‘Go forth’ – a unique discipleship approach for Israeli believers

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(Photo courtesy Lech L'cha)

If you enjoy reading the Bible while traveling throughout Israel, raise your hand! This is exactly what the organization Lech L’cha does on its discipleship programs for young Israeli believers.

With a passion for teaching the young in both age and faith in Yeshua, Alon Grimberg and Yochanan Stanfield established Lech L’cha, which means “go forth”, the very words God spoke to Abraham (Gen. 12:1). The organization has various training programs “for life and service” for young Israeli believers interested in deepening their study of the scriptures, academically and spiritually, providing guidelines for a healthy, faith-based lifestyle of serving the Lord.

Lech L'cha Discipleship Program
Lech L’cha Discipleship Program

What is Lech L’cha?

In the late 1980s, a young Israeli man studying at a Bible college in England, wrote to his friend back in Israel.

“We need a similar program in our small country – in our own language and that fits who we are,” he wrote. Twelve years later Lech L’cha fulfilled that vision, hosting its first group of students in March 2001.

The founders of Lech L’cha define the program as training for life and service and offer four program tracks.

The basic discipleship program includes a three-month study of scriptures, combined with trips around Israel, volunteering and meeting and fellowshipping with other Messianic believers. Learning takes place in a classroom setting but also alone, because the goal of the program is to provide personal learning habits in preparation for walking out one’s faith.

This program was developed to provide the framework and the space for young Messianic believers to get closer to God and to deepen their consciousness and knowledge of the scriptures. As part of this program, participants also learn about living together in a group, the nature of the service and volunteering and, above all, the importance of solitude with God and his Word.

“Young people are challenged to let God work deeply in their hearts. It is a time of spiritual journey experiences and lessons change lives,” the website says of this specific program. It is open for students ages 19 to 27.

The first graduating class consisted of three participants and two staff members. Now the program has grown so much that there are two graduates’ groups per year, instead of one.

Another program, Shaliach (envoy) to Africa, sends delegations to East African countries. Shaliach includes learning and volunteering overseas, mainly in Uganda and Ethiopia. The motto of the program is from Isaiah 66:19: “They will proclaim my glory among the nations.” Its purpose is to help local congregations in spreading the gospel as well as volunteering, visiting schools, communities, orphanages and more.

Uganda “Shaliach” Outreach Program
Uganda “Shaliach” Outreach Program

Naturally, Lech L’cha felt compelled to include a special preparatory program for military service. Netzor (guard), in cooperation with Netivah Center, is a nine-day course aiming to prepare young Messianic believers who are facing the challenges of military service. It emphasizes spiritual and mental preparation. As part of Netzor, participants meet Messianic soldiers on active duty and get the chance to hear their testimonies and receive guidance for dealing with difficulties that may arise during military service.

Netzor Pre-Army Program
Netzor Pre-Army Program

In addition to these three programs, two more were added in 2016. Hetzim (arrows) is a new six-week program which prepares recruits to the IDF, and is also run in cooperation with Netivah. Young Israelis who are about to be drafted in the IDF, strengthen their walk with the Lord and develop their skills in teamwork and leadership.

Held for the first time in 2016, Hetzim was packed with tours, volunteering, study of scripture, lessons in history and geography, lectures, workshops on apologetics and leadership development activities, and more. The first group had 19 participants, some of whom indicated that this was a great opportunity to learn new things and to better prepare for military service.

Since learning volunteerism and giving to society is a great part of Lech L’cha’s vision, the organization launched a new opportunity of ministry in 2016, Ten (give). Within the Give program, students are offered the choice to continue for three to four weeks serving in various settings of Messianic organizations and congregations in Israel and participate in various voluntary activities in society.

The Vision: “Go and make disciples” 

“Make disciples who make disciples who make disciples,” is Grimberg and Stanfield’s main vision.

As stated on the website:

We wish to train young Israeli believers toward a life of faith and service, whether they are called to serve as part of Messianic framework or not, when Yeshua is the center of all our actions.

Click here for more information on Lech L’cha.

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Rachel (Rachely) Scapa, studied journalism at the Open University TLV under Yedioth Aharonoth's journalist Dudi Goldman. Rachel served as news correspondent for various radio stations abroad, including BBC 3 Counties and Voice of America, both in English and Portuguese, giving the best reports from Israel. Currently she has two radio shows - one in Portuguese, which she has had for more than 13 years, presenting News from Israel and the ME. In the other, in Hebrew, she presents Brazilian music, on an Israeli radio station. Rachely is also a columnist for a Christian newspaper in Brazil, distributed over the triple border between Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.