Something that will change the face of ministry among our Jewish people just occurred in Jerusalem. Most people didn’t know about it. Even those who knew about it may not have known what it was and why it was important. But the results may be felt for years to come. The organization is called Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism (LCJE) and the event was their International Conference, which occurs once every four years.
Why was the conference so important? I’ll let one of the younger attendees relate his experience, “It is overwhelming, in a good way, to see the swath of organizations whose goal it is to reach the Jewish people with the gospel. I find it an incredible way to broaden my ideas in how to engage Jewish people where I live and an unparalleled way to network” (Ryan Karp, Chosen People Ministries).
It might be best to liken it to a High Tech conference. Years ago, I worked at a High Tech company and the bosses left for a conference. Although the company was just an importer, the conference was very important to the bosses. They came back exhausted, but with new contacts. Several of the newer companies there needed an importer to bring them into the Israeli market. We made several sales that would not have occurred if the bosses had not networked at the conference. If the world of business ‘networks’ in order to refine their craft, how much more important is it for believers to partner together for the sake of the Gospel going forth.
So what exactly is the LCJE? In the words of the LCJE President, Tuvya Zaretsky (Jews for Jesus), “the Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism is the only international network of Jewish evangelism efforts in the world today. We are mission workers, denominational delegates, congregational representatives and interested partners.” The goal of the ‘NETWORK’ is to grow collectively and individually by sharing sharing ideas and information, developing partnerships, and learning from one another through successes and failures. Its not an organization, mission, ministry or any such entity. It doesn’t even have a full-time employee. Its just a very good network.
The LCJE began in 1984 and it has “an amazing history, which we celebrated at this international conference in Jerusalem, but I do think that our most exciting days are still ahead! I believe that Jewish evangelism worldwide is about to explode and that the LCJE network will be a key facilitator, as the Lord leads, of that spiritual explosion!” (Jim Melnick, LCJE International Coordinator). The LCJE began in the 80’s with young leaders, many of whom were in the twenties. These leaders are still leading this network today. However, as they approach retirement, they are realizing the need to pass the torch.
This conference significantly emphasized the need for raising up young leaders, which is evidenced by the final sentence in the conference statement “Encouraged by the promises of God regarding Israel and the evangelistic successes of the past, LCJE is seeking to nurture a new generation of gifted leaders who, empowered by the Holy Spirit, will inspire the worldwide Church to share the life-giving message of Messiah with Jewish people until, as foretold by the apostle Paul in Romans 11:26, ‘all Israel will be saved.’” This message was repeated by participants like Jim Melnick, who encouraged “anyone involved in Jewish evangelism who seeks to network or partner with others should consider joining LCJE” and also Mitch Glaser, President of Chosen People Ministries, who said that participants can be “those with have a heart for reaching Jewish people with the Gospel, and are either serving in Jewish ministry as a missionary or Messianic congregational leader. Also, pastors, academics and those with a general interest in missions and are interested in the topics would find engagement with LCJE to be encouraging.”
In fact some of the young leaders did find the conference quite encouraging. “The conference helped me see that I’m part of an international community of believers working hard toward the same goal of making the gospel known. I really appreciated how this year’s conference focused on the next generation” (Renae Kooy, Life in Messiah). “I definitely see the need for LCJE network. The key to this conference is networking and exposure, seeing how others are doing evangelism, sharing ideas and learning from others doing the same things around the world” (Zev Sigulim, MegaVoice).
As a result of the conference, many senior leaders came away with hope, like David Zadok who said, “The future of Jewish missions is as bright as the light of Christ, and the conference encouraged us to continue with our call to reach out to our Jewish people” (David Zadok, HaGefen Publishing).
So you may be wondering about that bold statement in the beginning about how this conference will change the face of ministry among Jewish people. The results of this kind of networking can already be seen. Just one example is the partnership between Israel College of the Bible and Chosen People Ministries, through this partnership millions have heard the Gospel around the world and in Israel through cutting edge online video outreach. Many of these current and future partnerships will be behind the scenes. But there is no doubt amongst the members of the LCJE that this conference helps them refine their craft, learn from others, gain better tools and find ways to work together that are much better than working separately.
If you are called to share the Gospel with Jewish people then you can join the LCJE and learn from those leading the charge in Jewish evangelism. “The fellowship that exists here would not have existed in previous generations of Jewish believers” (Dr. Z Glaser). There is an opportunity and an open invitation for everyone to fellowship, learn and partner with others. So, although you may have missed the LCJE International Conference this year in Jerusalem, there is another regional conference coming your way way soon. You can learn more about the LCJE and even apply for membership on their website LCJE.net.
A final thought, at the LCJE we learned how God was working to reach younger generations in the USA, how Israelis are sharing the Gospel with soldiers, how different materials can be used in various languages to reach Jewish people, how Jewish populations are migrating creating new opportunities, how different people and organizations are developing creative ways to share the Gospel and much more. What we gained, more than knowledge was a sense of comradery and the knowledge that the body of Messiah is more united in sharing the Gospel with Jewish people now than it has been in the past. This unity is exemplified in the LCJE.