Messianics to seek partners in Jewish evangelism

ST. LOUIS (BP) -- Strengthening partnerships with other groups focused on Jewish evangelism will be among the emphases at the Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship meeting June 15 in conjunction with the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in St. Louis.

In lieu of the traditional two-day SBMF gathering, members and guests will convene Wednesday, June 15, immediately following the convention's morning session for a lunch meeting at a local restaurant to be announced. The fellowship -- which is comprised largely of Messianic Jews (Jews who follow Jesus as Messiah) -- has modified its typical meeting schedule because a significant number of members will be celebrating the Jewish festival of Shavuot (Pentecost) the weekend before the SBC, and others will be on mission trips.

The meeting will include discussions of reaching Jews from the millennial and younger generations for Christ as well as strategies for making Southern Baptists aware that the SBMF can help them share the Gospel with Jews.

Yet organizational partnerships will be the main focus.

The SBMF does "not have assets in every city," fellowship president Ric Worshill said. "So when someone calls us from one of those cities, we [want] to be able, rather than sending someone from a state away, to refer somebody from one of the other [messianic] organizations to them."

Many of the SBMF's messianic partners are groups involved in the Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism, a global organization that develops strategies to reach Jewish people with the Gospel. Worshill attended LCJE's North America annual conference in the Dallas area Feb. 22-24 and will report on it to the fellowship.

The SBMF is an organizational member of the LCJE.

Southern Baptists need to become more aware, Worshill said, of the need to plant messianic congregations among Jewish populations. He cited Minneapolis as an example of a city with a significant Jewish population and not enough messianic congregations.

If church planters could come "to know [the SBMF] exists and get their [sponsoring] pastors to know," Worshill said, "maybe their pastors would be more interested in being sending or supporting churches [for missionaries] to the Jewish community either locally or wherever it's needed."

As workers in the Cooperative Program booth in the SBC exhibit hall, SBMF members will promote Southern Baptists' unified method for funding missions and ministries in North America and abroad. They also will request prayer for their witnessing efforts and ask churches to join them in the work of sharing the Good News about Jesus with Jews.

"We need Jewish evangelists who are in the churches to join us so that we can help them," Worshill said.

David Roach is chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention's news service. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists' concerns nationally and globally.
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