Shalom! Year end is an ideal time to reflect on the reason this Jewish ministry exists. Our purpose is to change lives through exploring the Jewish Heart of Christianity. Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, is the very heart of our faith! Our mission is to present our Lord and His messianic purpose for both Jews and Gentiles within an accurate biblical, historical, and culturally Jewish context.
Thank you for your support, continued commitment, love and friendship. We are especially grateful for your prayers on which this ministry thrives. Through your participation, prayers and gifts, Jewish people are challenged by the gospel, believers are trained and churches stirred by reconnecting with their Jewish roots. Throughout our sojourns around the U.S., both Jews and Gentiles are deciding for the Lord.
In the ancient and unlamented days of Windows 95 (remember them?), I had a ritual. Each year, I would devote a day to reformatting my computer and freshly reinstalling its software, thus improving performance and giving my computer a minty-fresh, clean start. Our lives have similar needs. Before I hit the big 5-0 in February 2015, I have reflected this year on goals, reconsidered strategy, consolidated schedule clutter and reformatted the ministry’s metaphorical hard drive. Consequently, this resulted in an invigorating 16th year as director of Sojourner Ministries!
Here are some highlights of the whirlwind year that was 2014:
- One of the most significant events of the past year was the home-going of my dear friend, ministry colleague, charter board member and mentor, Ruth Wardell. Ruth exemplified the best qualities of an entire generation of Jewish missionaries. For me, she was the connective glue that joined five generations of my family over a span of seven decades. In 1946, one of her first responsibilities as a missionary for the American Board of Missions to the Jews (ABMJ) was ministering to my great grandmother, Helen Koser. At ABMJ, she worked under, and later alongside my great aunt, missionary Hilda Koser. As a child, I knew Ruth as my aunt’s associate. As a seminary student, I knew her as an advisor and supporter. As Sojourner’s director, I knew her as friend, confidante and mentor. As a parent, I proudly watched her train my son in Hebrew, Bible and theology for his Bar Mitzvah. Her life and example strengthened and inspired five generations of my family. Truly, Ruth was the last of the “Red Hot Jewish Missionaries.”
- This summer, Christi Ana Birt joined Sojourner as Executive Assistant. She has proven a godsend and her professionalism, efficiency and creative insight rapidly became indispensable to Sojourner Ministries. She is an answer to prayer and an essential component in the expansion of our ministry’s outreach and effectiveness.
- In March/April, I traveled extensively throughout Texas, sharing with churches the potent powerhouse message that is Christ in the Passover. I also attended the Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism in snowy Chicago, along with dozens of other messianic ministry heads, leaders and missionaries. While I wasn’t keen on trudging through snow drifts, I did appreciate the opportunity to renew my relationships with old colleagues and like-minded friends. On that note, I had the privilege of sharing in a toasty “fireside chat” in Dallas with 25 key national messianic leaders regarding mutual cooperation and the future state of the messianic movement.
- 2014 provided the rare pleasure of baptizing two Jewish believers. One, a 90-year-old woman who came to faith through my Bible study; the other, a man who came to faith this year in the course of attending our messianic congregation. The first baptismal pool was heated, the second (in November’s frost) was not. One could say my baptisms this year ran both hot and cold!
- Our annual Christ in the Passover Seder in April was both memorable and meaningful. After 15 years, these well attended banquets continue to successfully impact lives with the Unleavened Messiah and introduce our ministry to a broad spectrum of believers and unbelievers, both Jews and Gentiles. We even had travelers join us from out of state. Mark your calendar to join us for an evening of deep spiritual impact on April 4, 2015. Please pray about sponsoring a table.
- In November, I traveled to the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) conference in San Diego. There, I participated in a messianic subgroup planning session for presenting academic papers at next year’s conference. I hope to deliver one of those papers in 2015.
- This was a year of inter-ministry cooperation, no common event in the messianic world. Sister ministry Jews for Jesus shared with us their sophisticated web module, How to Know God. Check it out at sojournerministries.com – you might get saved all over again! In addition, fellow messianic ministry CJFM commissioned me to record 39 episodes for their radio program, Messianic Perspectives. Have a listen! - http://www.sojournerministries.com/jews-views
- Regarding inter-ministry cooperation, Sojourner Ministries continues to underwrite my participation at messianic congregational plant, Beth Sar Shalom. This year saw an increased leadership role as I transitioned from teaching pastor to senior pastor. We continue to grow, spiritually and numerically, and have a healthy mix of Jewish and Gentile worshippers. One highlight is our quarterly Jewish Cultural Film Series which attracts visitors from the community.
- Lastly, I have huge and unprecedented news to announce, but for now I will need to keep you in suspense until the new year. Make sure we have your email address.
I invite you to join me in shining Messiah’s light on Jews and Gentiles and implore you to launch 2015 with a common dedication to exploring and imparting the Jewish heart of our faith. You can make no greater strategic financial resolution than to commence the new year with a renewed commitment to Jewish ministry (Rom. 1:16; 11:11; 15:27). Your financial support through monthly partnership or one-time gift, either by using the enclosed cards or by visiting our website, will have a critical impact.
You can also participate with us by purchasing essential teaching resources from our website for your home or church library. Our DVDs, CD set teaching how Jesus fulfilled God’s festivals, and Bible book commentaries have been produced with one goal in mind – to strengthen your relationship with our Lord.
It is a magnificent moment to be a believer in the Messiah and a bearer of divine light in the twilight of our times. Please pray that we continue to carry out God’s program in His will.
Rejoicing that the Light has come,
Steven Charles Ger