for a Master’s Degree.
Messianic Congregation Planting
Sam also taught at a Messianic congregation plant in the Tiberias area. It was a most amazing response to Sam’s teaching with many in tears and repentance. While there, one believer testified how they were able to use The Messianic Answer Book to share the chapter on the Trinity with an Orthodox couple. The Orthodox couple had to agree with all the points made in that chapter from the Tanakh (Old Testament) and Talmud concerning the triune Nature of God. Later that evening at an informal gathering, Sam spoke to a group of young believing Israeli professionals and their wives. The response was amazing! Sam and Miriam were able to teach them Biblical principles regarding their lives, marriages and families as witnesses for Messiah in the Land. At this gathering and others, many questions were raised and Sam and Miriam were privileged to answer them in a most encouraging way.
Sam also conducted another conference in Haifa for a network of congregation planters in the Galilee.The main subject of discussion was the importance of discipleship for leadership development. However, there was also a flurry of questions on a wide range of subjects. Here is a sampling of them:
Questions & Answers
Q: What can I do with my congregation who judge me because my teenage children are not following the Lord closely? Am I unfit to be their leader?
A: Sam explained this leader’s congregation was holding him to an impossible standard, in that they wanted him to be better than Yeshua. He gave the example of the story of the Prodigal Son; the father in the story pictures a loving God, whereas his two sons were both losers- one wasted his inheritance, while the other was a self-righteous bigot, lacking forgiveness. Sam’s point was that like Himself, God does not expect us to have perfect children but rather to love imperfect children perfectly.
He also gave the example of Isaiah 7:15-16 pertaining to the age of accountability, citing the Bar Mitzvah tradition. Around the time of Bar Mitzvah (around age 13), God begins to hold children accountable to “refuse the evil and choose the good.” At that point, the parents’ stewardship becomes quite limited as the teens are now held responsible before God for their own decisions. The relief on many faces was palpable.
Q: What can I do if my people do not see the necessity of discipleship and are complacent/resistant about the idea?
A: Leadership models the need and the process of discipleship… Leaders need to gather some key people together and begin to meet one-on-one for discipleship, then invite others to be involved in the process. Those that you disciple will become future leaders.
All-in all, it was a most rewarding and blessed trip this year! Thanks to all of you who partnered with Sam and Miriam in your prayers for this very special trip. Sam and Miriam had a wonderful voice mail from one of the Israeli organizers waiting for him at home, thanking him for being such an encouragement to the Messianic leaders in Israel.
Comments from Leaders
Here is an excerpt of a thank you note from another one of the leaders:
“Dear Sam and Miriam, Thank you so much for pouring yourselves out for Yeshua’s flock in Eretz Israel. Your compassion, wisdom and dedication are evident as you sail the seas to equip the Shepherds of Israel. May the Lord who inspires and uses you continue to fill you with supernatural life and power and leading of the Ruach [Holy Spirit]….” Amen!