At First Fruits of Zion, we continually receive requests for materials targeted specifically for younger people. This summer, we are going to take our first steps in that direction.
We have been praying for God to give us clear direction and leading in the establishment of Bible education opportunities for college-age students. We feel strongly that our mission must begin to focus on transmitting Messianic Jewish teaching and the message about the kingdom to the next generation.
This June (God willing), First Fruits of Zion will host a special three-day seminar for Messianic students ages 15-20 titled “Decoding the Parables of Yeshua.” First Fruits of Zion teachers will present a crash-course on ten parables with emphasis on learning how rabbinic parables function, their role in Jewish teaching, and the tools necessary for interpreting them.
Imagine a class room filled with high school and early college age students discussing the meaning of the parable of the shrewd manager, the parable of talents, the parable of the lost coin, the parable of the torn patch, and so forth. The students are learning about how parables work, how to interpret them, and at the same time, they are getting excited about the teachings of our Master. Perhaps for the first time in their lives, they find themselves with a group of peers who share a similar Messianic Jewish worldview and enthusiasm for their faith.
The intensive three-day seminar (June 8-10) will take place at Beth Immanuel in Hudson, Wisconsin in conjunction with the annual FFOZ National Conference. Classes begin early Wednesday morning, June 8, and they conclude before Shabbat on Friday, June 10. Evenings will feature structured social times including games, outings, and mixers. On Friday evening, the seminar segues into Shabbat and Shavu’ot (June 11-12) at Beth Immanuel.
The three-day seminar offers students a sampling of the type of teaching that might one day be part of a Messianic Jewish Bible training initiative (something like a school), and we hope that this seminar will help us gauge the potential interest in the development of such an institution of learning or, at the very least, the interest in more programs of a similar nature for young Messianic Jews and Gentiles in North America. We want to to see how many 15-20 year olds want to come learn Bible in a structured, peer-environment program. We will be looking to this event to see whether or not the level of interest might justify the development of similar programs and whether or not such a school-of-sorts might be viable.
What will the adults do while the youth are occupied in classes, piously studying the parables? A separate track for adults over the age of 20 will take place concurrently. The adult track will feature sessions on the subject of intergenerational continuity and the parable of the New Wineskins.
This summer’s Shavu’ot event will be a great opportunity for Messianic Jewish and Messianic Gentile youth to meet and mix, but more importantly, it’s an opportunity for them to encounter the teaching of Yeshua in a powerful new way.
Registration for this event has now opened. Set aside the dates of June 8-12 for an amazing learning opportunity to learn and to celebrate the Sabbath and the holy Festival of Shavu’ot with brothers and sisters.