The Value of Networking
By Kathi Graham
North American Director, Caspari Center for Biblical and Jewish Studies
Jesus said, "Feed my lambs." (John 21:15). The time spent at LCJE in Helsinki was a time of feeding for me: an opportunity to feed my mind and soul with new ideas and vision for the ministry; time for refreshment and renewal with like-minded people; glorious worship and praise; and challenges laid out for the future.
The topics sharpened my thinking. The regional reports clearly demonstrated the Holy Spirit going before to open hearts in Russia, Germany, Israel, United States, or Finland. It was good to hear the reports from those serving God so patiently and obediently.
My mind was stimulated by Oskar Skarsaune, Richard Harvey, Risto Santala, and those who presented Isaiah 53 in a way I had not previously considered. I could name others, such as, Stan Telchin, who introduced concepts that refined my thinking and fostered interesting discussion over lunch and dinner. I thank God for the time they spent preparing their papers and to LCJE for producing each topic in printed form for further review, reflection, and potential action.
Who will ever forget our new friend Nicolayson and his enormous dedication to Jewish evangelism as brought to us each night by Kai Kjær-Hansen?
Home and family values are strongly held in Judaism. Along with community and God, family has traditionally been a value enabling the Jewish people to survive throughout their turbulent history. The idea of reaching the youth and children to pass along the truth of scripture was reflected through many speakers who addressed the strategic importance of the next generation of believers in Jesus. It was vital to learn about concerns for and within Generation "J", ponder Jewish identity issues and the influence of new age philosophies.
The value of networking is an obvious outcome of an international consultation such as LCJE. For me as a first time participant and in my new role as North American Director of the Caspari Center for Biblical and Jewish Studies, it was extremely critical. I had the opportunity to renew acquaintances with people I have known and served with in various settings. LCJE also provided the opportunity to meet and learn from new friends and colleagues. Visiting over meals and informal talking times provided insight into many new ministry forums.
The free exchange of ideas allowed insights into the variety of cultures represented-a very vital outcome for the global church in a world that is constantly shrinking and in which communication is becoming more rapid and impersonal through the increased use of email. At LCJE as well as other international conferences, God shows how He works through His children in all parts of the world to accomplish His amazing plan of salvation. As noted by many at the consultation we need to make an effort to ensure representation from those in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. It is in these areas that the church is growing most rapidly. He uses the gifts He has given to each of us to fulfill His mission on earth – to bring His good news of salvation through the death and resurrection of the Messiah to every tribe and nation.
Since the Caspari Center office in the United States was opened less than a year ago, I had not had the opportunity to meet many of the people related to the broad-based outreach of the Caspari Center. On a very personal level, I was excited to witness the strong and solid reputation of Caspari and grateful for the contributions made by so many people connected to the Caspari Center over its 21-year history in Jerusalem.
The singing, prayer and Bible study continue to play and replay in my mind as a beautiful video. The sound of a roomful of believers singing psalms of praise in Hebrew filled me. Thank you David, Lisa, and Ann.
LCJE in Helsinki has concluded. I was stimulated and challenged to seek God's will for me and for our ministry to "keep our eyes on Him" in faith and obedience.
I am grateful to those who planned and produced this memorable LCJE. Thank you for your love for the Jewish people and for helping those working in the field of Jewish evangelism to be more focused and effective.