THREE-FOLD VISION OF DISCIPLESHIP
The Ner Yah youth group was birthed from recognizing the need for discipling youth in the Land. In the initial years, the group formed organically as a small group of students seeking to grow in their faith. In wisdom, these youth sought covering for their group and approached Moran to be a spiritual guide. Now after many years, God has helped us to grow in number and vision as we have seen the needs of the youth develop over time. He has provided the staff and means necessary to help support the youth through every season until they reach adulthood through what we call the “Three-Fold Vision of Discipleship.” The three-fold vision provides discipleship and support for youth in Ner Yah throughout three major stages of life: middle school/high school, 2-3 years of army service, and post-army life.
STAGE 1 – Youth Group The first stage of youth discipleship begins at Ner Yah where 50-70 middle and high school aged youth, coming from various congregations in Jerusalem, meet weekly for fellowship, worship, and the study of God’s Word. Living in a culture that is ignorant of and often hostile to their faith, it is vital that the youth have a place to be encouraged and supported in their faith with the fellowship of believers their age and to receive discipleship and guidance of excellent youth leaders.
Over the years Ner Yah has developed a comprehensive program that aims to reach every member and help him or her grow in their faith, through one-on-one discipleship and in small group settings. This presents the opportunity to talk and pray about issues relating to their lives. Then the leaders of Ner Yah began to meet once every two months with girls and boys the year prior to their enlistment into the army as practical preparation for everything they would face throughout their service. Even the method of teaching in Ner Yah has matured in recent years, where once it was topical based with no strong connection between each lesson to now strategically studying in-depth through books of the Bible with a systematic lesson plan throughout the year. They also learn to put their faith into practice in organized volunteer service projects that the leaders arrange throughout the year. We firmly believe in encouraging the youth to cultivate a wholehearted devotion to God that is rooted and grounded in a deep knowledge of His Word and experience of His love and presence in their lives so that they will remain steadfast in their faith and be bold, bright witnesses to their people.
STAGE 2 – Army Service The second stage of the three-fold vision came into place in 2009 to provide much needed support and love for the believers who are in their army service. The army is one of the most challenging seasons in the life of believers. Young boys and girls at the age of 18 are separated from their parents, friends, and congregations. The life for soldiers can be lonely and full of temptations from the much more secular lifestyle found in the army. This is why we pay close attention to the believer soldiers and provide them with as much encouragement as possible. Every two weeks we host a meeting for the soldiers where they can come and worship, study the Word together, and find fellowship with others going through the same struggles. Some members of our staff regularly send notes of encouragement via text message and four times a year during the holiday season they receive care packages from us with a personal note and goodies to enjoy.
STAGE 3 – Readjustment to Civilian Life In 2010, when the vision for the third pillar of the three-fold vision started to take place, HFI began to offer scholarships to former Ner Yah members who needed the financial assistance to study for their future careers. From this place we began to see the need to not only invest in their lives financially, but also on a personal level; to that end, we began offering one-on-one counseling to believers after their release from the army. These counseling sessions between one of our staff members and a former soldier is meant to provide guidance to the individual in all areas of life – personal, spiritual and professional. Less than a year ago, we began to have a women’s bible study for young adult women seeking fellowship and enrichment in their faith.
If you would like to read testimonies from members at every stage of our discipleship program, you can find their stories in our newsletter here.