Messianics to focus on reaching Jews
HOUSTON (BP) -- Even though the apostle Paul wrote of his heart's longing for all Israel to be saved, there is precious little outreach to the Jewish community, says Ric Worshill, a Messianic Jew (a Jew who follows Jesus as Messiah) and a North American Mission Board police and disaster relief chaplain.
"The actual effort to share the Gospel with [Jews] is not as prevalent as it should be, so we're trying to encourage the local church to be more involved in sharing the Gospel with Jewish people in a way that they'll understand," said Worshill, a Messianic rabbi.
As part of that effort, the Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship (SBMF) will meet June 7-8 in Houston to focus on discipleship and evangelism.
"It's all about the fact that people are perishing and we need to be more vigilant," Worshill said.
The meeting will be held at the Beth Yeshua HaMashiach Messianic Jewish Synagogue, which meets at the Sharpstown Baptist Church building. The fellowship's sessions will start at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 7, and conclude at 10 p.m. Saturday.
Worship will be led by the Beth Yeshua Worship Team. Worshill will be speaking on Friday night followed by Jim R. Sibley the next morning. Sibley, a cofounder of SBMF and the Pasche Institute of Jewish Studies in Dallas, served as an International Mission Board representative in Israel for nearly 14 years with his wife Kathy.
Saturday afternoon, pastor/rabbi John Denson will address the fellowship. A church planter with the Baptist State Convention of Michigan, Denson serves as the SBMF's regional director for the Midwest, helping Messianic church planters and missionaries. He is also cofounder of Shalom Ministry, an African American-led ministry to the Jewish people.
Senior rabbi Jim Pratt of Beth Yeshua HaMashiach will lead a Havdalah service to usher in a new week. Pratt, who has served as Beth Yeshua's senior rabbi the past seven years, also is active in evangelism and prison ministry. He will be followed by Boaz Michael, founder of First Fruits of Zion Ministries and author of “Tent of David - Healing the Vision of the Messianic Gentile.”
Worshill wants Southern Baptists to know that the SBMF can connect them with teachers who can train congregations how to conduct Passover Seders and teach them about biblical feasts, which he says prophetically point to Jesus. The teachers also can train churches to share the Gospel with Jews in an effective manner.
"Because I come from a Jewish background, I didn't understand church-ese," Worshill said. "I didn't understand the language that is spoken in the church. And I also, like most Jews, didn't believe that the New Testament was a Holy Scripture. So we teach the local church how to use the Old Testament -- the prophecies, the writings, the stories, the Hebraic eschatology in the Old Testament -- to show Jewish people who Yeshua is, who the Jewish Messiah is: Jesus."
For more information about the 2013 SBMF meeting or to find out more about the SBMF, visit Messianic fellowship.
John Evans is a writer based in Houston. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).