Saturday, April 09, 2005

JFJ Co-Laborers

In the early 80s, a new program was started with Jews for Jesus called Co-Laborer in Messiah.

The idea was that JFJ needed to get back to the wonderful spirit that was in the original group; that is, a joy about sharing Jesus with anyone and everyone. The staff was so busy with structure, meetings, and goals and it was believed that a volunteer spirit would bring a new dimension to JFJ.

Moishe Rosen was not so sure about the program, but allowed it to be started. I don't remember why he did not believe in it, but I believe he was concerned about controlling volunteers.

So, ever since 1982, JFJ has held yearly one-week CLIM (Co-Laborer in Messiah) training sessions and trained volunteers to set up JFJ Chapters in places where JFJ branches could not be founded.

The training Co-Laborers receive(d) was no where as demanding as JFJ Campaign Training or other training courses, but the training was still difficult. Much information is packed into a short week and the new official JFJ volunteers leave with excitement about Jews for Jesus and also an excitement about being called by God to serve with Jews for Jesus.

The people recruited by JFJ to be CLIMs were/are high-quality people, and usually gentiles. Some are Jewish, but for some reason do not qualify to serve on staff with JFJ or do not wish to.

Co-Laborers generally never faced any abuse from JFJ and loved JFJ. Co-Laborers were aware of the hardships involved with being part of JFJ staff, and tried to help whenever they could. Most never received top status on in the JFJ hierarchy unless they were large donors to JFJ's cause.

I remember one CLIM saying she knew she had "lowly status" on the JFJ totem pole and didn't even feel qualified to witness to Jewish people without JFJ's permission.

Sometimes when someone left JFJ staff, they continued to serve JFJ in a Co-Laborer capacity. Of course, these people could continue do the actual missionary work for JFJ and present the Christ in the Passover presentations in churches for JFJ. Those who JFJ does convince to stay with JFJ as Co-Laborers are former staff who JFJ still has some control over or people that JFJ still has on a leash.

I remember seeing a JFJ organizational chart at CLIM training. Moishe Rosen was at the top and everyone else served under him. A question was asked why Moishe had total control and the answer was, "This is his baby."

At a tour of JFJ Headquarters during a CLIM training the trainees were told to not dare interupt the administrative staff since JFJ workers could not be interupted for an reason. A couple days later a new CLIM went to JFJ Headquarters and the administrative staff was more relaxed and did talk freely. Was it a show put on for the visiting CLIMs a few days before? Maybe JFJ wanted their official voluteers to remember that there was no slacking off in JFJ?

Co-laborers did not deal directly with JFJ, but went through a Coordinator who did a wonderful job of keeping them linked to JFJ and to eachother. This person worked hard. Originally this person was also a Co-Laborer and could work from her home, but Moishe Rosen felt a need to control her, so the CLIM-Coordinator eventually did move to San Francisco.

CLIMs also reported to JFJ once a month. Co-Laborers could be "fired" from volunteering if they failed to submit reports. I always thought the idea of being fired from being a volunteer was rather amusing!

If all JFJ workers had been treated with the kindness that JFJ Co-Laborers experienced, many may have actually enjoyed working for Jews for Jesus.

It's puzzling that one group of people could have a positive experience with JFJ while the majority under JFJ's employ remember fear, abuse, control, and ridicule.


Anonymous said...

It is very interesting that JFJ treated people differently based on what their place was in the organization. I know administrative staff had a different experience than vocational staff. In fact, some administrative staff have happily worked for JFJ for years and years while vocational staff seem to leave JFJ more often.

Anonymous said...

The reason the Co-Laborers were told that they would only be allowed to communicate with JFJ through a Co-Laborer Coordinator was because in the organization there was a chain of command. There was a concern that the Minister-at-large would have to be bothered too frequently with enthusiastic volunteers and would not be able to properly concentrate on recruiting and training JFJ missionaries.

JFJ believes in order and everything having its place.

I do know it was very frustrating for some Co-Laborers to not be able to directly deal with the JFJ leadership since they had so many wonderful and creative ideas for evangelism that they could never be put into practice or shared.

Anonymous said...

When JFJ's Co-Laborers lived near a JFJ Branch, sometimes the Branch leader looked at the Co-Laborer's enthusiasm as a threat and tried to control some of his activity.

Anonymous said...

Everyone, including the JFJ Custodian, received a weekly mailing that was sent directly to their homes called THE STAFF REPORT. (I believe the name of this publication is now changed to STAFF WISE STIRRINGS or something similar now.)

Although JFJ Co-Laborers were told they were part of the JFJ Family and the inner JFJ circle, Co-Laborers did not receive THE STAFF REPORT; instead they received a Co-Laborer Monthly Newsletter called SCHTICKEL and in it, some of the things shared with JFJ staff were shared with Co-Laborers, but much inside news was cut since Co-Laborers were really outsiders from JFJ's point of view.

Anonymous said...

The staff publication is called Staff Wise Stirrings. Brickner wrote a severe warning that if anyone shared their copy of the publication with anyone outside the organization (other than spouse), they would be subject to immediate termination.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be great if some strong willed current staff person within Jews for Jesus who is being harmed by them and knows it...would take that staff newsletter they get every month and mail it to 60 minutes, 20/20,, etc.?

Imagine what could be if the world began to find out the kind of organization Jews for Jesus continues to be?