In November, I had the privilege of speaking at Dr. Jack Hayford's annual pastoral leadership conference. Jack Hayford is a preacher with great depth and balance. If you have heard his story, then you know that even though he had no intention of leading a mega church, God established one under his leadership.
This church, Church on the Way, was built on a model of integrity at every level. They have established clear lines of moral, financial and organizational accountability (Church on the Way is part of The Four Square Gospel Church denomination). They have also been a support to the unity of the Church in their area. A few years ago, when most men are thinking about retirement, Jack resigned from his church to begin The Kings College and Seminary. He turned his church of 10,000 over to his son in-law and the church continued to grow. Tragically, his son in-law died of a brain aneurism. A new pastor, Jim Tolle, was set in as the new congregational leader. Since then, the church has continued to grow to well over 15,000 and Jack is still part of this community. In the last year, Jack, at the age of 72, was chosen to be the president of the Four Square Church denomination. May God grant us all like vision, health and energy in our 8th decade!
A Joyful Surprise
I was greatly honored to be invited to attend King's College's leadership conference but circumstances were such that it was going to be difficult for me to leave Israel; still, I had a strong sense that I was to be part of this conference and so I went. I really did not know what to expect when I came to California, but I was amazed at the opportunity to be able to bring two messages to Jack's leadership gathering. To my surprise, I found out that Jack had dedicated his whole conference to the subject of Israel and the Messianic Jewish restoration. I have personally been in the Messianic Jewish ministry for almost 35 years and never, to my knowledge, has a denominational leader given his whole leadership conference to the subject of Israel and Messianic Jews.
The response to my speaking was encouraging. The preaching by every participant was excellent. We heard from Don Finto of Belmont Church in Tennessee, Robert Morris of Gateway Church in Dallas, Jim Tolle the pastor of Church on the Way, Robert Stearns of Eagles Wings, and Benny Hinn. Yes, Benny Hinn!
Now, I must admit to having a bit of prejudice concerning things I had observed some years ago with Benny Hinn. But Benny gave a message on the cross and death to self all within the context of the salvation of Israel, which was amazing. The witness of the Spirit in my own spirit was profound. As a result of Jack Hayford's godly example and mentoring, Benny Hinn became convicted, by the Holy Spirit, of the wrong kind of showmanship and deeply repented publicly. Benny also came against the self-centeredness and greed of some of the prosperity teachers and noted that in the past even he himself had been caught up in this. His demonstration of humility magnified the power of his message and many remarkable miracles of healing followed.
A Prophetic Foreshadowing?
My own perception is that this conference was not just another good event, but something of a breakthrough in the spiritual realm. I hope that it will be a sort of "first of its kind" that will be followed by "many others of the same kind." I believe that Jack has the wisdom and anointing to move his whole denomination into right alignment with Israel and the Messianic Movement. His messages showed real depth of theology, perception, and passion. Please join me in praying for protection on his life and great success in his endeavors.
The Challenge of Messianic Jewish Ministry
Through just one organization last year, Christians gave over 60 million dollars to Jewish organizations. Some of this money was even distributed to persecutors of Messianic Jews. Millions more were raised by Christians for other similar organizations. Yet, fruitful Messianic Jewish ministries stuggle with financial needs. Messianic Jews spend much time and energy raising support to just make it, and it does divert them from the work on the ground. Partnering with Messianic Jews in the Land has intrinsic value and allows for others from all over the Church world to share in the rewards of the Jewish harvest.
It is still the day of small beginnings. The Bible School we are working on here in Jerusalem is just one case in point. Yet, if whole denominations and streams give themselves to establishing the saved remnant of Israel (Messianic Jews) and make this emphasis one of their core values, then this would change dramatically.
I was blessed to be able to make contacts with quality leaders at this conference. Yet, convincing one leader or church at a time will never allow us to see the last days Church rightly aligned with Israel and committed to the quality of prayer and giving that will be needed. This will only take place through apostolic leaders and prophets, and through denominational leaders. I believe this is the implication of Romans 11:14 where Paul gives charge to all believers to be connected to the salvation of Israel. A small percentage of mission funds from churches and a large commitment to intensive prayer will bring a new day in Jewish work. Our Toward Jerusalem Council II project will soon be launching efforts toward this end.
In closing I would like to extend a hearty thanks to Jack Hayford for perceiving the strategic importance of Israel and the Messianic Jews, for taking a real risk, and for again being on the cutting edge.
|Let us know what you think - why not comment to this article. The authors of these articles are often involved in intense ministry and are thus unable to respond to most comments. As is normal with print and online magazines, Tikkun reserves the right to publish only those comments we feel are edifying in tone and content.|
Also in this issue of the newsletter:
|Marty Shoub: Who Is My Neighbor?|
|Eitan Shishkoff: Gentile Kings & Jewish Prophets|
|Asher Intrater: Strategic Giving And Apostolic Ministry|
|David Shishkoff: Fall 2006 Discipleship Report|