Strengthening Messianic Communities
By Marianela Leekley
Just three months after our first Messianic Marriage Zoom Conference, we decided to have another. Our goal in doing these conferences is to make healthy Messianic marriages, for in doing so, we will have strong Messianic congregations who effectively represent Messiah in reaching a lost world. They are a living testimony of God’s faithfulness to Israel and the world as they bring the Good News of Yeshua to those who desperately need Him. How marvelous to have technology that helps us achieve that goal!
This online platform has opened up new ways to reach the Messianic community throughout the world in a way that we haven’t been able to in the past. While we still believe in the value of in-person conferences and look forward to the day we can resume them, these online conferences have allowed us to minister simultaneously to couples, singles, and leaders of congregations in different states and countries. An additional unforeseen blessing is that oftentimes, couples who have issues to work through don’t want to come to a marriage conference filled with other people. Sometimes, only one spouse is willing to come, but they may feel uncomfortable showing up without their husband or wife. The beauty of attending online is that it offers privacy that just can’t happen otherwise. We are literally getting invited into the home of a hurting couple or spouse in a way that never would have happened otherwise. What an opportunity for ministry!
This recent Zoom marriage conference was similar in attendee background to our previous one: we had leaders of other congregations, ministry staff of Messianic organizations, couples, and singles. They hailed from New York to South Carolina, and several east coast states in between. Using his Messianic Marriage Matters book and illustrative slides, Sam led three sessions each day with time for Q&A and 30-minute breaks for couples to discuss and apply the biblical material to their relationship. For those who attended singularly, we had private breakout sessions for the men, led by Greg Leekley, and the women, led by Miriam Nadler.
Many were able to immediately start working through matters that needed to be addressed. For others, the breakout questions revealed areas they hadn’t thought about as being important, and realized they needed to be intentional in these issues. On Sunday, at the close of the day, Sam turned it over to the attendees for feedback on the conference. What a wonderful and encouraging time to hear how the Truth sets us free! Joyful in humility, repentance, forgiveness, and encouragement, couples shared the beauty and applicability of Scripture to all of life’s problems.
From the Clarks: “The Marriage Conference was a joy to attend. We’ve been married for 30 years, all of it with Yeshua and still learned so much! We’ve never had anyone explain God’s purpose and plan for marriage using Genesis and the Garden before and after sin. It became so clear that as we mature in Messiah, our marriages will resemble more and more the Garden before sin: fellowship with God and each other; fully known, unashamed, and unafraid. This picture is extremely helpful for us visual learners. In fact, it’s the clearest example I’ve ever had of what God wants a marriage to look like. Thank you, Sam.”
From Rabbi Scott Lesser of Adon Olam Messianic Congregation, “While there were many good insights shared by Sam Nadler during the conference that will improve my marriage and my ability to counsel others, the one that really changed my thinking about marriage in general was when Sam said, ‘If you are not growing together, then you are growing apart.’ The book, Messianic Marriage Matters, will also serve as a tremendous resource on the subject.”
One of the recurring comments that we have gotten on all three “Restored to Our Original Design” conferences is what a great starting point it provides to turn over a new leaf in marriage—no matter the existing condition their marriage is in. When couples find out there will be private breakout sessions where they actually have to talk to each other, oftentimes, one spouse is looking forward to it, while the other is dreading it. One spouse thinks it’s finally time to get everything off their chest, while the other just wants to run and hide! But what they are both surprised to find during this private time is that the questions are designed for each spouse to edify and encourage the other. Rather than deal with each specific issue that a couple may be facing, Sam takes them to the root of all their problems: sin. Sin is what separates us from God and from each other.
Dealing only with the symptoms of a disease may bring temporary relief, but true healing can’t happen until you attack the root of it. The Bible gives us everything we need for our marriages to be restored to the way God intended for us to live: two imperfect people who represent Yeshua as they forgive and show grace to each other. For the spouse who couldn’t wait to bring up the past, they find that their lack of appreciation for their spouse is truly a lack of gratitude towards God! For the one who would rather hide than talk, they learn that the enemy wants to keep them in a position of defeat. Truly, to have a spiritually healthy marriage, it requires two spiritually healthy individuals. Our own spiritual growth is God’s job, not ours, nor our spouse’s, but we have to be willing to let Him do the work.
We thank you for your prayers and support for these conferences, but we also would love to see YOU at our next one! Whether you are single or married, in a healthy marriage or a troubled one, anyone can benefit from sound Biblical teaching. May God give the increase in our spiritual growth that we may represent Him well to the lost sheep of the House of Israel, and to the rest of the world.