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Why Are We Offering This Course?

Houston, Do we have a problem?

From all of the e-mail we receive at Yashanet, along with our own personal experiences, we have found that there is a wide range of problems with the modern "Messianic Movement." These problems are revealed in the expressed frustration among individuals, some of whom have been involved with "Messianic Judaism" for many years.

This includes:

  • A lack of consistency in teachings from one group to another, or even within the same group
  • A lack of any deeper learning despite years of involvement in Messianic circles
  • For some coming from traditional Christian circles, finding there is not a lot different once you get past a veneer of "Jewish clothing and music" experienced in Messianic congregations
  • Jews coming to a belief in Yeshua as Messiah, are challenged by traditional Jews and lacking a sound "defense" to their faith, end up rejecting Yeshua
  • In some cases, people simply want a better understanding of the Judaism behind the "New Testament"

The following describes a ten-phase approach to addressing this situation and helping to rectify it.

I. The desire to help correct it.

Our Yashanet group has been discussing the various aspects of this situation, and decided that we wanted to take steps in helping correct these problems. An earnest desire to do this as a group was a required first step. This was not only a hope to improve others’ personal relationship with God, but also to elevate congregations to a much higher level of understanding of what they believe, and bring about greater unity among those who follow Yeshua. We hope that the "end of the path" that we are embarking on will be an accurate reflection of this desire.

II. What would be a good way to approach this?

Our first step was to come up with an idea for something that would actually work. We put our minds together, read over feedback from the letters we have received and came up with the idea of a study in the basics of Judaism. We believe that if we can present a "course" in the fundamentals of Torah-based faith, and show how this is what was also taught in the "New Testament," including issues involving Yeshua as Messiah, we can achieve the goals we considered. Using modern resources, it is entirely possible that we can have a great impact on many people and congregations around the world.

III. That’s the "What," now as for the "How" …

Knowing in general terms WHAT we wanted to do, we considered the specifics of HOW we would implement this. We began sorting out and clarifying our ideas in order to put together something that we felt would actually work for people. We decided on a "textbook" (Derech Hashem – The Way of God) for the course, along with commentaries on that text, a web site for our group to share information, and a discussion board for people to post questions and comments. This approach would enable people to go at their own pace and get as involved as they wanted to. We felt that this combination of resources along with the knowledge and skill set of our own group was the right path for this project.

IV. Gathering the energy to make this work.

Our next step was to discuss what time and resources would be required from both our group and those who participate. This was important, as we did not want to enter into this with grand ideas and then run short of what we needed. This isn't to say that we feared the project would not "take off," but rather that it would not accomplish what it had the potential for in our minds. We sent an announcement out to our e-mail list to see what kind of interest this would generate.

V. So far so good, now we needed to get some structure.

Having received a very good response to our e-mail invite, we now began to seriously organize the parts of this project. We wanted to allocate our time and energy equitably among the different parts of this project throughout its duration. We held a meeting and discussed roles and responsibilities as well as drafting a rough schedule for the course. This was important, as we wanted to avoid mismanaging this project as well as running out of energy at some point and having the entire project fail.

VI. Time to harmonize the "thinking" with the "doing."

Having done the "mental work" of organizing the plan and the energy for our project, we are ready to begin the process of actualization. It is time for the plan, energy and actual implementation to come together. A web site is being put together, along with the Discussion Board. People are ordering their books. Our group is meeting to discuss our own analysis of the textbook so that we can offer our own commentaries. As we move forward, everything in the project will be adjusted and coordinated, so that the reality of what we are trying to do will match the plan. We know that with the wide variety of people involved, we cannot simply force the reality of where the program will lead us exactly into the structure of our plan. We will have choices and decisions to make as the inner world of our thought and energy begins to meet the outer reality to which the plan and energy must be applied.

VII. & VIII. Applying everything in the right measure.

As we go forward with our study, questions, comments, etc., we will be effecting change in the lives of many people, as well as our own. On the one hand, we need to be bold enough to tackle any and all issues in order to effect real change. On the other hand we need to take care when do this, always being ready to accommodate every person who is involved with this project. We cannot overstate the responsibility we have to those who God sends our way. As each participant in this study is an individual with God-given qualities that differ from others. We want to keep a proper balance between what we "tear down" and what we add, in order that any change harmonizes with who they are. We have to continually exercise careful thought and decision-making as the study moves forward.

IX. Time to take it "all" and bring it "home."

Next will come the phase where everything comes together in reality. People will read the textbook and commentaries, take notes, post questions and answers on the Discussion Board. Everything should occur in a timely fashion so that the study moves forward while not failing to address any issues. Decisions will be made at this stage as to where to put more or less of our energy. Good communication, in the form of weekly e-mail updates, will play an important role in managing everything that is going into the study. Above all, if we seek God in truth, rather than pleasing our own egos, staying on the "narrow path" and not "veering to the right or left," His blessings will carry everything we planned and worked on to our final destination.

X. Will the effect reflect the cause?

When we get to our destination – the end of the course – we hopefully will have arrived at the point that we desired at "Phase I" of this project – all of us with a deeper relationship with God based on not only "zeal" but also knowledge. This in turn we hope will impact the congregations they attend and eventually other groups who they have contact with.