Messianics' priority: partnerships for evangelism

COLUMBUS, Ohio (BP) -- Strengthening partnerships within and outside the Southern Baptist Convention to evangelize Jewish people will be among the topics discussed at the Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship meeting June 14 in conjunction with the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Columbus, Ohio.

In lieu of the traditional two-day SBMF gathering, members and guests will convene at 1 p.m. Sunday, June 14, for a lunch meeting at a local restaurant to be announced. The fellowship has modified its typical meeting schedule because a significant number of officers and other members cannot make the trip to Columbus.

The meeting will include a business session as well as a season of prayer.

Messianic Jews (Jews who follow Jesus as Messiah) are "probably one of the smallest groups of evangelists there is," SBMF President Ric Worshill said. "The trick is to get together and work together -- not to build up our individual churches and not to bring people into our fellowship, but to build up the Kingdom."

Within the SBC, the SBMF hopes to continue partnerships with other ethnic fellowships. Longtime cooperative relationships have been strengthened through Worshill's service on SBC Executive Committee President Frank S. Page's Multi-Ethnic Advisory Council.

"For years our group has worked with the National African American Fellowship," Worshill said. "We've worked with the Hispanic fellowships. We've worked with the Korean fellowship. We've worked with several of the different groups. ... Together it makes more manpower on the street to do evangelism."

Outside the SBC, the SBMF partners with other Messianic groups involved in the Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism, a global organization that develops strategies to reach Jewish people with the Gospel. Worshill attended the LCJE's North America annual conference April 20-22 and will report on it to the SBMF.

The SBMF is not able to fully fund church plants, Worshill said. However, it helps connect those who want to support Jewish evangelism with individual Messianic congregations that need financial backing. Two new works in Alaska and three in Toronto and upstate New York are particularly in need of resources, he said.

Both at the lunch meeting and as workers in the Cooperative Program booth in the SBC exhibit hall, SBMF members will promote CP, Southern Baptists' unified method of funding missions and ministries in North America and around the world.

"People have to be more understanding that the Cooperative Program needs help so that we can get more congregations out there started so we can reach the hearts and minds of more people," Worshill said.

For more information about the 2015 SBMF meeting or to find out more about the SBMF, visit

David Roach is chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention's news service.
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