Did you know that the greater Tel Aviv area is the largest and, demographically, the youngest metropolitan area in Israel with a population of 3.7 million people? In fact, the Jewish population of Israel is growing! And Tel Aviv is the financial and cultural hub of the country.
The character of Tel Aviv is distinct from that of Jerusalem. Tel Aviv is Israel’s most secular city, whereas Jerusalem is more religious. There are probably a dozen believing congregations scattered throughout the greater Tel Aviv area—averaging about 50 – 75 congregants.
The usual and more conservative estimate regarding the number of believers throughout the entire country is somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000 – less than 0.5% of the overall population. This marks the modern state of Israel as having one of the lowest numbers of Jesus followers in the world.
Naturally, Israel is of great importance to the work of Chosen People Ministries, as we are a mission to the Jewish people. Tel Aviv is, therefore, critical to our ministry, as it is the home of the largest population of Jewish people in the Holy Land.
The Greater Tel Aviv Project
We believe that the bright future of Gospel ministry within Israel is with the younger Hebrew-speaking population. This is why we have initiated the Greater Tel Aviv Project designed to reach younger Israelis and their families—the building blocks of Israel’s future—with the life-transforming message of Jesus.
Our focus in Tel Aviv will be on two suburbs that border the downtown area – Ramat Gan2 and Givatayim.3 These urban suburbs consist of families who work downtown, but cannot afford the high cost of living in the city. Over 300,000 people live, shop, and have their social life in these two communities.
At present there is, only one small congregation serving these two urban suburbs, making the need great. Our great interest in these two communities is also driven by the nature of both suburbs as growing communities with young families as well as an “old guard” of original settlers within Israel who have probably never heard the Gospel.
We have placed four missionary couples, all of whom are Israeli citizens, in these two suburbs, and they are already sharing the Gospel within the community. But, this is just the beginning! We are also ready to move forward as we have finally found a wonderful 1,600-square-foot commercial space in the midst of Ramat Gan to turn into an outreach center. We will offer Bible studies, public lectures, moms’ groups, children’s ministries, an outreach café and more through this center.
The ministry in the greater Tel Aviv area will be primarily focused on evangelism, discipleship, and congregational planting. We expect that the ministry will focus on younger people and their families, but we will also plan on working with middle-aged and older people—especially as we plant a congregation.
One of our goals during the next twelve months is to hire another staff evangelist—hopefully a young Israeli who is a graduate of Israel College of the Bible. If the plan goes well, we intend to hire a staff evangelist each year for the next three years to serve out of the Greater Tel Aviv Messianic Center and to also be involved in the congregational plant.
All of our missionaries in Israel currently raise their funding and, by God’s grace, the four couples and one single missionary already have the bulk of their support raised. It is difficult for them to continue raising additional support because they are in Israel, so we do our best to try and subsidize their shortfall.
I appreciate the opportunity to share my heart for my Jewish people and excitement for the Greater Tel Aviv Project. By God’s grace and faith we are going forward with this because we have no other choice—the days are dark, and we are growing closer and closer to the coming of the Lord.
We believe the Lord will provide for this work!
Our plan is to begin in the very place where it all began—in this instance Tel Aviv, as the Lord did tell His disciples to begin in Jerusalem and then to go to Judaea, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the world (Acts 1:8). The church has done a great job fulfilling this command, but now we need to return to the starting point of the Great Commission—to Israel itself—the very land where our Savior lived, died and rose from the grave…and the very place where He will return to reign as King!