Yahweh has a way of bringing things to my attention that I need to either study deeply or that I need to help others see or pay attention to. I may hear something a thousand times and it be of no effect, then one day it will strike me in a way that gives me pause. This has been that kind of week where it has happened several times. I would hear a quick mention of something by a source, then suddenly that phrase would appear “everywhere” around me. It wasn’t just one topic, either, it happened with multiple topics, and in multiple areas, by multiples sources. By weeks end, I was shocked how many different “new things” Yahweh had drawn to my attention. I made a list, and decided over time I might like to address each one, starting what Yahweh felt was most urgent.
Two things kept coming to mind from the list whenever I looked at it, but I wanted to make certain that they weren’t my personal feelings getting in my way. I set the list aside for a couple of days, and then felt I could pray over them on Shabbat. Shabbat morning, I felt prompted to start with one of the two, and decided to just let the words flow. So, here we are, discussing whether or not a “young ministry” is qualified to teach the Torah and if they are capable of speaking “truth” to the Body of the Assembly.
Are young ministries qualified?
I have a feeling there are some reading this right now who are trying to figure out what exactly I am talking about - “young” ministry? Let me take a moment to share with you what I have heard. There are ministries, groups, and people teaching that if a ministry is “young”, they are not “qualified” to preach, teach, or minister in the kingdom until or unless they have “enough experience”.
There are several things which don’t make sense about this thought pattern. First and foremost, what is meant by a “young” ministry? There are a lot of qualifiers that could make a ministry appear “young”, so just how should we judge a ministry’s “age"? Is it decided by the ministry’s “ability” to preach and teach about the Word? How do we judge their “ability”? Is there a standard set forth? Maybe a check list of abilities or qualifications that we can all run through so that we can ensure a ministry is aged properly? Kind of like a good cheese. . . Is aging based on time in ministry? Or, is it time in only the Hebrew roots ministry? Or time spent studying the Bible? Maybe time studying the Near East, just Israel, or the Hebrew language? Degree in Divinity? Theology? Philosophy? What level degree - bachelors, masters, doctorate? From which college or Yeshiva? Maybe some colleges qualify but others don’t, but who decides which ones do? Or is the age of a ministry determined by whether they have been in it longer than this minister or that ministry? And what team of experts make all these decisions for the Body of Yesua? When someone coined the phrase “Age is relative”, it seems that this might be a perfect example of what they were talking about.
It would be extremely difficult for someone to determine the age of ANY ministry based on all these variables and these are just a FEW of the ones I had written down when preparing for this article. Where did I get these ingredients? From comments, articles, and remarks made by ministries and individuals who feel that THEY self-qualify for having “enough experience”. The list could be amazingly much longer, probably totaling more than 100 questions on the check list if I set my mind to it.
Torah For Women could easily be judged as one of these “young ministries”, if you just judge by the date our social media sites were created, or if going by when our most recent copyright date was added to our websites. Does that mean that is the time period when Yahweh inspired us to begin a women’s ministry focused on teachings for women? Wouldn’t you need additional information to make that judgment before discounting a ministry for their experience or to decide whether they are established enough to teach, preach or minister? Invariably this is where someone may ask, well, how “old” are you? That is not the issue of this article, not in the least. The issue of this article is, essentially, how do we ("we" meaning any of us in the body) judge a ministry’s ability based on what we perceive as their “age” in comparison to some mark we, as an individual, have established as the measuring stick? We can’t.
Let’s take a look at a couple of ministries that might be considered “young”:
Are you aware of what is happening in the Southern United States right now? Revival, POWERFUL revival. In WV alone, over a period of several months, thousands of people have come to know Yeshua in just a few counties. Do you know who started this movement? Yahweh did it through YOUNG PEOPLE, teenagers and young adults - the spirit worked on their hearts and they preached in the schools and at outdoor revival meetings, had baptisms, and brought many to know Yeshua. You can’t get much younger in ministry than someone who is 16/17 years old preaching the Word to his or her friends for the very first time. These young preachers are telling it like it is - the scriptures as they are written, without compromise, with the spirit and power of Yahweh. And their friends are listening! States like West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina are moving in the Spirit and people are returning to faith.
Who would like to be the first to tell these “children” they are “too young” to follow the inspiration placed in their hearts or too young to act on behalf of Yahweh? Would you like to be the one to tell them they are “too young” to preach, teach, and bring people to Yeshua? Are you going to be the one to step up and put a halt to the move of Yahweh, because these young people don’t measure up according to the standards of your measuring stick? If you have the arrogance to say yes, then you need to take a serious look at the condition of your heart.
Two of the youngest ministries I can think of come right from the Bible. Think for a moment about the apostles. They were very “young” in ministry, about as young as, or younger than any of the ministries I have witnessed this week being criticized for their “age”. These men (apostles), in their “young” ministries built the church with the limited teaching, training, and experience they had gotten from and with Yeshua.
Would anyone in the body seriously walk up to the apostles and say, “You are too young for me to take seriously. Let me wait until you have been around awhile, then perhaps I will listen to your teachings."
Yet people with doctoral degrees in theology, groups with “years of experience” will look down on ministries with the same months of training or more as the disciples, and call them too “young” to teach the Word correctly, or to teach with the Spirit.
Seriously, we need to look to the word for what is too young. The scriptures tell us:
Luke 10:21 “In that same hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit, and said, "I thank you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding, and revealed them to little children.” These children could be taken literally as meaning small children, or “children in the gospel” as the apostles were. Either way, they would be “young” in ministry, yet Yeshua praises Yahweh for delivering His messages to these young ones. Do you know why? because these “little children” had ears ready to hear, hearts ready to receive and most of all were teachable. Yet, the arrogant who believe their experience and wisdom is far superior will always remain un-teachable.
When the prophet Jeremiah was called to ministry he at first resisted the call because he said: “Ah, Lord Yahweh! Behold, I don’t know how to speak for I am a child. But Yahweh said to me, ‘Don’t say I am a child; for to whoever I shall send you, you shall go, and whatever I shall command you, you shall speak.” (Jeremiah 1:6-7)
Acts 2:17 (also Joel 2:28) describes “young men” who will see visions in the end times.
“And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, (italics added for emphasis) and your old men shall dream dreams:” Again young ministers will be called forth to serve Yahweh.
What about the story of a 12 year old child being found in the temple with the elders talking, questioning, and answering questions?
Luke 2: 45-49 “When they didn't find him, they returned to Jerusalem, looking for him. It happened after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them, and asking them questions. All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. When they saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us this way? Behold, your father and I were anxiously looking for you." He said to them, "Why were you looking for me? Didn't you know that I must be in my Father's house?" This same child went on to teach and preach to thousands just a short time after he had been baptized. Seems like one of the youngest ministries we can pull right from the Word.
Everyone knows of whom I am speaking, because this young 12 year old was Yeshua. But, if we all went back to ancient Israel would we discount the “young” ministry of Yeshua which he started right after his baptism? Would you say “Your ministry is too young to be taken seriously”? If so, then you would have missed out on the greatest move of Yahweh in the scriptures and would have missed the opportunity to be a personal disciple of the Messiah himself, while he walked on the earth.
These are just a couple of examples of “young ministries” in the scriptures, but the people accepted them. Its not the age of the ministry or the age of the person ministering that is the qualifier, because “young” is not an obstacle with Yahweh nor is it a hindrance in his work. All that matters is if Yahweh is working through that person and ministry, and that they are teaching the truth.
Paul even instructed Timothy to do the following: “Let no one despise your youth, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of scripture, to exhortation, and to teaching.” (1 Timothy 4:12-13)
I believe judging a ministry, or minister because it or he/she is not “old enough” rather than on whether or not they are teaching truth is a precarious position.
Now I am not saying that everyone can just jump out and proclaim themselves to be a teacher, because I do believe people need a good foundation of instruction and the call of Yahweh on their life, but if a person has a solid foundation of instruction and mentoring under their belt and a legitimate call to teach, then no one should despise their youth or the newness of their ministry.
What we need to judge is the soundness of their teaching (Titus 2:7-8) and the fruit of their works (Matthew 7:15-27).
“Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly.” James 3:1
Youth and newness of a ministry is not a factor in the legitimacy of a ministry. Therefore, to all the youth who are inspired to share the gospel with their friends, we encourage you to first study the Gospel message, then share the message with zeal and wisdom and let no one despise your youth. For those of you who come across a new Torah based ministry, please don’t despise their newness, but judge them by their message and the spiritual fruit in their lives.
Blessings and Shalom!
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Lead Author (Bio)
Jim, (Judi's husband), has Sephardi Jewish ancestry and is a minister and head of Shofar Productions. Jim was a denominational pastor, hospital chaplain, and former director of a non-profit community organization.
Torah For Women
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