Go! And make disciples.
- Take about 10 to 15 young people aged 19-27.
- Place them together for 3 months away from their normal environment.
- Throw in a good portion of Bible study, worship and prayer.
- Mix in some hiking around Biblical sites.
- Sprinkle liberally with opportunities to serve in different Congregations around Israel.
- Finally, teach them how to walk it all out and watch them flourish!
Welcome to Lech L'cha (where the 'ch' is pronounced with a guttural 'h' like in the Scottish word 'Loch'), a 3-month, residential, discipleship school for young Israeli followers of Yeshua (Jesus).
“Before coming on the program, I’d never choose to open the Bible on my own," shared one of the graduates, "I knew nothing about the Bible and I felt that I was being forced to believe in God at home. I thought I was okay. I came to Lech L'cha to understand why people believe. And I got it! God absolutely shocked me and it just caused me to want to know more, also God spoke to me here on many subjects”
Another graduate shared, “One of the most powerful things in Lech L'cha is hearing people’s testimonies, because it’s not coming from someone you don’t know that you read about on the internet, but it’s someone that you live your daily life with. You see that they live out what they say. That’s why the testimonies, especially of the staff, were so powerful for me, because I saw the change with my own eyes and I also heard how life was in the past, and now I can say that the same God that did miracles in the Bible, is the same God today. I know that God exists and because He is good to me, it was easier for me to put my life in His hands.”
“For me,” shared another, “it was an opportunity to come and lay aside your cares and worries, and dedicate these 3 months to God.”
Earlier this year, Amanda and Karen from Your People My People were invited to join some of the staff and volunteers for lunch at their modest headquarters in central Israel. Most of the volunteers were graduates of the last program, who elected to stay on another 3 months to help run the next program. They were in the middle of preparing the house and grounds for the arrival of the new students that following week. The group was passionate about the vision of Lech L’cha and the way God had used this program to bring them closer to Him. It was a joy to see how enthusiastic and dedicated they were about volunteering their time to serve the next group.
During the program, 150 hours are spent in the classroom learning from different teachers, including Messianic Jewish and Arab Christian Israelis, and other International Christian leaders. Studies include: understanding the genres of the Bible; evangelism; our identity in Messiah; detailed focus on specific books of the Bible; personal spiritual development etc. Students also have to complete two personal Scripture study projects and these challenge them to grow in studying and understanding God and His word.
Of course, living in the Land of the Bible provides a great opportunity to visit the geographical locations of Biblical events and the program involves various hikes around Israel to bring history to life. At the end of the three months there is an opportunity to join an outreach to another country.
Lech L’cha’s aim is: “...to encourage the lifestyle of a disciple: setting aside time for worship, prayer, systematic Bible reading, quiet time, evangelism, volunteer work and service, and simply seeking the Lord for daily guidance. Through this we aim to help our participants develop and practice spiritual disciplines in their daily walk with the Lord, and to equip them for further growth, service and leadership.”
The program does not belong to any particular denomination, but works in cooperation alongside the local Israeli congregations.
The name of this ministry, is Hebrew for the command “Go forth!” God said “Lech L’cha” when he commanded Abraham to leave his home and go to Canaan (Gen. 12:1), and again when He asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac (Gen. 22:2). This also reminds us of the words of Jesus to His disciples, when he said: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…” (Matt. 28:19). “Lech L’cha” is Jesus’ commission to us all, to go and make disciples.
“For a long time I was searching to understand what I believe in and what I say I believe,” shared Shirel, one of the past students, “and that is why I decided to come to Lech L’cha, because here there are a lot of lessons that teach you and also give you tools to study by yourself later and I also found here a new family.
“Its a life-changing experience. A wonderful time to fellowship with God and with different people, with the Body of Christ in Israel. Its really a amazing time!”
How it all began...As the number of believers in Israel has grown, so has the need for training and discipleship among the young adults. Lech L'cha works hand in hand with the local congregations to do just that. The vision for Lech L’cha was sown in the hearts of some young Israeli believers back in 1989 when they saw the need for a programme similar to the Bible school one of them had been attending in England - an intentional period of discipleship, engaging in studying God’s Word, fellowship, and evangelism in Hebrew.
It took some time but a way was made for the first discipleship program at the beginning of 2001. "God spoke and called us to step out in faith: like the priests who were called to step out into the River Jordan as they carried the ark of the covenant, and only upon dipping their feet in the edge of the water did God cause the waters to stand and rise up so that the priests stood firm on dry ground as the people crossed over (Josh. 3). As we stepped out in faith, God fanned the flame, doors were opened, pastors offered their assistance and the help of their congregations, and teachers volunteered to give of their time to teach," Yohanan Stanfield - Founder
This first group of 3 participants and 2 counsellors travelled together throughout the land of Israel following the Biblical events, and learning God’s Word over 3 months. They had no home base, used public transportation to get around, and debated whether the next course should include girls. Since then things have changed a lot! Girls not only attend the program but are also on the staff team. They have a base where the students are housed and 2 schools are run each year, with other programmes developed alongside to serve the young believers across the country.
help them shineMake disciples in Israel - help young people take part in Lech L’cha.
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