Messianics affirm 5 congregational leaders
SAN ANTONIO (BP)--Jay Fielding grew up in New York in Conservative Judaism. He went to Hebrew school, studied the Torah and learned most of the stories of the Old Testament.
But as he grew older, Fielding said, "There seemed to be one thing missing. It was really about what I did and doing spiritual things, rather than having a relationship with the Lord."
When he was 28, Fielding finally came to understand the truth of Christianity and gave his life to Jesus Christ.
"At that time I felt this incredible release of the sins in my life," he said. "I didn't totally understand it, but I fell to the floor crying. I felt like I had been truly forgiven."
Fielding, who now serves as messianic rabbi and founder of Congregation Beth Chaim in Marietta, Ga., was one of five men ordained to the gospel ministry June 9 by the Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship at the group's annual meeting in San Antonio.
In addition to the ordination, the group held a worship service and heard speakers address the topics of prophecy and evangelism to Jewish people during the two-day meeting.
It was the first time for the group to hold such an ordination service. Ric Worshill, the group's president, said the fellowship was essentially functioning as a local association does in the ordination process. Churches requested that the fellowship assist them in holding an ordination service for their respective ministers. He said many representatives of the individual congregations were present at the ordination, and that members of the Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship would travel to each of the churches for those who were ordained to do an installation service.
"When one of our local churches ordains a minister, they call the rest of us ministers in to do the questioning and sign the ordination certificate," Worshill said. "We're doing the same kind of thing as a local association."
Others who were ordained were Hal Garrett of First Baptist Church in Hardy, Ark.; Mike Saffle of Shalom Adonai Messianic Baptist Fellowship in Wichita, Kan.; Ken Alpren of Kol Dodi Messianic Congregation in Nashville, Tenn.; and Jay Isbell of Beth El Shaddai Messianic Synagogue in Bessemer, Ala.
Larry Kindrick, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Hardy, Ark., preached one of the two messages as part of the ordination service.
"The church must be the body of Christ on earth today, and we must support and pray for those He has called," Kindrick said. "We can ordain all the men we want, but without the Holy Spirit, we are losing too many battles."
Earlier in the day, Aslam Masih of the North American Mission Board addressed the group about how they can better reach Jewish people with the Gospel. Masih is a national church planting missionary for Middle Eastern and southern Asian people groups.
Masih pointed out that the United States has the largest number of people groups in the world and that success in winning the lost at home translates into reaching the world for Christ -– because those people will take the message to friends and family in their native lands.
The Jewish population in the United States numbers than 6 million, Masih said, and there are only 15 Messianic Southern Baptist churches.
"The task you have is a God-sized task," Masih said.
Masih told the Messianic fellowship they must reproduce and plant more churches if they are to reach North America. He encouraged them to connect with state conventions and local associations to raise awareness for the needs of the Jewish communities. And he emphasized the importance of conducting training programs so churches can equip new leaders and church planters.
"We are called not only to win people to Christ, but to disciple them and build His church," Masih said. "Churches are planted so that every person in every community has a church that is pursuing them to make them a disciple of Christ and to teach them to obey everything He has commanded."
Jack Kinsella, author, editor and publisher of the "Omega Letter," addressed the group about prophecy and how Jewish people fit into God's plans. Kinsella said the study of Bible prophecy is important because it is "the signature of God."
He reminded the fellowship that everyone has an eternal destiny -– either in heaven with Christ or in hell.
"God is not done with Israel," Kinsella said. "Our obligation to Israel is to bring as many people as we can to the knowledge of who their Messiah is before the anti-Christ shows up to deceive them."