An Israeli School of Revival?
September 2000 by Asher Intrater
In some ways there is already a revival going on in Israel. It is not a revival toward faith in Yeshua (Jesus), but rather a turning of thousands of secular Jews in Israel toward ultra orthodox Judaism. In August 2000 an ultra orthodox "evangelistic" rally was held in the 22,000 seat Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem.
There are many sociological and spiritual factors concerning this teshuvah (repentance) movement, but I would like to touch upon just one of them. The primary magnet or machinery of this revival movement is not the synagogues nor the street outreaches, nor the media blitz. It is, however, in the yeshivas.
The yeshiva is roughly the equivalent of what we would call a Bible college. There are both full time and part time yeshivas, both live in and off campus yeshivas. When a secular person is invited to consider ultra-orthodoxy, he is invited to attend a class at a yeshiva. When a person decides he wants to "convert" or "come back" to ultra- orthodoxy, he often enrolls full time in a yeshiva. The yeshiva students themselves are the ones who go out en masse as grass roots evangelists to convince others to join the fold.
It is those three activities, (1.)
A place to invite new people, (2.) A place to absorb new "converts" in a structured
program, and (3.) The marshaling of students as grass root evangelists that
are very relevant to a strategy of evangelism and revival toward Yeshua in modern
Outreach and Invitation
This is also true because of the language factor. Most theology and evangelistic strategies are being transferred and mentally translated from the west. However, in Israel that means translating words back into a language where the concepts originated. That is a complex matter. Since Israelis are native-born Hebrew speakers, much evangelistic and theological dialogue has been effective. A classroom type environment may be needed to deal with even the simplest issues of new covenant faith when dealing with native-born Israelis.
Absorption and Discipleship
If we are going to succeed at stabilizing new believers, we are going to need a program of this sort. I am reminded of programs for drug addicts, such as Teen Challenge, who know they need to provide a full service structure for the newly delivered person to survive.
This is also true because of deep-seated historical rejection of Yeshua within the Jewish community. It is somewhat like deciding to become a Christian in Mecca.
Grass Roots Evangelists
We will need to equip, send out and support these new local evangelists. How can this be done? Again I think of the orthodox yeshivas, and how that could be similar to an Israeli school of revival and evangelism.
The new evangelists will need to have regular times of instruction and teaching. That obviously can be done through a school. There will need to be a strategy for coordination and supervision. This can also be done through a school. There will be a need for channeling prayer and financial support. This can also be done through scholarship, work study, and field work programs.
Revival and Evangelism