Israel College of the Bible (ICB) is the only Bible college in Israel (and indeed the Middle East) where pastors, ministers, and leaders – Arab Israeli, Palestinian, and Messianic Jewish – can study biblical and theological studies and serve the Lord together, along with students from all over the world, all under one roof.
Sometimes the students enjoy each other so much that they don’t want to stop meeting up and learning together! Such is the situation for the Senior Pastors’ MA program, which has been running since 2014.
We opened the program specifically for senior pastors, who come equally from both Jewish and Arab backgrounds, including a Palestinian brother who joined us from Bethlehem. As they all study together about pastoral ministry and theology, great friendships are formed.
Consequently, there have been several informal reunions after the studies are over, and we have also arranged a tailor-made conference each year for these experienced pastors to continue the learning and mutual encouragement that began in the program.
Third Senior Pastors’ Conference brings Jewish and Arab pastors together
On February 22, 2018, Israel College of the Bible wrapped up the third such senior pastors’ conference for all the graduates of the Masters program, held at a hotel in Hadera, on the coast of Israel.
Thirty Arab and Jewish pastors (literally half and half) attended the conference for two days, studying the topic, “A dangerous calling”, which looked at the seriousness of a pastoral calling and the life challenges faced by every servant of God in Israel.
Dr. Seth Postell, Academic Dean of ICB, opened the conference with some Bible reading and prayer, and then gave first lecture, focusing on the challenges in the life of a pastor. The second lecture was given by Thomas Damianos, Director of Extension Studies, about the danger of losing the awe of God as pastors.
On the second day, Dr. Erez Soref, president of ICB (pictured above), gave a lecture on the danger of pride for those in spiritual leadership, and of forgetting who we are. In his powerpoint presentation, he has a list of “Signs you have forgotten your dual identity”. There are many pitfalls that spiritual leaders can so easily fall into, especially when we forget that we have a dual identity: we are not only feeding God’s sheep, but that we are also a child of God that needs to be fed. As we endeavor to stay aware of the dangers of this calling, we can encourage one another to stay strong in the faith and in God’s service.
Brothers in one family
It is a great privilege to help equip these saints as they pastor their congregations, and to support them as they build the kingdom of God all over Israel, and in the Palestinian territories.
The conference ended with collective and individual prayer for each participant, and by celebrating the Lord’s Supper together.
It was a time of rich fellowship and mutual encouragement, and planning for the fourth conference next year is already underway!