In mid-September, Sam was invited to be the keynote speaker at the 150th anniversary conference of the oldest Messianic organization in the world, the British Messianic Jewish Alliance (BMJA). Messianic leaders from all over England and Wales gathered to celebrate this milestone and renew their vision for the next 150 years of outreach to the thousands of Jewish people in Great Britain.
Sam spoke at the BMJA’s bi-annual conference in 2011, and was very honored to receive this invitation a second time, viewing this opportunity as strategic in light of our calling at Word of Messiah to reach more Jewish people with the Good News of Yeshua and see healthy Messianic congregations planted across the world. Everything Sam taught at the conference was to further this end, challenging the Messianic community in England to grow strong in their strategic calling to share Good News with Jew and non-Jew alike and disciple believers through healthy, local Messianic congregations.
The conference began Friday evening as Paul Wilbur led in a concert of praise and adoration to the Lord God of Israel. What better way to begin than with a celebration to exalt the Name that is above every name, the Name of Yeshua our Messiah!
Over the next two days, Sam taught a series of messages from the Book of Romans beginning with Romans 1:16 and then walking verse by verse through Romans chapter 11. Sam challenged this group of Jewish and Gentile believers as to how the Apostle Paul saw the Gospel effectively going forth. To the Gentiles attending, he expounded on Paul’s warning for them not to become arrogant against the natural “olive branches” (the greater Jewish community who have rejected Yeshua as Messiah), but rather to use their liberty in the Lord to make unbelieving Jewish people jealous for Messiah (Romans 11:11). His exhortation to the many Jewish believers there was to encourage them that as the “remnant according to God’s gracious choice” (Romans 11:5), each of them must renew their commitment to keep proclaiming the Good News with an even stronger voice as we see the coming of Messiah rapidly approaching.
Though some may think that Messianic congregations are only for Jewish people and that Gentiles should not attend, Scripture is very clear on this matter. The fact that there are so many Gentiles in Messianic congregations around the world is a valuable witness to Israel, for as Gentiles worship Yeshua in a Jewish frame of reference, it makes Jewish people curious as to why they are doing this, bringing them to jealousy for their own Messiah!
After listening to Sam’s teaching at the conference, some who had previously thought that Messianic congregations were not for Gentiles realized how wrong their position was and are seeking now to move forward in discipling both Jews and Gentiles to testify of God’s faithfulness in Messiah, the “light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of His people Israel.” (Luke 2:32) Sound teaching on these matters is vital in the Messianic world if we are to be a unified testimony of God’s faithfulness in Messiah to all people.
On Monday following the conference, we had the privilege of working with several leaders from a Messianic Congregation who meet in the Golders Green area of London, the section of the city with the largest Jewish population. Here, Sam spent a day of teaching and training regarding the basics of congregational planting and healthy growth. His teaching was so well received that we are praying about returning to England to conduct a “Developing Healthy Messianic Congregations” conference in this strategic area.
Following the conference, we received helpful feedback as to the impact the teaching made on the leaders and communities represented:
“Thank you for taking the time to come to the BMJA conference and the Leadership day on Monday. You have provided much needed clarity on a number of matters that I feel the British Messianic community (and the wider Gentile church) so needs. It has empowered me and inspired me so that I am clear about many matters for the coming season.” – Anthony
“This truly was a life changing experience for me and I am still chewing over the riches of the deposits you have made into my life. I never understood until now how crucial mentoring is and also how to approach God’s chosen people. This weekend has changed my view completely.” – Kumar
Thank you for praying for our trip and for those in England who are reaching their Jewish communities with the Good News of Messiah and planting Messianic congregations in these areas of great need. Please pray with us about the possibility of conducting a future conference in London as the Lord provides His opportunities and His resources.