Jewish and Arab believers will celebrate their common faith in Christ at the Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship (SBMF) meeting in conjunction with the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) annual meeting in Phoenix.
SBMF members and guests will convene Sunday, June 11 at First Arabic Baptist Church in Phoenix. A worship service at 11 a.m. will be followed by a potluck “oneg” (Hebrew for “delight“) meal and then a business meeting. The fellowship – which is comprised largely of Messianic Jews (Jews who follow Jesus as Messiah) – will gather around the theme “disciples making disciples who make disciples.”
Though media portrayals often depict conflict between Jews and Arabs, the meeting’s location at a church that offers worship in Arabic will highlight reasons for Christ-followers from both groups to partner in evangelism, said SBMF President Ric Worshill.
As Semitic peoples, Jews and Arabs both tend to be “left out of the evangelism process,” Worshill said, because typical gospel presentations are not tailored to their unique worldviews.
Jews and Arabs both “are trained from birth that Jesus is not the Savior,” and both groups “don’t see the Triune-ness of God,” Worshill said. Jewish and Arab believers, he noted, can work together at learning to refute those misconceptions from scripture.
The SBMF’s partnership with First Arabic Baptist stems from Worshill’s service with First Arabic pastor Jamal Bishara on the Multiethnic Advisory Council, which was appointed by SBC Executive Committee President Frank S. Page.
“That’s unique, that’s cool” when “Arabic Baptists and Jewish Baptists get together,” Worshill said.
The SBMF’s guest speaker will be Rob Styler, director of missions for CJF Ministries, formerly known as the Christian Jewish Foundation. Styler specializes in presenting first-person monologues from the perspective of biblical characters.
Among topics to be discussed during the SBMF business meeting are a potential change in the fellowship’s structure and new ways to partner with the Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism (LCJE), a global organization that develops strategies to reach Jewish people with the gospel.
SBMF is an organizational member of the LCJE.
As workers in the Many Faces of the SBC booth in the SBC exhibit hall, SBMF members will help believers of various ethnicities connect with ethnic fellowships.
“There are a lot of ethnic people [among] Southern Baptists that really need support and prayer and help,” Worshill said.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – David Roach is chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service.)