By WMM Staff
Late in February, Messianic leaders from Canada and throughout the US met for a two-day conference in Tampa, Florida for outreach and development of Messianic congregations. The conference was conducted by Sam Nadler, and was graciously hosted by Rabbi Steve Weiler and Shoresh David (Root of David) Congregation.
The guiding theme of the conference was as follows:
Establishment of effective Jewish evangelism through the Messianic community necessitates effective discipleship of all Messianic believers, because they best represent the Messiah to the greater Jewish community.
The principles outlined at the conference were taken from Sam’s book, Developing Healthy Messianic Congregations. Sam addressed four major difficulties that hinder healthy ministry: Scriptural problems, strategic problems, internal problems and implementation problems.
Regarding the first point, Sam taught that a lack of scriptural understanding leads to a lack of purpose. In other words, many people don’t understand the scriptural reason why being a Messianic witness is important; therefore don’t know how to properly represent Messiah to the Jewish community. If people don’t know what the scriptural basis of their faith is, their witness will be ineffective. They will only reinforce the belief that faith in Yeshua is a non-Jewish alternative.
Sam then began an in-depth discussion based on the book of Romans, written by the Apostle Paul. Sam’s teaching was based upon Romans 1:16, which states that the Good News of Messiah is “to the Jew first. ” This was followed by teaching from Romans 10 and 11, and the unchanging call upon Gentile believers “to make Israel jealous;” that is, desirous of Messiah. In Romans 11, the apostle Paul explains that Gentile believers are “wild branches.” Regardless how many of them come to faith and are “grafted in,” the root of the olive tree is remains Jewish. In this way, Messiah can be accurately presented to the Jewish community, so they may understand that Yeshua really is the true Messiah of Israel and therefore the Savior of the world.
Following this, Sam explained that a lack of strategy produces unclear direction in the congregation. He discussed the biblical model of a healthy congregation, which is made up of healthy families. Healthy families lead to a healthy community. “The congregation cannot be any stronger than the families that make it up.” A lively discussion ensued, recognizing the vital need of prayer to under-gird the congregation. Sam also stressed that godly leadership is necessary to oversee outreach, discipleship and development of new leaders.
Sam also clarified that internal problems reveal a lack of unity. He emphasized the necessity of personal discipleship of all members of the congregation to achieve “unity in the community.” This must become a primary value in the congregation. Otherwise, undiscipled believers become dysfunctional members of the congregation, which in turn leads to an undiscipled congregation. This ultimately becomes a dysfunctional community misrepresenting Messiah. That is why Yeshua commanded all His followers to make disciples wherever they go (Matthew 28:19). This discipleship must begin in the home for it to become a real value in the community. Otherwise, undiscipled members might even resent this ‘discipleship idea’ continually taught from the pulpit. Thus we need discipled homes to have a discipled and strong congregation.
Following the discussion time, there were four breakout sessions for practical application of discipleship: Children’s ministry, led by Debbie Holford, Youth ministry, led by Tim James, Women’s ministry, led by Miriam Nadler and Men’s ministry, led by Sam. Afterwards a participant from each breakout reported, and each group felt there were many practical takeaways provided in each of their discussions.
After the break-out sessions, Sam discussed the fact that Implementation problems will also hinder growth. Lack of leadership development and planning are often to blame, and lack of planning on the part of leadership will also contribute to implementation problems. “Leadership is not a matter of personality but of accepting responsibility. In leadership we’re looking for the right amount of ‘CASH’: right character, right attitude, right skills, and right habits.” It is easier to improve the skills if all the rest is there.
The Blessing Is in the Doing
The application of Yeshua’s teaching in John 13:17 highlighted the importance of the implementation process: “If you know these things, then blessed are you that do them.” In fact, what was learned this weekend is irrelevant unless it is implemented, for only in the application of truth is there blessing from the wisdom of the Word. Disciples grow thru their properly supervised service, and leaders grow thru properly supervising the disciples’ service.
The conference ended as it began in prayer, and each one there recognizing the need of spiritual unity of the body regardless of their different places of service. Each then went back to their ministry locations to bring the Good News to the Jew first, and make healthy messianic disciples of all who come to faith in Yeshua the Messiah. Please pray that God will give the increase to all that we learned together so that we might be blessed in the doing.
Please also remember the upcoming conferences scheduled for Columbus, Ohio (June, 2017), Chicago, Illinois (October, 2017), Phoenix, AZ (February, 2018), and Long Island, NY (June, 2018). Pray that even more will be accomplished in proclaiming Yeshua as Israel’s Messiah and the world’s Savior.