Over the summer, Chosen People Ministries launched an unprecedented public outreach campaign in New York City The campaign centered on Isaiah chapter 53, encouraging people to call or go online to get a free book called Isaiah 53 Explained. So far, this campaign has resulted in more contacts with Jewish seekers than we have had in decades!
The campaign began with phone surveys and postcards to Jewish homes in order to gauge the public’s knowledge of Isaiah 53. Four billboards were then unveiled in Manhattan: one on 42nd Street, and three over the tunnels that lead to New Jersey and Queens. This was followed by bus shelter advertisements all over Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn, which proclaimed This Chapter Will Change Your Life. Similar ads appeared on phone kiosks, in subways, and on buses all over the city. This was accompanied by a Facebook effort that quickly accumulated over 1,500 friends. Finally, ads in The New York Times and radio spots came out.
During this roll-out of advertisements, over fifty staff members and volunteers came to New York City to do public outreach on the streets and in parks. For over three weeks, they set up tables and conducted surveys in order to give out material about Isaiah 53 and engage seekers in conversation. Chosen People Ministries also held a debate and an outreach concert as part of the Isaiah 53 campaign.
We have gathered over 1,200 contacts in the New York area. At least four people came to faith on the streets, and more have come to faith as we follow up with those who received the book. Some conversations are going very well and at other times we are received with animosity – but making so many Jewish contacts is unprecedented, and we trust that the Lord will bless our continued witnessing.
I had a conversation with the Jewish students who were about 18 years old. It was clear from the beginning of our conversation that they were not sure what they believed about the Messiah and Jesus; about all they knew is that they were “not supposed to” believe in Jesus. I shared my faith with them and explained that people are separated from God by sin, and that we need a sacrifice for our sins – which they understood. They argued that the Messiah is supposed to set up a kingdom, and I agreed. However, I also explained that the Hebrew Scriptures also describe a Messiah who would die for our sins. I encouraged them to search these things out for themselves, gave them my information and told them to contact me. I also invited them to a young adult Bible study. It was a wonderful conversation because I was able to share things with them that they had never heard before.
This campaign will continue over the next five to ten years on the internet and in other cities. Please pray as we continue to follow up with the contacts, the number of which is continuing to grow!
Contributed by Ryan K.