We are inspired by multiple youth and young adult ministries throughout Israel. They have adapted and intentionally stepped up to meet the ever-changing needs of young people in their country. But before we tell you a little bit about these groundbreaking organizations, meet the ones they serve.
Young Adults in Israel
Just imagine. Many of today’s young adults in Israel finished high school online. They never got a traditional graduation with their peers. Then, they had to begin their mandatory army service. But because of the restrictions, they were not able to visit home often.
Their entire world would have changed anyway, while joining the army. But the pandemic just made it more uncomfortable and unnatural. Statistics show that many young adults from believing homes struggle with or even abandon their faith. Now, it is like someone completely stole their normal lives.
Over the last two years, young Israelis started to build up resilience and grit. And at a time like this, more than ever they need mentors and wise leaders. Who will show them the way?
Military Service and a Journey of Self-Discovery
The mandatory military service in Israel is often a time when young Israelis have to figure out who they are and what they believe. This service plays a significant role in shaping the identity of the Israeli people.
Unsurprisingly, upon completing their army service, many of these young men and women pack their bags and go on what one may call a journey of self-discovery. This is a vulnerable time also, if not more so, for believers.
Every young person should be grounded in community with a strong support system to help them navigate the challenges and social pressures.
“Only the living can praise you as I do today. Each generation tells of your faithfulness to the next.” Isaiah 38:19
Who is Discipling Young Israelis?
We are grateful for the ministries that focus on this precious age group in Israel. They do so with strong conviction and ample grace. Their approach is to intentionally invest in the youth and young adults throughout this vulnerable season of their lives.
These ministries provide support, mentoring, friendship, community, prayer and solid instruction from the Word of God. From pre-military spiritual training and conferences to small group discipleship and team-building activities – they seek to build them up from the inside out.
One of them is Netivah, which consistently facilitates activities and opportunities to reach young Israelis. They offer teaching seminars, host national conferences, and regional youth events. And they also engage in activities such as hiking and camping to build relationships with these young adults.
Another ministry that effectively reaches young adults in Israel is Lech L’cha. They lead a 3-month discipleship school to equip young Israeli believers for their future. They keep Jesus at the center of all they do while meeting the needs of this young generation.
Paving a Path for Young Generations of Israel
The vision of Netivah (hebr. Path) is to see young men and women in Israel come to a saving knowledge of Yeshua the Messiah.
“We achieve this by helping equip, strengthen and support the maturing Messianic and Christian community in Israel,” said Yoel Goldberg, director of Netivah. “Our mission is to challenge the congregations and increase awareness about the importance of youth work and ministry to soldiers.”
The leadership staff and volunteer team at Netivah represent various congregations and demographics. But their heart and vision is aligned towards a common goal: To strategically reach Jewish and Arab youth and young adults in Israel during their formative years.
Their ministry focus always seeks to maintain a strong connection to local congregations. The team consistently encourages the young Israelis to invest in their local community.
“We pray that the seeds of the Gospel and encouragement that we give to soldiers will grow in good healthy soil,” added Goldberg.
Israeli Young Adults Get Equipped for Ministry
Another ministry that has been very effective in reaching Israeli young adults is Lech L’cha – Hebrew for “Go forth!”. Those were the words God spoke to Abraham when He commanded Abraham to leave his home and go to Canaan (Gen. 12:1).
Fundamentally, the heart of Lech L’cha is to help young believers get equipped for service in their local congregations. Lech L’cha disciples the young Israelis according to the giftings God has given them and help them grow in leadership skills.
The ministry is able to do that through a program that takes place twice a year, during the Fall and the Spring semesters. For a period of three months students live on campus and explore the land of Israel together.
Partnering with local Israeli congregations, the school seeks to make disciples who make disciples who make disciples. They develop healthy spiritual disciplines, engage in study projects in the classroom, but also get a chance to participate in evangelism and outreach.
These words can be linked with the commandment Jesus gave His disciples, saying: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…” (Matt. 28:19). This commission is the driving force behind the work of Lech L’cha.
Restrictions, Limitations, and Overcoming
As for many other ministries around the world, the upheaval of 2020, which continues to this day, has greatly affected the programs of Netivah and Lech L’cha. Nevertheless, when the pandemic started, the ministries knew they had to adjust and adapt.
Netivah reshaped their pre-military preparation program. In a new format, following the necessary health and safety protocols, they continue discipling young adults. Unrelenting, they decided to move forward with their summer programs, which was split into smaller groups.
Their activities are designed to help young people develop supporting relationships that will carry them through military and beyond.
Lech L’cha decided to continue their 3-month discipleship school, also taking necessary precautions. These days, their efforts to care for spiritual formation of young Israelis after the military seem more important than ever. Prayer, worship, and in-depth teaching helps them find their balance after serving in the army.
Invest in Discipleship of the Young Generation of Israelis
We have so much respect for these ministries! We have seen these leaders sacrifice and strategize, with sincere hearts, to serve young adults in Israel. They are living out the Great Commission to “go and make disciples” (Matthew 28).
This article originally appeared on FIRM, January 7, 2022, and reposted with permission.