I am in the middle of reading one of the saddest books I have ever read, Good without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe. I am reading it for a couple of different reasons. The first reason is that I used it as a source on one of my Ph.D. seminar papers for Liberty University. The second reason, and the primary reason is the author is the chaplain of the Humanist Community at Harvard University and his name is Greg Epstein. Yes, he is a chaplain for atheists/humanists and he is Jewish.
It is sad because I am reading the tale of a man who is trying to find fulfillment in an empty existence; however, the real tragedy is that except for a few Jewish mission organizations there is very little outreach on college campuses to the Jewish students. There are an estimated 400,000 Jewish college students on American campuses and so the idea of a ripe and ready harvest field could not be more true … but what is being done to reach them with the Gospel message of Messiah Jesus!
Recently, Tzedakah Ministries sent out a letter to a test group of college ministries to see what type of response we might receive to our offer of assistance in equipping their students to share the Gospel of Messiah Jesus with the Jewish students on their college campus. I am including a copy of the letter with this post because I want you to know that as of now … no one has responded affirmatively to the letter, to the email and/or phone call follow-up. My only question is … WHY?
As a former college professor, I understand the pressures you face ministering to today’s college students. Christian students are faced with pressures to succumb to a religious correctness in which the exclusive message of Jesus rapidly is being considered as nothing more than a subtle form of hate speech. Pressures are vastly different than it even was 5 or 10 years ago.
Therefore, I recognize that Tzedakah Ministries is approaching you with an unusual proposition. For while on the surface Jewish evangelism and the college campus might seem disjointed, I would like you to consider that it could be the perfect place to begin to equip your students in the role of apologetics, missions, discipleship and the world. Let me explain.
First, the college campus today is filled with calls for divestment from Israel. Tzedakah Ministries would like to help your students understand the whole story which focuses on the political AND spiritual needs of the Jewish people. For 99% of the Jewish people living in the world today, including Jewish college students, do not know that Jesus is their Messiah (Romans 1:16). This is the crux of the story!
Second, Jewish organizations such as Jews for Judaism, Chabad and Hillel understand that the college age is when Jewish people are most open to the Gospel because they are allowed to consider Jesus without any outside pressure from family or their synagogue. Your students could and need to be prepared to know how to share this message with their friends, roommates and classmates.
Third, there is an apologetic advantage to exposing your campus ministry students to some difficult issues such as the Holocaust and answering and defending the truth of Jesus’ Messiahship. You know that so many Christian young people struggle with their walk when they arrive on campus. Tzedakah Ministries wants to help you to equip them with the answers while at the same time preparing them to evangelize the Jewish and Gentile student who sit on either side of them.
Therefore, I would like to ask you to consider how Tzedakah Ministries and ??? College can work together to not only reach the present and future Jewish people God places into your students’ lives but also to equip them for their own spiritual journey. Tzedakah Ministries is available from weekend retreats to college forums to even a public debate on the identity and Messiahship of Jesus or in whatever way your students might most receive help. Tzedakah Ministries looks forward to working with you. Shalom!