Netivah Ministry for Messianic Jews
God is working in Israel through two leaders in our Influencers Band of Brothers, Phil Hanlen and Ryan VanDeusen. Phil reminds us that God will work his will whether or not we’re on board so it’s best to get on board. Jesus Christ came to minister to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Israel is still relevant to God’s will today. Netivah (Path) Messianic Jews is an organization that God connected Phil and Ryan with on their recent trip to Israel. The vision is to get behind the hearts of the people that God is already working with in Israel. Phil and Ryan’s ministry is to bless young Israeli soldiers with the love of God through the Netivah organization.
Matan is the Netivah Soldiers’ Ministry coordinator and is a second generation Messianic Jew in Israel. He finished his tour of duty in the Iraeli military and has been called of God to show the soldiers that they need to be a light for the true God in Israel.
Isaac, another leader in the soldiers’ ministry was brought up in a Christian family in Israel. He finished his three year military service in the Israeli special service. Isaac was trained in England in a Bible college. He was called back to Israel to minister to young soldiers.
Joel Goldberg the Director of Netivah is a Messianic Jew. He traveled with Phil and Ryan in Israel for three weeks. Joel’s parents were Jewish Americans who moved to Israel to raise their children. Messianic Jews worship in a synagogue and live their lives for their Lord Jesus Christ. There are very few Messianic Jews in Israel. Israel is about a quarter of the size of the state of Washington. Only about 0.02% are Messianic Jews. Although there are many in Israel who profess Christianity, Messianic Jews believing in Christ is inconsistent theology for most Jews. Many Israelis believe that a Jew believing in Jesus is a heretic. When Joel was growing up, a national youth conference of Messianic Jews consisted of only 25 people. Most of these people are not walking with the Lord today because of lack of Christian support. It’s difficult for Messianic Jews to contend for their faith in a hostile environment. Thirty years later, God has called Joel back to this work to stand up for young Messianic Jews. This community is now growing and maturing in the Lord. From about 3000 when Phil was growing up, there are now about 15,000 Messianic Jews in Israel. As ministry’s like Joel’s “plant and water” God is giving the increase.
The purpose of Netivah’s ministry is Isaiah 43,: 16-21: Thus says the Lord who makes a way through the sea and a path (Netivah) through the waters. Behold I will do something new. Now it will spring forth. Are you not aware of it? I will make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert…. I have given waters in the wilderness. And waters in the desert to give drink to my chosen people and the people whom I formed for Myself will declare my praise.
God’s purpose is to restore his people to the land of Israel. Conflict always accompanies God’s mighty work in Israel. By the grace of God and reconciliation through faith, the Arab and Israeli Christians are finding unity in Christ. God has called Joel to serve in a land where there is need for the water of life for Jesus said, “I am the fountain of living waters.”
Joel studied for two years in western Oregon to train as a youth minister. This was his preparation to serve in Israel with youth and soldiers. Today Netivah ministries have 80 people on staff. They train and educate youth leaders and pastors in Israel. Loving Israel does not mean to be anti-Arab. God’s calling is to love those who are lost regardless of their tribe and nation of origin. As the scripture says, there is neither Jew nor Gentile, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female, but we are all one in the unity of Christ Jesus.
Military service is mandatory in Israel for both men and women. The Israeli military culture challenges young soldiers to contend for their faith. The military strives to make soldiers in their unit one unified force. In the midst of the secular military culture, It’s difficult for soldiers in Israel to walk independently as Christians. Netivah conducts a 10 day program to help young soldiers commit to their Christian Faith. Their theme is “choose ye this day whom you will serve…as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” Netivah’s challenge is to discipline soldiers in the Word of God to contend for their faith and to show their fellow soldiers that Jesus Christ is the Lord and that he is the Messiah prophesied in Isaiah. The training classes prepare young soldiers to stand and make biblical decisions when they confront ethical and moral dilemmas in the military.
Netivah’s ministry consists of youth conferences, prayer meetings, and training programs. One of their Arabic leaders’ wife Nevin was recently diagnosed with cancer. We are encouraged to keep her in prayer.
There are two important aspects of Netivah’s ministry to Israeli soldiers. The first is to be available to them for comfort, fellowship and support during their military service. The other aspect is to train and educate youth leaders to have a clear vision and calling to “commit that which they have heard of the Word of God to others who shall be able to teach others also.”
Phil Hanlen and Ryan Van Duesen are planning a trip this fall to minister to Israeli soldiers through Netivah. They will bless young Israeli soldiers with gifts and with the love of God on this journey and mission to which God has called them. The web address for Netivah is www.netivah.com. Please keep Netivah and the mission trip in your prayers.
May God richly bless you,
Your brother in Christ,