Baptist Churches in Israel
The Baptist churches in Israel are evangelical, mostly Arabic, and are mostly in the centre and north. There are some links with Messianic (i.e. Jewish) believers. The 17 churches of the Association of Baptist Churches in Israel (ABCI) have 800 baptized members in a community of about 3000 people.
The churches generally meet regularly for worship, prayer and preaching, and have children and youth ministries, evangelistic Bible studies, and are seeking to connect with social needs. They share an annual youth camp and other ministries. Their strength of faith in a tough situation is an example to us.
Their vision is to reach all people with the message and love of Christ and to be salt and light in the land where God became flesh and lived among us.
It’s difficult for everyone living in this complex and troubled region. In the midst of cultural, political, religious and other tensions, as a minority within a minority within a minority, evangelical Christians are under particular pressure.
Twinning brings encouragement both to our brothers and sisters in Christ who live ‘between a rock and a hard place’, and to us. It expands the mission mindset of UK churches. Twinning with a church in Israel brings a unique experience of the Holy Land, a new Middle East perspective, and an enrichment of faith through seeing the strength of faith of those who are living in a tough place. It gives an insight into churches in very different cultures. It deepens the prayer life of the church, and enriches our fellowship in the gospel. For our friends in Israel they are immensely encouraged and strengthened by our prayerful interest and involvement, and it also gives us the opportunity to support pastors in a challenging environment.
In addition to church-on-church twinning, our hope as UK Associations is to seek to help with training for ABCI pastors and churches, and with support towards ABCI ministries.
Preparing to twin
A twinning link should be prayerfully considered within a church’s overall mission strategy, and the pastor’s support is important and will be significant in maintaining the link. The church needs a core group to facilitate the link, to maintain good communications and regular engagement with the twin church, and to promote prayer in the local church. Any costs need to be met by the UK church, e.g. visits to and from the twinned church.
Maintaining a twinning relationship
A link can be established and continued at different levels. This can be done through regular emails, facebook and other social media, and skype. Prayer and friendship support are vital, and establishing a regular means of communication with news from each church is vital. It is hard to under-estimate the impact of actual visits, to build and renew friendships. Visits can include youth exchanges, help with specific projects, mission events, etc.
To explore further what a twinning relationship might entail, please contact one of our Trustees. One of us can come to your church if need be. It might help to talk with Ampthill Baptist Church who have an established ‘twin’ with Shefa'amr Baptist Church or Walsworth Road Baptist Church in Hitchin twinned with Turaan Baptist Church (both have the story of their twinning on the websites) or Tring Baptist Church who are twinned with Cana Baptist Church. (See also the News section.) When ready to explore further, introductions can be made and a link begun when a match has been found. Some churches share a link.
To help with introductions, we arrange budget visits to Israel for pastors and leaders that focus more on spending time with ABCI pastors and visiting churches, and ‘sites and living stones’ tours that are more general but include time with believers. See Visits for latest details. We have also arranged for some ABCI pastors to visit the UK in recent times.