ST.LOUIS (BP) — The Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship’s partnership with the Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism remains valuable in reaching Jewish people across the globe.
Amy Downey, a member of the SBMF, described the purpose of the LCJE, an international conference that began in 1983 and has met every three to four years.
“The LCJE functions as a network for Jewish organizations to work and come together for the common goal of Jewish evangelism,” said Downey, who leads one such group, Tzedakah Ministries, based in Waxahachie, Texas.
“We do not exercise oversight over each other but provide encouragement and facilitate with each other on new resources and ideas,” Downey said. “I have developed friendships from Great Britain, South Africa, Israel to San Francisco that are invaluable to me on a spiritual, personal and emotional level.”
The Lausanne network is placing a special emphasis on involving younger people as each attendee is encouraged to bring someone younger with them to the next LCJE gathering in Denmark next May to learn how to reach the Jewish community.
“Many of the leading voices for Jewish evangelism are Boomers. I myself am a Buster (at age 46) and so it is time for the Millennial generation of Jewish evangelists to not consider themselves the voice of the future but the voice of today,” Downey said.
“It is also time for the Boomers and the Busters to allow the Millennials to lead,” she said. “Millennials have ideas that are sometimes perceived as ‘scary’ or new, but so did the Boomers in the 1970s — and Jewish evangelism not only survived but also thrived.”
Age is not the only obstacle in ministry, Downey said. Jewish people often need more time to receive the Gospel than people of other religious backgrounds. An elderly woman was presented the Gospel by Downey along with several other people, but it took the woman over a year to accept Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior.
“Jewish evangelism can be a lonely field as it often involves months and even years of work to see the salvation of even one soul. This is often difficult to explain or for others to understand, and so the loneliness is a real and tangible issue,” Downey said.
Downey said she plans to bring someone younger to the LCJE sessions in Denmark and is hopeful that more young people will step up into leadership roles and make an impact on the Jewish community for Christ.
Jewish people often face skepticism that can put up a barrier before any ministry occurs. Downey recounted one interaction when a believer claimed that the Jewish people had already had their chance and that ministering to them was futile. While the sentiment is not widespread, anti-Semitism is still a problem even among believers.
The LCJE is important to combating anti-Semitic thought, Downey said, by being a place where people can learn more about the Jewish culture and the best way to share the Gospel.