There are up to 200 words that are used in our churches every Sabbath that can be offensive to those of the Jewish faith, according to Ralph Ringer, director of Jewish Ministries for the North American Division. Some of those words include, “church,” and “Jesus the Christ.” Even the word “conversion,” triggers thoughts of the historic period when the Catholic Church forced Jews to convert to Christianity or face death. “Our churches are not ready to receive Jewish people,” says Ringer.
He began his work with Jewish-Ministries in 1995 in the Florida Conference. During that time, the Church in North America was losing 80-percent of Jews who were attending Adventist churches. Over the past 23 years, Ringer has led the the creation of Jewish-Adventist Congregations that have Adventist theology and Jewish worship styles. In those settings, the word “congregation,” replaces “church;” and “Messiah,” or “Yeshua” is used when referring to Jesus.
Ringer also highlighted the words of Ellen G. White, inspired prophetic author and co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, about how Jews will help spread the gospel.
“There are Jews everywhere, and to them the light of present truth is to be brought, that they may have an opportunity to accept it. There are among the Jews many who will come to the light, and who will proclaim the immutability of the law of God with wonderful power. The Lord God will work. He will do wonderful things in righteousness.” Manuscript Releases Volume 9, page 309
“You do not need to have Jewish background, but you need training to work with them,” says Ringer. His first recommendation is to visit shalomadventure.com, an online magazine that has attracted 200,000 Jews, has 48,000 regular visits, and 10,000 participants in its Bible Studies. There, pastors can obtain a comprehensive sense of the Jewish culture. It also serves as a bridge between the two faiths. “This has been the most successful thing we’ve done for reaching the Jews,” says Ringer.
Additional resources can be found at ShalomLC.org or JewishHeritage.net. Ringer also encourages pastors to contact him for further questions by either calling 407-257-6847 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mylon Medley is a news writer and producer for the North American Division