'Back to Jerusalem' takes the Gospel back to where it all began

'Back to Jerusalem' takes the Gospel back to where it all began

By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

JERUSALEM , ISRAEL (ANS) -- In an attempt to inspire and empower the local church in Israel and the Palestinian Authority to reach out to their own people groups, a conference was held last weekend in Jerusalem under the title "Back to Jerusalem."

The conference was organized and sponsored by Life Agape, the local ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC). It is the first stage in the "Back to Jerusalem" Campaign.

According to Rajai Samawi, the project leader, quoted on the website www.Comeandsee.com: "The goal of the project is to empower the participants to be ready for the outreach week that will follow the conference, where the locals and the International guests will have the opportunity to minister to people in different parts of Israel, using Sports, Music and Drama -- together with personal visits."

The website reports the theme of the campaign and its title "Back to Jerusalem" aims to bring back the Gospel to the place it all began on Pentecost day 2,000 years ago and from there to reach the outskirts of the earth.

Dr. Joel Hunter speaking in Jerusalem.

The site says local Christians and international members gathered together in the Holy Land Hotel in East Jerusalem, and studied about the great commission. The conference included sermons from Rev. Dr. Joel Hunter, pastor of Northland mega-church in Orlando, Florida. He preached about equipping the church for the great commission, sending the church, planting churches and how to be a witness to Christ.

According to the site, this was Dr. Hunter's first visit to the Holy Land. In a special interview for Come and See, Pastor Hunter mentioned that he has been praying about this opportunity to come to Israel for some time and it has been an answer to prayer.

Dr. Hunter said he never wanted to come as tourist, but was looking for an opportunity to minister in the Holy Land. He said that he many invitations to speak at conferences this summer, but declined them all. He also said that he has been praying about an opportunity to engage with the church in the Middle East, and this invitation seemed to be the right thing and that he was happy he came. He shared that the Lord gave him a heart to reach out to the Arabic people, as he has been involved in Christian-Moslem Dialogue in recent years.

Comeandsee.com says the worship at the conference was led by the Keynote musicians from Indianapolis.

It also reports that the CCC Vice president for Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia shared about the ownership of the Great Commission.

The conference included workshops and seminars in preparation of the actual outreach in the week after the conference.

As a preparation for the outreach week, CCC published ads on local web sites and in local newspapers asking those who would like to receive a copy of the Holy Bible or a visit to call a toll-free phone and leave their name. Local churches, together with the team from abroad, were responsible to conduct the house visits.

In a few instances in the Nazareth area, some of the street banners were vandalized, Comeandsee reported.

The "Blue sky nine" Christian team conducted Christian outreach concerts for youth with Rock and hip-hop music in different locations in the north, the site said.

The outreach teams were scheduled to return to Jerusalem after the end of the campaign for conclusion of the "Back to Jerusalem" effort, for a celebration and symbolic 'sending out' of the teams from abroad to reach the outskirts of earth.

** Michael Ireland, Chief Correspondent of ANS, is an international British freelance journalist who was formerly a reporter with a London newspaper and has been a frequent contributor to UCB Europe, a British Christian radio station. Michael's involvement with ASSIST News Service is a sponsored ministry department -- Michael Ireland Media Missionary (MIMM) -- of ACT International at: Artists in Christian Testimony (ACT) International.