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Reaching Israel and the Jewish people
Strategies for effective online outreach
There is a high level of Internet usage among Jewish people, as you might expect for a well-educated, threatened and often scattered grouping who need to keep in touch with each other and their roots. The Internet is therefore a key medium to share the Good News about Yeshua with them.
However, to use the Web for this purpose, we must understand how it is different from other mediums. Literature, for instance, is a ‘push’ medium. We give a piece of literature to someone as gracefully as we can, and they may read it or throw it away. But at least it is in their hands. The Internet is a pull medium – in general people only find webpages on subjects they are searching for. Because most online people are not searching for information about the Good News, they will never find pages about Yeshua, however well-written that material may be.
Sadly, the position is even worse than this! Most Messianic pages have been written primarily for Messianic believers. And even if these sites attempt to explain that Yeshua is Mashiach, that is only of interest to religious Jews. Secular Jews have no interest in any religious viewpoint, be it Orthodox or Messianic. And to any Jew, the concept of becoming Messianic is seen as changing religion, even though of course this is not the case. The idea is about as welcome as suggesting a gender-reassignment operation.
StrategiesWe therefore need to develop specific strategies in order to reach G-d’s people:
- It is important to understand the process by which people become believers.
The Gray Matrix is a remarkable tool which shows us that
a pre-requisite to learning more about Yeshua is the need to reduce antagonism to the Good News.
It follows that anything which can reduce such antagonism is as important and as evangelistic
as direct preaching.
- It is hard to write material suitable for two different readerships – Messianic believers
and other Jews. It is almost always best to create pages which are written purely for
non-Messianic Jews, and identifies with their needs and concerns.
- A key part of any outreach is the answer to the question – “What’s in it for me?” In
other words, testimonies of believers that clearly demonstrate:
- knowing Yeshua as Mashiach and friend actually makes a difference in their lives on a day-to-day basis, that He is meeting personal inner needs.
- they remain totally Jewish and as committed to the welfare of the People and the Land as before.
- The ‘Bridge Strategy’ is a foundational strategy for effective web evangelism. Is is simply this: that we produce webpages on secular subjects that people ARE searching for, and then lead across from these with integrity to other pages which:
What can Bridge Strategy pages be about?Almost anything! If it interests people, write about it. There are thousands of potential subjects: Jewish history, genealogy, cooking, tourism, family, hobbies, archeology. There could be biographies of famous Jews. Pages which help Russian-speaking Jews (or those speaking other languages) to learn English or Hebrew and integrate into Israeli life. There is big need for material which helps with any life problem or relationship issue in a Jewish context.
The Holocaust is a subject of widespread interest that we can write about sensitively. This can include factual history, stories of survivors, and also explain the role of Righteous Gentiles such as Corrie ten Boom. When I was in Warsaw recently, I honored the memory of those from the Ghetto by visiting the site, walking around its borders, and praying at the memorial. The Warsaw Ghetto story, for instance, could be used as a Bridge Strategy page.
A congregation’s website can also use a range of similar strategies. As well as being written to be accessible to non-believers, a congregation page should offer a section to explain the Good News. Testimonies of members can enhance the site.
If you do not have the resources or time to write your own detailed explanation of the Good News, you can link to an existing outreach site such as Jews for Jesus or Shalom that you are comfortable with.
Which languages?It is important to remember the needs of those who are not fluent in English, particularly Russian-speakers. Hebrew-language pages will demonstrate a close identification with Israel and communicate in the heart language of many. There are still people who appreciate reading the Web in Yiddish. Ideally, an outreach website should be multi-lingual.
The potentialIf Adonai is calling you to share the Good News online, you have an adventure ahead! This detailed resource guide and twice-monthly newsletter is here to help you.
Please note that because the rest of this site has been also written for Gentile believers, standard evangelical terms are used on most pages.
Gentile believers can certainly be involved in such outreach, but would be very wise to receive training and input from Messianic believers in understanding effective and sensitive communication.