Last winter we made a bold decision: to take a group of Israelis from our congregation in Tel Aviv to observe first hand mature congregations that are growing at breathtaking speed because of their strong evangelistic outreach, preaching that draws their people into God's presence, organizational wisdom, and a vision to promote long-lasting relationships among their members.
We chose to start our journey with New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado for the following reasons: Their Purpose is "to know, worship and obey God according to the scriptures." Their Vision is "to raise up people who know, worship and obey God according to the scriptures." Their Mission is "to promote healthy relationships through small groups which empower people for ministry."
NLC’s incredible growth (now over 10,000) has sprung forth through an innovative type of small group which Pastor Ted Haggard calls "Free Market Small Groups." In a sentence, he encourages his members to start home groups through some common interest - whether it is a study of the Book of Ephesians, a cooking class or a get-together of single mothers who discuss their challenges and needs. The focus or theme can be a thousand different subjects, but the goal is to integrate precious human beings into a relationship with God and into the congregation.
This issue of the Maoz Israel Report gives the story of our 2-week odyssey this summer with 24 members of Congregation Tiferet Yeshua.
Ari & Shira Sorko-Ram
Multiplication through Small Group study trip: Through the Eyes of an Israeli
The beginning of our trip began for me when we landed in New York and had 40 minutes to get through all the lines board our flight to Colorado. The last three in line were Shirel, Omer and myself. As Shirel gave her passport to U.S. immigration, they told her that the name on her airline ticket and and on her passport were not the same. (The airline agent had put the first name of another of our group on her ticket, rather than her name.) When Shirel wasn't allowed to enter the terminal, Omer stayed with her and I ran ahead to tell the others. They, however, were already on the plane, so I went back to see what was happening with Shirel and Omer, but they had disappeared. I ran back to get on the plane but the plane had taken off.
I began to get nervous. The little English I knew had taken off with the flight to Colorado and I found myself trying to speak with the workers there in Hebrew.
Then suddenly, to my relief, I saw a couple from our group, Serge and Naama, who had also missed the flight. We scheduled a flight for the next day and looked for Shirel and Omer but couldn't find them. When we arrived at the hotel which the airline gave us, we found Shirel and Omer there. So the Lord gave us an extra bonus of being able to tour a bit of downtown New York - a treat that none of us were expecting.
The next morning we flew to Colorado and Karen Duncan from New Life Church was at the airport to meet us. She picked us up and served our every need in the most gracious manner. I was surprised later on to find out that she held such a high post and that she is director of pastoral care for all the women at New Life Church. I thought to myself, how is it that such a high-ranking person has time to serve a group from Israel? I think that through her, I better understand what Yeshua meant when he told His disciples that the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven must be a servant to all.
We spent hours discussing and praying over the implementation
of small groups in our Tel Aviv congregation
In Colorado we learned many things, but the main subject was small groups, namely; what they are, how to start them and everything concerning leadership in small groups. The main focus was on love and communication between people in a small group. I grasped hold of the importance of people who come to the congregation being able to find close friends with whom they can spend time during the week. I know from my own experience that friendship with other believers (and seekers) really causes personal growth in Messiah.
Our time in Colorado was great. Our group got to know each other better and we spent time together in worship, in prayer and in conversation, where each of us expressed our ideas on the subject of small groups and how to implement them in Israel, and how to expand our own congregation.
It was hard for me to leave Colorado, especially because of the excellent and loving treatment that we received from the people of New Life Church. They were so loving and took care of our every need. They were great role models for us!
After a week in Colorado we flew to Dallas, Texas, to Christ for the Nations. It is a very big campus, which includes Bible schools and student dormitories. There I understood what Ari meant when he said that we need to be an influence in our neighborhood - only at Christ for the Nations they not only influenced the neighborhood, they bought it up and built it into a Bible school.
When we arrived we met Shira's mother, Mom Lindsay, and her brother Dennis, who is president of the school. Mom Lindsay told us how she and her husband Gordon started the school from nothing and how it has become what it is today. After the tour, which included historic pictures of Shira's family, we were shown where we would be staying.
Charles and Dianne Gyurko serve us up a 4th of July feast!
I was in a group with five other men who stayed at the home of a wonderful couple named Charles and Dianne Gyurko. They are an elderly couple that have a giant calling from the Lord in Japan. They opened their home to us and served us in an extraordinary manner. We were wanting for nothing; Charles was always checking to see if we had enough milk in the refrigerator and if we needed anything. He was always waiting for us, early in the morning, when we left and late at night when we returned. That couple was always blessing us. They asked about our lives so that they could support us in prayer. I saw in them how much God loves us as He poured it out through Charles and Dianne.
In CFNI we learned about youth leadership and participated in a youth conference. We saw there how many young people are hungry to hear the Word of God even when the sermon lasted two and a half hours! I felt that those young people were willing to stay till the next morning as the youth pastor taught us how to keep Satan out of our thoughts and lives and, with the help of the Holy Spirit to live in victory. We were also given a very valuable lesson in advanced sound for our music team by CFNI's sound expert.
The next day we spent a number of hours learning how to create human drama for the congregation and for street evangelism. Another tool in our arsenal for the Kingdom! We were also interviewed by Marcus and Joni Lamb on the Daystar television channel and all of us gave our testimonies and told them about our congregation in Tel Aviv.
All the congregations that we visited received us wonderfully. We, of course were interested in their activities with small groups and with children and youth. I was especially impressed with the sheer number of volunteers that exists in each of the congregations and I understood that without dedicated volunteers, those big congregations could never exist.
Just now, sitting here in Tel Aviv and writing about the wonderful experience that we had in the United States, I realize that God is taking our congregation like a seed, caring for it and watering it and filling it through good people, like Karen and Mom Lindsay and Charles and Dianne, like the Maoz team that is simply doing holy work, and like many other people that have invested their time and money in our congregation. I believe that the day will soon come when we will start bearing a great harvest of fruit, good fruit and plenty, which will affect our vision of salvation - when our relatives and loved ones will be saved. Then as it is written; all Israel will be saved.
Translated from Hebrew. We are using only first names in this issue in order to avoid harassment from ultra-Orthodox activist groups.
Through the Eyes of an
Israeli Arab Pastor
It is really amazing to me to write about my experience with the Maoz group at the recent trip to Colorado Springs. First the three days conference at New Life Church were awesome. I was revived by the messages which I heard from senior pastor, Ted Haggard, especially the last message about being shut in with the Lord in the mountains through fasting and prayer.
Secondly, The "free market" small groups workshop with pastor Ted Whaley of New Life were very exciting. I learned a lot on how to win souls through shared interests. I am planning to apply this wonderful method in the Lebanese church which I pastor in Israel, especially among the youth. A special thanks for Tami, Pastor Ted's secretary, for her readiness to serve us in everything that we needed.
Ari prays with Joseph Haddad
The session with New Life's worship leader, Pastor Ross Parsley left a huge impact on me. I learned a lot concerning worship in the session we spent with him. He was very simple in his teaching, yet at the same time very profound.
I would like to thank God for Pastor Karen Duncan. From the first moment we landed in Colorado she became a loving and caring mother to all of the Maoz group. She demonstrated a wonderful spirit of servanthood before us. She is a extraordianary organizer.
In fact, she knew what we needed before we even asked. Inviting us to have dinner at her home was a wonderful experience. We felt that heaven came down to earth as we were Jews, Arabs and Gentiles all as one in Messiah. I had the privilege to pray and bless her and her home in Arabic.
Visiting the Messianic cong. "Shearit Israel" in Colorado Springs was a wonderful experience. As an Arab pastor, I enjoyed every moment of being with my Jewish brethren. People were literally crying as Ari and I hugged each other as Jew and Arab, representing the one new man in Christ. I also had the privilege to pray and bless this Messianic congregation in the name of Yeshua in Arabic.
Finally I would like to express my gratitude to Maoz for allowing me to be a part of this wonderful trip. I would like to thank all the donors who gave generously to make this dream become true. Only eternity will reveal how much your giving to make this trip possible made an impact on the body of Messiah - both Jews and Arabs - in Israel.
I truly returned to my homeland with a life-changing experience.
~ Pastor Joseph Haddad
* To bless Pastor Joseph and his congregation, you may make donations to him through Maoz. Simply mark your gift "Joseph Haddad" or "Arab congregation." He will received 100% of funds designated for him.
As Israeli Messianic Jews, the trip was a great opportunity to see up close a few things which, up until the trip were just words in a book.
Firstly - Congregational management: We were moved to jealousy by their competence in delegation, the seriousness and proficiency of the co-pastors, the ushers, the lecturers, the youth leaders, the section leaders and the group leaders. Their management over the masses of weekly volunteers and the thousands of participants in the weekly assemblies was inspiring.
Secondly - Large congregation advantages: We saw that a large congregation gives a wider variety of activities for members. From witnessing trips worldwide, to 24/7 prayer centers and permanent, organized activities for children and youth. Perhaps more than anything else, a large congregation impacts its environment!
Thirdly and perhaps most important - understanding the potential of small groups: Besides being a great channel for congregational growth, small groups also allow for simple people to express their talents and therefore feel like they are more than just part of a working machine.
Finally we would like to express our gratitude to Ari & Shira for their initiative and efforts to bring about such a trip and for their faith in us, giving us faith in ourselves.
~ Serge and Naama
On this trip, God expanded my vision for what can happen here in Israel. I believe now that the body of Messiah here can grow to be a significant force in the land.
Believers don't have to be isolated - just a few in a community - but many, with schools and kindergartens and many places for believers to be together.
All that I heard and received in this entire trip can be summarized in this verse - Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. My heart's desire is to draw near to God.
Our first impression of America was "big"; big towns, big roads, big cars, big meals and big churches. But more than just seeing big we saw a place where people are not afraid to believe, dream and to think big. This opened our eyes towards a bigger horizon and gave us a wider perspective on things. We saw that there are things that we still have to learn. These are practical things like organization and order but also aspects like servanthood and commitment to your congregation. We believe that apart from making us stronger as a group and meeting lots of new incredible people who each had something special to give, this trip has given us a clearer sight of our vision: that all of Israel will be saved!
We have seen that our congregation has a strong and healthy foundation and now it is our job with the power and mercy of God to make changes and improvements that fits our congregation. Like it is written in Thessalonians 5:21 "test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good".
~ Gil and Veronica
JOURNEY OF A LIFETIME
November 8 18, 2004 ISRAEL TOUR
with Eilat/Petra Extension
Hosted by Ray and Christy Wilkerson
MAOZ ISRAEL MINISTRIES
CALL US TODAY TO RESERVE YOUR SPACE: 1-800-856-7060
- Round trip airfare from Chicago to Tel Aviv
- 6 nights accommodations at Deluxe hotels—2 nights in Galilee, 4 nights in Jerusalem
- Israeli style buffet breakfast and dinner daily
- Tour of Maoz Israel Ministries headquarters, plus meet some of our Israeli leaders and staff
- Evening with Tanya and Jewels of Israel collection
- Touring by private motor coach with services of a government licensed English speaking guide
- Entrance fees on touring days
- Boat cruise on the Sea of Galilee
- Cable car to the top of Massada
- Hotel taxes and service charges
- Transfers on arrival and departure
- Porters at airport and hotels
- Airport departure taxes
Package does not include:
- Personal travel insurance coverage
- Tips to guide and driver
$2,199 per person in double room including departure taxes
For single room, please add $298
- Extension to Eilat with Petra: $498 per person in double room
- Extension to Eilat only: $468 per person in double room
To register, please contact Christy Wilkerson at Maoz Israel Ministries: 800-856-7060.
A deposit of $250 per person is required at the time of registration, and the final balance must be paid 60 days prior to departure (September 8, 2004)
Hotels: twin bedded rooms with private facilities at First Class and Deluxe hotels.
Passport: to travel to Israel, you must be in possession of a valid passport. Citizens of some nations may require a visa.
Cancellation: Cancellations received up to 60 days prior to departure have a penalty of $200 per person…cancellations received from 59 to 45 days prior to departure have a penalty of $350 per person plus the non-refundable amount by the airlines…cancellations received from 44 to 30 days prior to departure have a penalty of $550 per person plus the nonrefundable amount by the airlines…cancellations received from 29 to 14 days prior to departure have the penalty of $1,000 per person. There are no refunds for cancellations received 14 days or less prior to departure. Insurance coverage is highly recommended.
Responsibility: Eworld of Travel acts only as agents for the various companies supplying the services of this tour and shall not be in any way liable for injury; damage; loss; death; accident; delay or irregularity to any person or property.
Dear Maoz Partner,
There is no doubt that this month our Tel Aviv congregation, Tiferet Yeshua, is making a quantum leap towards multiplication. As we said, we will have a total of 20 Life Groups (this description has a good ring to it in Hebrew!) in our growing congregation. Our members are participating, dreaming, praying and acting as never before.
The fire that we prayed and believed for - by taking 24 members to the U.S. - has fallen and is spreading. Our people realize that a spirit of servanthood with the goal of building loving relationships with believers will strengthen the Body of Messiah, draw non-believers and bring unprecedented growth to the congregation.
Growth means more opportunity. And so we present this opportunity to you!
Our children's department and youth department are longing for more materials and equipment. More growth means many new volunteers and more dedication from the volunteers we already have. But at the same time, we will be taking on new staff - to start with, a worship leader and a youth leader that can devote at least part time to working in the congregation.
Each month, we are seeing more of our members moving into God's bountiful blessings where they are prospering and paying tithes and offerings. Yet, because we have you, our partners from nations such as the U.S., Canada and Great Britain, our congregation is able to move ahead at an unprecedented pace that would be impossible without you.
Your gifts enable us to engage in active evangelism in our city, to send our young people to national conferences, to hold men's retreats and women's retreats, and to build a sound studio to record our music in Hebrew so that believers throughout the land can listen to worship in Hebrew and our Life Groups will have music to praise the Lord with.
In the name of all the members of Tiferet Yeshua, we want to thank you for participating in the salvation of the people of Tel Aviv and to walk beside us as we, along with believers throughout the land, believe, pray and work for the salvation of all Israel!
All Israel shall be saved!
Ari & Shira Sorko-Ram