The International Partners' Conference
At the beginning of December, our youth coordinator, Steph, was invited to join CEO Alex and representatives from each country which makes up CMJ Worldwide, at Beit Immanuel in Tel Aviv. Here she reflects on her time in Israel.
In the world of CMJ, as with many international organisations, emails are pinged around the world in mere seconds, and conversations happen regularly with colleagues I had come to know, but not actually met.
So having the opportunity to travel with Alex to the International Partners’ conference at the beginning of December was both an honour, and the perfect way to match names to faces…finally!
Oh…and not to mention the chance to sneak some time in the glorious sunshine before winter truly set in! Dig out the sun lotion!
One of CMJ’s biggest strengths is the strong bond between those who work in Israel and those who work in the various countries around the world, which – in case you are not aware – are: Ireland, France, Canada, USA, South Africa, Australia/New Zealand, India, and Hong Kong. And while the mandate of CMJ remains the same in each country, the outworking of this is so different, based on the demographics of the country, and the number of Jewish People who still consider those countries to be home. For example, while there may only be around 206 Jewish people left in two of India’s major cities, the CMJ India team recognises that God is bringing Jewish people into their path in other ways.
One of our other strengths is the fact that many of the current leadership have served together for a few decades, and have solid working relationships – if not as part of CMJ, within the Jewish-Christian community. The keys to successful international ministries, like CMJ, have to be first and foremost God-centred, and with a depth of trust between those who work together under the banner of CMJ in the different parts of the world.
As someone who works with bridging the gap between the younger generations and those who are already supporting CMJ, this leads me to ask the question: How do we ensure this quality of CMJ partnerships is maintained long after our current leadership have retired and handed the baton on?
The focus of the conference was on one of our three E’s – Education. Again, this is where having people who have worked for decades with CMJ, and have a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips, is a huge blessing to understanding the history and background of CMJ. The danger, of course, is that we become too retrospective and too fixated with the “good old days!”, but the certainty of people speaking from years of experience, with first-hand accounts of how God has built-up the ministry of CMJ is an important message in our “fast food, instant society”.
The International Partners’ Conference was literally bathed in prayer. Each country’s representatives were prayed for immediately after sharing of the work God is doing through their ministry, as together we stood side-by-side in lifting the goals of CMJ worldwide to Father God: To educate, to evangelise, and to encourage. We found that many of the ideas of how to put this into action, and maintain the relevance of an organisation focussed on being a witness “…to the Jew first, but also to the Gentile…” (Romans 1:16), weren’t all that dissimilar, and there are definitely ways in which the CMJ worldwide family can work closely together on achieving some of the dreams and goals we have – including my personal passion, to see an internship programme being developed.
So, watch this space over the next couple of years until the next International Partners’ Conference… After talk and prayer, must follow action!