Equipping Leaders to Equip Disciples
Wearing slippers to class
“Learning from the comfort of your own home” is appealing on many levels. Zero time spent traveling (or being “out there” as cold and flu season, or worse, kicks in). Zero expense for housing and meals. And then there is the reduced registration price. KOL TOV! It’s ALL good!
While there is nothing like face-to-face interaction, using online platforms as the primary method for conducting Developing Healthy Messianic Congregations conferences has turned out “for good instead of evil” (See Genesis 50:20). While travel under the current COVID protocol is permitted, many are still hesitant to make an “extra” trek elsewhere. We at Word of Messiah have been delighted to see the effectiveness of our online seminars.
Before the conference
“That is a generous offer of his time!” the couple from California responded when told that Sam would like to pray with them on the phone a few days before the conference. In these brief calls, Sam puts his finger on the pulse of their ministry’s needs and weaves that information into his presentation.
This simple act reveals the heart of Word of Messiah and its founder, Sam Nadler, himself. He genuinely wants to communicate, not just talk. A prayerful touching of bases beforehand is the beginning of a relationship with those who attend. Sam is not just a presenter. He sincerely offers himself as a mentor.
Who attends and why?
Four couples and six individuals representing various roles–from seasoned congregation leaders to one investigating what it takes to start a Messianic congregation–joined us online for our DHMC conference on November 13-14, 2021. They logged into their computers from the west and east coasts, the Midwest, the Southeast, and southern coastal states. What a diverse and outstanding group of leaders!
“Why attend this conference more than once?”
One couple, who leads a congregation in the Midwest, noted this was their THIRD conference in five years. “And when you have your next one, we’ll probably be there, too.” WHY? Why attend this conference more than once? They went on to share, “Just like students in a classroom, we need to hear things more than once. And sometimes we miss something the first time.” Indeed! Add to that the fact that Sam is ALWAYS adding new material that he somehow manages to squeeze in. “It’s like drinking from a firehose.”
So, WHAT is Sam teaching?
Sam uses his book, Developing Healthy Messianic Congregations, as his main reference point. His accompanying PowerPoint slides, as one man put it, “are fantastic and almost an entity all on their own.”
“…the textbook behind the textbook is the Bible”
However, the textbook behind the textbook is the Bible. Sam is convinced, and he wants the conferees to understand that GOD’S WORD is where the authority lies. His books and speech are peppered with “chapter and verse” quotations to keep everyone’s eyes on the Author.
Back to the basics
“The DNA of a congregation,” which relates to the earliest stages of development, must start and continue with DISCIPLESHIP. Why? Because discipleship develops our dependence on Messiah. More of Him, less of me. Yeshua MUST be primary in all we do and are. In Sam’s inimitable delivery, he told the group that he looks in the mirror every day and tells himself, “Drop dead, Nadler” (–as in I Corinthians 15:21.) “I die daily to myself, and live unto the Lord as His disciple.”
“Mentoring beyond the weekend seminar”
DHMC attendees were offered even more resources: a conference discount to use in the Word of Messiah bookstore, several handouts, and a link to another PowerPoint presentation to further equip them to “Share Messiah” with their Jewish friends. During the conference, Sam highlighted several Word of Messiah books: the Messianic Answer Book, Messianic Discipleship, Messianic Wisdom, Messianic Foundations, and others. While book sales are always welcomed, it’s the passing of heart-changing teaching that matters. We want to equip disciples to make disciples so they can make more disciples. (See 2 Timothy 2:2.)
That’s a wrap
We concluded the conference by allowing the participants to share their thoughts on the experience. Several expressed gratitude for Sam offering diverse resources such as materials, time, counsel, and prayers. Another group of three individuals from one congregation planned to collaboratively share their “takes” on what they have learned, then develop a plan to apply it.
Our next Developing Healthy Messianic Congregations conference is scheduled for February 19-20, 2022. Please pray for word of this conference to come to the attention of Messianic leaders with teachable hearts. To our knowledge, Word of Messiah is the only ministry offering this kind of extensive and biblically-based training to the Messianic shepherds.
Sam enjoys saying of himself, “There is snow on the rooftop, but there is a fire in my furnace.” Thank you for your prayers for Sam himself, as he is “constrained by the love of Messiah” to use his Time, Talent, and Treasure to equip leaders to fulfill the Great Commission in their congregations.
Julie Scott, our newest Word of Messiah staff member, is currently serving as Conference Coordinator. Julie enjoyed going through the discipleship books (and classes) for herself. Now, according to the discipleship program, which Sam explained in the seminar, she is currently serving as a one-on-one-discipler with a woman in her congregation.