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Messianics to discuss church planting plans

ORLANDO, Fla. (BP)–The Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship, now recognized as an official ethnic and language ministry of the North American Mission Board, will gather in Orlando, Fla., to discuss plans for church planting among Jewish populations in the United States.

The fellowship’s annual meeting will begin with a Shabbat service on Friday, June 11, at 7 p.m. in Salon 1 and 2 on the second floor of the Rosen Centre Hotel. The group also will have a booth in the exhibit hall during the June 15-16 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention.

“This year is the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship, and we’re excited about being able to come together again and celebrate this anniversary,” Mike Saffle, the fellowship’s president, said.

On Saturday, the group will hear from Bruce Mills, a founding deacon at Jerusalem Baptist Church in Israel, and H.B. London of Focus on the Family. The day’s worship and teaching sessions, with the theme “Knowing the Plan,” based on Jeremiah 29:11, will begin at 9 a.m.

A business meeting will commence Saturday at 7 p.m. in Salon 1 and 2, and Davidic dance training will be available from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday in Salon 22 on the second floor of the Rosen Centre.

The fellowship will be led in worship by Zemer Levav, a Messianic music group of several family members who together are recording artists. The group uses ancient biblical instruments, including the harp, lyre, flute and hand drums. Mills will update the group on life in Jerusalem, and London will speak from his experience as a nurturer of spiritual leaders.

This year marks the second time the Messianics have had a booth in the SBC exhibit hall, and this year it is sponsored by the North American Mission Board. Their presence at the booth, the group says, is one of the most successful ways they have been able to partner with Southern Baptist churches for strategic outreach to Jewish people.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to get together with our brothers and sisters in the SBC and talk about our ministry and our outreach to Jewish people,” Saffle told Baptist Press. “We’re excited about what the Lord is doing, growing the number of congregations. We’re working with missionaries around the world to help reach Jewish people for Christ.”

Ric Worshill, vice president of the fellowship, said Messianic ministers are meeting more frequently to discuss with NAMB a process for Messianic church planting and evangelism. For instance, in March, 16 people gathered in Indianapolis at the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana to network and dialogue about Jewish evangelism in the state.

“SBMF is on the move,” Worshill said, noting several new church plants in the past few years.

Saffle said that at the Orlando meeting they’ll discuss some of the effective ways they’ve found to reach Jews, and a representative from the International Mission Board who currently is serving in Israel will speak to the group.

“I think it’s going to be a great time,” Saffle said.

People who plan to attend the event should send an e-mail to [email protected] to assist the organizers in preparations. For more information, visit sbmessianic.net.
Erin Roach is a Baptist Press staff writer.

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