By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
BRENTWOOD — In September the Executive Board of the Tennessee Baptist Convention approved a two-year volunteer missions initiative with First Baptist Church, Morristown.
Tennessee Baptist churches and associations are invited to join forces with First Baptist Church for the Harvest of Israel Missions Initiative. A partnership initiative involves the convention partnering with a TBC church to help them with a specific work, said Kim Margrave, volunteer missions specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Convention.
“The partnership initiative with First Baptist Church, Morristown, working with the Harvest of Israel Ministry, will give our churches an opportunity to be involved with on-the-ground ministry through the filling of containers that will be shipped to help ministry partners share the gospel,” Margrave said.
Tennessee Baptists will also have opportunities to go themselves and serve with these ministries and see the holy sites in Israel, she added.
Dean Haun, pastor of First Baptist Church, Morristown, is grateful that Tennessee Baptists will be involved in the initiative.
The pastor said Harvest of Israel is based on Genesis 12:3 and Romans 15:27. Genesis 12:3 reads: “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” Romans 15:27 notes: “It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister to them in carnal things.”
The Morristown congregation has been providing Harvest of Israel for about four years, the pastor shared. Haun said the ministry is based on three pillars: Jewish roots education, missions and ministry, and tours to the Holy Land.
“We want to help largely Gentile Christians to understand the Jewish roots of the land in the Bible and their faith,” he explained.
The thrust of the work with Harvest of Israel centers around missions and ministry. With the help of congregations all over the country, First Baptist Church has sent seven 40-foot shipping containers to Israel. The containers are filled with supplies that will be used by Messianic Jewish and Arab Christian congregations in Israel for ministry purposes, Haun said.
The church is working through The Joseph Project. The humanitarian aid containers shipped to Israel are sent to The Joseph Project warehouse outside Jerusalem, Haun noted.
The supplies are distributed to more than 40 different sites in Jerusalem and are used to help Messianic Jews and Arab Christians witness for Christ, he added.
Haun said the goal of the initiative with Tennessee Baptists is to send one container per month to Israel.
Churches can collect supplies and send them to First Baptist, Haun said. The list and instructions can be found on the church’s Harvest of Israel website and www.harvestofisrael.org.
Better yet, he said, local associations can serve as collection points. Local churches can bring items to the association for the container. Once items are collected, First Baptist will send a container to the site where local church volunteers will pack the container. Then First Baptist Church will have the container shipped to Israel, Haun said.
Haun observed that the third pillar of the ministry is actual tours to the Holy Land. “We found that once people participated in a tour, they fell in love with the land and the people and they want to help,” he said.
For more information, visit the website (cited earlier) or visit First Baptist Church’s Harvest of Israel booth at Summit to be held Nov. 9-11 at First Baptist Church in Millington.