Life from Dry Ground
As we remember our Messiah’s miracle birth, we consider another kind of miracle birth that God is performing today: the birth of new Messianic congregations. Each new congregation is a miracle, for each is a work of God, beyond human ability. Yet, in each of these miracles, God chooses to work through human instruments. What type of people does God utilize in His work? People like Miriam (aka Mary), Yeshua’s mother.
If it were up to one of us to choose the person who would become the mother of the Son of God, Miriam, an ordinary young Jewish woman with no experience in being a mother, probably would not have been our first choice. However, Miriam was exactly the type of person that God was looking for: a humble person of faith.
A person’s level of experience does not define their potential. In fact, the best congregation planters are not people of experience but people of faith, who don’t lean on their own understanding or experience but trust God. At Word of Messiah Ministries, we are doing all we can to encourage and equip these great men of God who are stepping out in faith in order to plant new Messianic congregations. One way that we do this is through our “Growing Healthy Messianic Congregations” conferences which are held each year in strategic areas throughout the US.
This October, Sam conducted one of these conferences in San Antonio, TX, for new congregation planters and established Messianic leaders. Through the conference, the new planters were trained and equipped in the first steps they must take in order to see their congregations established on solid biblical footing. The established Messianic leaders were given assessment tools to guide them in the development of their congregations, so they can leverage areas of strength in order to address what is weak. All were encouraged and challenged to renew their vision and to look to Yeshua, the only One who can give us what we need to fulfill our calling.
Throughout the weekend, there was much collaboration as the leaders came together for a common purpose. Several of the leaders who attended have expressed their thoughts from the conference:
“This conference was phenomenal and a great learning experience for our congregation. It was very important for us and impactful as we are an older congregation and really needed “a shot in the arm” regarding a refreshed vision of the place and purpose of a Messianic congregation. I appreciated the focus on discipleship and the practical guidance in how to move forward in implementing the things learned at the conference in our congregation.”
– Rabbi Randy Shapiro, Congregation Beth Simcha, San Antonio, TX
“For someone who’s not yet in congregational leadership, Sam provided a roadmap for how to get there, backed with tremendous amounts of experience and expertise.”
– Jack N.
“This conference was very helpful for me as a Messianic leader. The most important thing I got from it is the vital importance of prayer and discipleship for people in the congregation.
I would definitely recommend other Messianic leaders to attend future WMM conferences. When we as leaders start thinking we understand everything and are ok running things on our own, this is dangerous. Sam’s ability to relate and apply Scripture to the matter of how to build and structure a Messianic congregation is excellent.”
– Billy Washburn, Shearit Yisrael, Poteet, TX
Praise God for the many blessings experienced in San Antonio! Now we are looking forward to what God has for us next: an opportunity to conduct a “Growing Healthy Messianic Congregations” conference in Phoenix, AZ, from January 23-25.
What kind of miracle birth are we looking for in the Phoenix area? Though the Southwest can be seen primarily as a place of “dry ground,” we believe that God is able to accomplish a great work there, even as He brought Messiah up as a “root out of dry ground” (Isaiah 53:2). Yeshua was both fully human and fully divine. Every congregation is born fully human, but must depend on God in order to live out their calling. Like Messiah, every congregation plant is born in order to bring sinners to the Lord and to make disciples. In order to do this, every congregation planter must be a person of:
Just as God gave us His vision of what He’d be doing in the world through Messiah, so Messianic congregation planters cast vision for their community. The most effective leaders are those who have faith to see what is not yet there – to envision a congregation where the Body of Messiah lives out the values of the Head, Yeshua. Vision is key to overseeing the work of congregation planting and needs to be kept alive so people can catch it. Through healthy congregations, we grow into Yeshua and live out His burden, to “seek and to save the lost” (Lk. 19:10), making disciples of every nation (Acts 1:8).
Prayer is vital to undergird the work of congregation planting. Indeed, “We have not because we ask not” (Jacob (James) 4:2). Just as Messiah ever lives to make intercession for us, so we live out our calling as believers depending on Him.
Just as the Holy Spirit planted a supernatural seed in Miriam, we plant spiritual seeds of the Good News, believing that God will bring about the harvest He has promised, a remnant according to His gracious choice (Rom. 11:5). The same God who kept His promise of bringing Messiah, the Head, into the world has also promised to bring the Body – those who will believe in Him. Healthy Messianic congregations make contacts in order to make disciples in order to grow members who will become leaders who make more contacts and more disciples.
Through our conferences and coaching, we stand by these courageous congregation planters and leaders, ministering to them so that they can more effectively minister to others, in order to see many more people, Jew and Gentile alike, become disciples of Yeshua!
Please pray that the work of God in Phoenix will move forward through this conference, so that the desert may become a blooming field, white unto harvest.