Spring Valley Baptist is moving forward with plans to host a new Messianic Jewish congregation slated to begin May 15. Rabbi Andy Meyerson has planted several Messianic Jewish congregations in the Carolinas for the community he loves and calls an “unreached people group.” The born-again rabbi has made it his mission to reach the Jewish community with the gospel, despite extreme push back from synagogues, religious leaders and those who see evangelism to Jews as an attack on a family unit.
“The return of Jesus is incumbent upon us. He came to gather the lost sheep of Israel. People aren’t reaching out to Jews and churches, for the most part, leave Jewish people alone. Like anyone who is lost Jewish people don’t want to be reached out to, they want to be left alone. But the Bible tells us ‘first to the Jew’ when talking about the return of the Messiah Jesus,” says Meyerson.
Raised as a practicing Jew in Manhattan, Meyerson recalls receiving his father’s blessing for Rabbinical training after giving his heart to Yeshua as a young man. He and his wife Shoshanna answered the call to plant Beth Shiloh, a Messianic Jewish congregation in Asheville, about 10 years ago. In the time since, they have planted congregations in Spartanburg, Charleston and Morganton, N.C., and look forward to opening Beth Shiloh in the Midlands.
“We are excited to have Beth Shiloh and Rabbi Andy Meyerson launching a new congregation in Columbia. We want all people to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. We have a substantial Jewish population in our association, and this new congregation will be a Great Commission effort which is much needed,” says CMBA Executive Director George Bullard.
According to Pastor Robert Winburn, Spring Valley Baptist sees this partnership as another opportunity to share the gospel and make disciples locally. “This new church plant is a missional step in Kingdom growth with a people group who have long been a part of the Northeast Columbia community,” he says.
The new Beth Shiloh congregation will meet on Saturdays at Spring Valley’s campus. Meyerson asks members of CMBA to be in prayer for the Jewish people living in and around the Midlands to be reached through the efforts of the new church. The Rabbi plans to introduce himself to local Jewish leaders and begin building a network of relationships within the community but knows his presence will be met with resistance.
Meyerson says non-Messianic Jews “see coming to Jesus as a death. They have a kind of funeral, say prayers and parents shun their children if they become a Christian. One of the things that makes a Messianic synagogue culturally different from most churches is that Messianic churches are more secretive.”
Meyerson further explains that the Jewish culture places great importance on family, and that this can be one of the greatest barriers for Jewish people to embrace Christianity. If a Jew is willing to listen to the gospel presentation, the Rabbi says most will stop the conversation when they are confronted with the reality that by accepting Christ they could be separated from family members for eternity.
“Almost every Jew asks me this. Sometimes they say their loved one died in the Holocaust and they question that I am saying that person isn’t in heaven. The answer is – I am not God. I don’t know who has gone where but I know for sure where you can definitely go, without a doubt. I don’t know what happened to your parents in the last second before death. I am hoping they accepted Jesus, we don’t know. But you can be assured of going to heaven, and we can do that right now,” he explains of his conversations.
Those who have accepted Yeshua and have joined Beth Shiloh congregations find much that is familiar to the Jewish faith experience including Torah readings and special observances. There are Jewish dances, Hebrew classes and a thriving Women’s Retreat Center that is open and welcoming to all. Meyerson says people worship through Beth Shiloh’s virtual services from around the world, so when this newest congregation begins to meet at Spring Valley there will be a sense of connectedness.
“Spring Valley is a ministry and missions-minded congregation that understands this concept. There is no way we could have a visible presence in this area without this joint venture,” he says of the planting partnership.
“I would say that our Jewish friends have long been overlooked as people who need to be reached with the good news that Jesus is the Messiah. While we might have neglected the Jewish community, the ministry of Rabbi Andy Meyerson is proof that many in the Jewish community can be reached with the gospel of Jesus Christ just as any other people group. We just need to be intentional and faithful in our efforts to share the gospel believing that God will honor our efforts and that we will see many from the Jewish community come to faith in Jesus as the Messiah,” Winburn says.
Meyerson suggests that most everyone has a Jewish friend, neighbor, coworker or classmate. The Midlands Jewish community is estimated to be around 5,000 people. So, what is the best way to approach them with the gospel or connect a Jewish person with in-person or virtual Beth Shiloh services? The answer is simple – invite, invite, invite.
“The gospel approach is different for every individual. Jesus met me where I was, He meets everyone where they are. But there is nothing stronger than a personal invitation. I share my phone number freely and am happy to call or meet with someone’s Jewish friend. I will go anywhere, at any time,” Meyerson pledges. Visit www.bethshiloh.org for more information about the Messianic Jewish synagogue and its ministries. To contact or directly connect a Jewish friend with Meyerson, call 844.4YESHUA (844.493.7481).