Thursday, October 17, 2019

Future Vision

Future Vision
by Donna Diorio

As I considered what to name this issue, the name of the ministry of our dearly departed brother, Marc Chopinsky, came to mind — Future Vision. That's what it is all about, isn't it? It is not just what we are doing today, it is the vision for the future that we are also carrying. It was not that long ago that I carried a piece from Eli Ben-Moshe (Chopinsky), Mark's son who is continuing on in the worship music legacy of his father.
Mark, who pioneered Messianic Worship Music with Paul Wilbur and Rene Bloch, founded his Future Vision recording studio in Israel twenty years ago. He wanted to help the Israeli Messianic worshippers make professional quality music. Eli caught the same vision and continues on with his Ashira production company in his dad's Future Vision studios.
I am seeing so much of this type of transition taking place among the congregations and ministries in Israel, and today there are even more beginning to transition into their own future visions. It is an encouraging sign when the international ministries in Israel also recognize that it is time to begin the transition of their Israeli work over to the local Israeli believers.
This week I was sent an announcement article from Elizabeth Eriksen Levy, CEO of the Caspari Center in Jerusalem, "What Does the Future Hold for Us?" When the Caspari Center was established nearly forty years ago, there were far fewer Messianic Jews in Israel than there are today. It was an outright missions work.

"Our organization was established in 1982 by foreigners desiring to support and build up the local body of believers. Since that time, our leadership and board have traditionally been foreigners. Watching the development of the local body for years, our leadership recognizes it’s time for some changes on our end.

"And so we have arrived at the momentous decision to slowly transition our model of governance to contain more local people. This is a big step, and one we do not undertake lightly. This new model will include a majority of locals on our board (4 out of 7 members will be local, with 3 foreign board members), and will be led by a local CEO. We will aim for this new model to be in place by 2021."

This is a critical recognition on their part. We saw
Sukkat Hallel recognize the same thing several years ago as they transitioned to more local believers leading in the 24/7 worship and prayer watches. It is so important for internationals to recognize the body of Messiah in Israel are the 'home team' so to speak. Internationals are in Israel on a visitor's pass, so the leadership of the spiritual house of Lord Yeshua in Israel, must also be Israelis.

I really appreciate how they expressed this, "We at the Caspari Center know how important it is for the local work to be locally run." It is so important that these kinds of transitions continue to take place.

The Caspari Center was an essential help to me almost twenty years ago when I began to try to find and connect with the ministries of Israel. A friend gave me a copy of
"Facts & Myths About the Messianic Congregations in Israel" and through that book I was able to take a giant leap forward in identifying the Messianic congregations and ministries of Israel. Right now they are in the process of surveying for an updated version of the book which will also give us our first real peek at how many Jewish believers are actually in the Land these days. We have estimates, but it will be great to get a credible number for where we are today.

When Israel became a state in 1948 there were only 29 confirmed Messianic believers in the whole land. In the 1980's and 90's many of the American Messianic congregational leaders began to immigrate and integrate into life as Israelis serving in established Messianic congregations, and then starting new works. By 2013 there were already 100 congregations, many more smaller fellowships and somewhere in the neighborhood of 18,000 Messianic Jewish believers in total in 2019. The number may be greater than that, but one thing we know for sure is that the number is increasing and Israelis have never been as open to hear the Gospel as they are today.

That's why it is so important that we also see so many of the ministries beginning to transition their pastoral leadership to the younger generation. The 'Baby Boomers' generation is making way for the next generation leadership. We have to leave a work that can continue on into the future even when we are gone on to glory, as David Davis at the
Carmel congregation did with Dani Sayeg, and Yeshi Reinhardt did with Yariv Goldman at Hands of Mercy.

At the Maoz Ministry, we have watched over many years now as the Sorko-Ram's completed the transitioning pastoral leadership at the Tel Aviv Tiferet Yeshua congregation. Now we are watching as they have begun transitioning the Maoz Ministry operations to daughter and son-in-law, Shani and Kobi Ferguson. Sometimes it is possible to transition to family members with the gifts for that organization leadership, sometimes the best people for the job are spiritual sons and daughters. Either way, it is important to prepare leaders able and anointed to step into leadership roles for the next generation of ministry in Israel.

Lately, Arrows has carried the reports of the transitioning that has been going on in the
Tikkun Ministry, as their three pioneering founders, Eitan Shishkoff, Dan Juster and Asher Intrater continue to release more and more of the congregational and ministry headships to those young people they have invested in for so many years...for such a time as this. This is a steady, paced and prepared for transitioning of leadership for the generation of Israelis who are coming to know the Lord today and tomorrow.

Personally, I believe this process is so important that I want to make is a focus of our ongoing prayer for all the ministries of Israel. It is vision for the future that we are seeing as ministries develop their young people to walk in greater roles of leadership.  Also when international ministries in Israel realize the time has come for them to transition to local leaders too, this tells us that we are entering a new era for the Gospel in Israel.

Now personally, I do not believe we are anywhere near the time when the Israeli ministries will not need the financial support of Christians in the nations. Israel is not like other nations where missions are established and then both leadership and finances withdrawn as the body continued to grow.

The reason for that is the multiplied intense spiritual warfare that exists to keep Israel from coming to the faith in Yeshua. We must recognize Israel is the last stand of spiritual warfare against Jesus is being waged with an all effort to keep "all Israel" from being saved. Why? Because Yeshua will not return to rule and reign until Israel says, Baruch Haba B'Shem Adonai - Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.

The Israeli body of Messiah is going to need our prayers and financial support to keep advancing the Kingdom of God in the Land of Israel — and not only ours, but many more in the international Christian community need to awaken to our connection to the believers in Israel and their significance to the return of the LORD to this earth.

Like the whole world seems to be doing at an accelerated rate, the body of Messiah in Israel is transitioning into the demands of a new era. All of these transitions and demands are going to need our prayers and finances to press through. God made it that way so we would come together as one new man in Messiah.

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