Mission in Israel
Mission in Israel
Mission goal of EBF
Primary mission of the Christian Church is to go into all the world, preach the Gospel and make disciples (Matthew 28,19-20). The practical implementation of the Great Commission is church planting. EBF-supported indigenous missionaries are starting new churches and the Indigenous Mission Project is seeing significant fruit in changed lives and transformed communities.
The IMP was launched in April 2002 in Moldova as the response of the EBF to the needs of underprivileged nations which are open to the Gospel. Until now we have jointly supported over 130 church planters in 25 different nations of Europe, the Middle East & Central Asia.
Baptist Mission in Israel
The first call to do mission work around the world began in the Holy Land with Jesus commissioning his disciples to be witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth. Two thousand years later, and after the gospel has arrived to all corners of the world, there is a tiny number of faithful believers who still witness for Christ in the land where it all began.
The Association of Baptist Churches in Israel (ABC) takes seriously the charge of Jesus to be His witness in the Holy Land. The ABC was founded in 1965 when three Baptist Churches decided to form an association, and grew to 20 churches today with around 1000 believers and a community of 3000 people. The majority of churches are Arabic speaking and the others are English, Spanish and Filipino. They are located in Nazareth, Cana of Galilee, Rama, Haifa, Acre and others. There are also several church plants.
“We have been growing very fast in the last 10 years, therefore we have a great need to train pastors and leaders. Lately, a center for training leaders in ministry was established in Nazareth”, says Fuad Haddad, veteran Baptist leader and chairman of the Nazareth Evangelical theological Seminary.
The story of ABC multiplying in 10 years is amazing”, says Bader Mansour, an executive within the Association of Baptist Churches in Israel. “It is a story about a small minority of Christians in Israel, without lots of resources – but with a great zeal for sharing the gospel with others in the same exact locations where God become flesh and dwelt among us. We are witnessing a great blessing of many people coming to know Christ”.
Recently I had the privilege to visit a couple of church plants. One of them assembles about 30 people who meet on Friday night. The service was held in a temporary location which was a basement of a building. In the beginning of this meeting there was a lot of joyful singing with accompaniment of different instruments. Later readings of the Bible, prayers, testimonies and a sermon followed. After the service there was opportunity to talk to the present in the service people.
Most of them were young couples and some were quite recently married. There were also a good number of children. It seems that there is evident growth of this group in comparison to 3 years ago when the group met in a private home and now there are many more persons. There is positive atmosphere and one can expect further growth in future.
On a Sunday morning I participated in a service of another church plant. This is actually a project of revitalization. There was a church which had been planted about 30 years ago but it had to be closed. The present ministry was started 3 years ago. The service was attended by a group of about 20 people. Most of them were young adults and there were also two or three families. A middle age man led the worship, later the sermon was preached. The target group for this work is young adults.
After the service one young man who is church member told me that he had experienced threats for his life after his conversion to Christ and eventually he had to move away from his family who threatened him.
I also had splendid opportunity to meet the church planter, his wife and 3 little daughters over lunch. The church planter’s spouse is a calm and gentle person; it is evident that she supports her husband in his fruitful ministry.
1. Healthy growth of ABC churches in Israel, particularly for commitment and maturity of believers.
2. A new Baptist ministry was started in an area where is no evangelical testimony and the believers face persecution from the traditional churches.
3. The Baptists and Christians in Israel to be the salt and the light in the middle of the ongoing conflict in the Holy Land.
PS. Let me also share with our readers about the annual Incarnate Church Planters’ Gathering planned for March 20-22, 2012 in Derbyshire, England. It is a great opportunity to mix with a wide range of church planters, pioneers, overseers and those wondering if this could be their future.
For more info and registration visit:: www.incarnate-network.eu