Arab and Jewish Pastors can't stop meeting together!
Back in 2014, Israel College of the Bible (ICB) began a Masters program specifically dedicated to senior pastors. The participants, who came equally from both Jewish and Arab backgrounds, including a Palestinian brother who joined from Bethlehem, studied together about pastoral ministry and theology. The students enjoyed each other so much and such great friendships were formed that even after graduation, the Pastors wanted to continue meeting together.
“There have been several informal reunions after the studies are over,” shared ICB, “and we have also arranged a tailor-made conference each year for these experienced pastors to continue the learning and mutual encouragement that began in the program.”
This year’s conference took place in the coastal town of Hadera. Thirty Arab and Jewish pastors (literally half and half) attended the conference for two days, studying the topic, “A dangerous calling”, which looked at the seriousness of a pastoral calling and the life challenges faced by every servant of God in Israel.
The lectures covered various topics including the challenges of life as a pastor; the danger of losing the awe of God; spiritual leadership and pride; and dual identity: a shepherd and a child of God.
“As we endeavour to stay aware of the dangers of this calling,” shared ICB president, Dr. Erez Soref, “we can encourage one another to stay strong in the faith and in God’s service.
“It is a great privilege to help equip these saints as they pastor their congregations, and to support them as they build the kingdom of God all over Israel, and in the Palestinian territories.”
The conference ended with corporate and individual prayer for each participant, and by celebrating the Lord’s Supper together.
This special time of rich fellowship and mutual encouragement was so important in building up the Body of Messiah in Israel. We understand that planning for next year’s conference is already underway!
Pray for these leaders as they shepherd their sheep in Jewish and Arabic settings. Thank you Lord for these deep friendships that have developed over the years of studying together – thank you that they cross cultural divides. Bless these friendships and continue to use and develop them for the growth of your Kingdom in Israel. Use these shepherds as examples of true brotherly love in their congregations. Equip each one with the spiritual tools they need to fulfil the roles you have called them into - we pray that the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might and the spirit of knowledge shall rest upon each one. Give them strength to endure temptation and to overcome the ‘dangers’ of their calling. Bless these annual conferences and bless Israel College of the Bible as they facilitate these gathering.
According to Israel College of the Bible (ICB), they are the only Bible college in Israel (and indeed the Middle East) where pastors, ministers, and leaders – Arab Israeli, Palestinian, and Messianic Jewish – can study biblical and theological studies and serve the Lord together, along with students from all over the world, all under one roof.