A Brief History of Jews for Jesus
Our name tells who we are, who we stand for and what we do. Everything is right up front! While we might have chosen a less controversial name, Jews for Jesus is the one that most quickly, easily and accurately lets people know who we are and what we are about.
Sometimes people ask us, "How long has Jews for Jesus been around?" We love that question because it gives us the chance to grin and say: "Since 32 A.D., give or take a year." The joke reminds people that a minority of Jewish people have always believed and proclaimed the gospel, and that we follow in that same tradition.
Actually, "Jews for Jesus" began as a slogan. In the late 1960s a moving of the Holy Spirit brought thousands of cause-oriented young people to faith in Jesus, many of whom were Jewish. As for our organization, Moishe Rosen officially founded Jews for Jesus in September of 1973. Rosen, a veteran missionary to the Jewish people, was the executive director of the mission for 23 years. He revolutionized evangelistic methods and materials with his creative approach to communicating the gospel, and we believe he is the foremost strategist and tactician in the field of Jewish evangelism. He still works with Jews for Jesus full-time and serves on our board of directors.
What We Do
We communicate creatively!
Jewish people tend to dismiss evangelistic methods and materials that are couched in Christian presuppositions and lingo, because they reinforce the assumption that Jesus is for "them" not "us." In order to get beyond that assumption, we have to be innovative in the following areas:
We write and illustrate hand-lettered pamphlets with plenty of humor in an informal, conversational tone. (We take God seriously but we try not to take ourselves too seriously.) We call these gospel tracts "broadsides" and our staff hand-delivers more than eight million of these "invitations to interact with the gospel" each year. We've animated a few of our broadsides (for instance, I Thought I Was an Olympic Superstar and Jesus Made Me Kosher.) We also publish quite a few evangelistic books, including testimonies of Jewish people who believe in Jesus (such as Jewish Doctors Meet the Great Physician), as well as books on prophecy (such as Future Hope). We also publish Issues, an eight-page evangelistic publication for Jewish seekers.
Campaigns are super-concentrated times of short-term outreach. We intensify an aspect of our regular missionary work-street witnessing-by sending our own staff and plenty of volunteers on sorties (tract passing expeditions) four times a day for two hours at a time. We usually conduct these campaigns during the summer months in New York City, Toronto, Paris, London, Moscow and various other cities throughout the former Soviet Union.
Music and Drama
We began creating Jewish gospel music and drama from the outset of our ministry as part of our street witnessing. Then we refined it so that it is also suitable to present in churches. These can be powerful evangelistic programs when Christians bring their unbelieving friends. For more information about having such a presentation, please go to this page.
Secular Media Outreach
We place full-page gospel proclamations as paid ads in leading newspapers and magazines such as Newsweek, Parade and The New York Times. We also broadcast evangelistic messages on billboards, in commuter trains, in bus transit shelters and on secular radio stations. Others have begun using some of these avenues to an extent, but Jews for Jesus has been on the cutting edge of making the messiahship of Jesus an unavoidable issue to Jewish people via the secular media.
We love to visit Jewish unbelievers who have indicated an interest in the gospel. We offer individual Bible instruction, usually in people's homes, but sometimes over the phone or even over the Internet. As some come to faith, we continue studying with them, providing discipleship lessons until the new Jewish believers are well grounded in a local congregation.
We have several web sites. One is for those who already believe in Jesus (the site you are on), while Jewish seekers find a rich and extensive resource at www.jewsforjesus.org. Regarding this second evangelistic site, many who may not be comfortable giving their address or phone number come to find out about Jesus at that web site. They ask questions and seek answers anonymously and within the privacy of their own homes. Many such people eventually become open to more personal contact with us, having examined the gospel at their leisure.
In addition we have a site that was created for our 30th anniversary as a ministry, at www.forjewsforjesus.org.
We also have an online bookstore at store.jewsforjesus.org, where we offer a large variety of books, music, videos, and other items.