Education! Education! Education!

Education is one of the important pillars upon which societies stand or, at times, fall. From the very beginning, God emphasised to our people the importance of educating our children who are the future generations. The act of educating is to take place both in the home and in the community at large. The words of Moses in Deuteronomy 6:7 have been heard loud and clear throughout the generations: “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”

We need to teach our children and help them to understand the commands and the ways of the Lord, and to live according to them day in and day out. We know that right education has life transforming effects. Jewish history and survival teach us not only the sovereignty of God and his faithfulness to his promises, but also that education works.

In recent years churches and various organisations in Israel have played a more active role in the field of education both formally and informally. There are now Christian schools and various colleges that educate up to B.A. and M.A. standard. There are also discipleship programmes, children’s camps and activities for youth and soldiers. As the church in Israel has grown and continues to grow, the need for education and these kinds of activities increases. This is true for the Arab people as well as for Jews.

For this reason, in February 2009 the Israel Education Forum (IEF) was established by Jewish and Arab leaders. Mr. John Sode-Woodhead from Scotland, who lived in Israel for many years, is Executive Director and travels extensively to promote the forum. Through its vision the Forum is compelled by the Spirit of God to advance its mission in education and discipleship, with a view to transforming people’s lives by advancing the knowledge of God and the Good News of Jesus the Messiah.

Some thirty Christian and Messianic schools, higher education colleges and discipleship organisations are part of the IEF, amongst them Nazareth Baptist School, Jerusalem International Anglican School, Tabeetha Church of Scotland School, Makor Hatikva Messianic School, EMMS Nazareth School of Nursing, Israel College of the Bible, Nazareth Evangelical Theological Seminary, Galilee Bible College, Alliance Leadership Training Institute, Caspari Centre, Lech Lecha, Child Evangelism Fellowship, Fellowship of Christian Students (IFES), King’s Kids, Scripture Union and others.

The IEF exists to foster fellowship amongst the staff and board members of member organisations, to provide services to members, to enable members to work together on common projects, to share resources and to strategically expand the work of education and discipleship. The Forum and its members are primarily engaged in reaching out to the evangelical and Messianic communities in Israel. However, the vision of the Forum is to impact Israeli society as a whole and to provide a ministry, to the rest of the world based on Israel’s unique competencies.

I have had the privilege to be involved from the inception of the forum and to chair the discipleship section that fits well with HaGefen Publishing’s goal to support Israeli churches in their God-given task of evangelism and discipleship.

This article first appeared in the Summer 2010 edition of the Herald

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