Top 7 Reasons You Need to Visit Israel, especially if you’re a Pastor/Teacher

Posted: May 10, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Caesarea Aqueduct

Caesarea Aqueduct

This summer marks our 30th year as pastors at King of Kings in Jerusalem. Ann and I still pinch ourselves that we get to do this!

From time to time I’ve toured the Israel with newbies — and often they’re pastors. It’s fascinating to get a fresh look at Israel through their eyes, and to watch their child-like excitement.

I’ve heard them ask, “why didn’t I come years ago?” A few have even confessed they’d unwittingly told some lies in their sermons from ignorance about the Land of the Bible.

I’m going to give you my top 7 reasons you really need to visit Israel, especially if you’re a pastor and/or Bible teacher.

1. The pages of your Bible will be even more alive and real. This is where Abraham trekked, Joshua battled, David reigned, and the Son of God lived, died, rose and ascended.

After seeing the land and people you’ll teach the Bible with more accuracy and confidence. Well known pastor Mark Batterson from D.C. came to Israel for the first time this year. He tweeted: “one revelation from our trip to Israel? I read the Bible wrong! just knowing the geography adds nuances of meaning. text + context = aha!”

After you’ve scanned the topography, heard the sounds, breathed the air, and smelled the scents, you’ll paint the backdrop of a biblical narrative with more vivid colors.

As a serious Bible teacher, you’ve probably spent thousands of dollars on theological education. You’ve invested in building your library. And you continue to spend money on resources to keep you current. So you know the value of investing money in the best tools of your trade. Here’s a thought: Amortize the cost of the trip over 50 years of ministry and it’s peanuts!

George O. Wood, the General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God just preached for us at King of Kings. He’s been to Israel more than 40 times! He’s initiated a program to enable every Bible student in the denomination to get to Israel at least once in their lives.

2. A visit to Israel will enable you to pray more intelligently for the Middle East. Israel is the epicenter of a conflict as old as the patriarchs. CNN and Fox can’t convey the whole picture. But coming to the Land will enable you to better understand the realities.

A visit to the Land will enable you to meet with Jews and Arabs. Coming to know the faces and names, as well as their stories, will inspire you to “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” (Psalm 122:6)

3. If you make a point of visiting the local believers you will hear fresh and exciting testimonies of God at work in Israel TODAY. Many will tell you how the Lord revealed Himself in a dream or vision. Local ministry leaders can share how the Body has grown ten-fold in the last 20 years.

Getting to know the Body in the Land will introduce you to ways you and your church can partner with local ministries — and in turn receive blessings in return (See Genesis 12:3).

4. A trip to Israel will inspire you and increase your faith for your own nation. The blessing of God is on Israel. It’s very existence is a miracle you’ve got to see with your eyes to believe. Friends who return to Israel every few years marvel at the progress since their last visit.

Israel is a shining example, not only of how to survive, but thrive against all odds. With limited natural resources, a microscopic piece of real estate, and the existential threats of war and terrorism, the only explanation of Israel’s success is God.

5. Israel is teeming with history and culture. Whether visiting archaeological sites, roaming the museums, or an evening with the Israel Philharmonic, you will be enriched.

6. Israel is a great place for a vacation. You’re going to spend money on a vacation anyway, right? We have one of the most ideal climates in the world. If you come in the winter it’s possible to ski the snow-peaked Mount Hermon in the morning and swim with dolphins along the coral beaches of the Red Sea in the afternoon. We have three remarkable seas — the Med, the Red, the Dead — and of course, the Sea of Galilee around which the Lord did much of his public ministry.

7. You could even visit Israel for free. Yes, I said FREE. Most travel companies offer a free trip for every 7-10 people you bring with you. Now what’s your excuse? :)

I am convinced that a visit to Israel is a wise investment in your ministry and those you serve.

Have you been to Israel yet? What were some highlights. Did it enhance the quality of your ministry? If so, how? I’d love to hear from you.

Comments
  1. Jason says:

    Most defining moment of my walk following Jesus to date was my 1st trip to Israel with my sister a few years ago. I highly encourage others to step out of the boat and make the journey!

    And of course be sure to visit King of Kings when you are in country!

    Blessings from Birmingham, Alabama

    -Jason

  2. Ari Tabell says:

    Wayne,

    Everything you wrote is so true – thank you for the enjoyable thoughts. And thanks for inspiring us to come and visit Israel 12 years ago. It was a life-changing experience! The Bible became more alive when places and distances could be pictured in reality. A longer stay in the Land during the months to follow deepened the understanding of Israel’s position in the Middle East and the Bible prophecy. I believe it has added some accuracy and confidence to my teaching of the Word.

    God willing, my family and I will get to see how Israel has changed in a decade when we make a 12-day trip to Israel next summer :)

    Ari Tabell,
    Finland

  3. Susie Hirtzel says:

    I visited Israel for the first time in 1999 (second time in 2010) and that first visit literally changed my life. The Lord used that trip to ignite my love for His land and the Jews, which changed the focus of my ministry and my life. My most memorable moment on that first trip was praying early in the morning as I looked out over the Sea of Galilee. I hope to come back many more times.
    Susie Hirtzel
    Vancouver, WA.
    P.S. I love watching the broadcast from King of Kings on Sundays.

  4. For all of you interested in a tour to Israel visit our website http://www.cheaptours2israel.com and see how your dreams come true. We specialize in trips for Pastors, congregations and more. So visit our website and contact us as soon as possible.
    Visiting Israel is another way to bless the Land of Israel and the Jewish people.

    Visit Israel and your life will never be the same!

    Thank you Wayne for encouraging the people to visit Israel.

    Tamara Silverman
    Poriyya, Israel

  5. it has been many, many years since I last visited Israel…. putting aside the historical churches…. it truly is a land to relish! and beyond breathtaking! and it is time to go back and visit once again…on a different plain…. and something one truly cannot rightfully explain!!

  6. and thank-you as well, for encouraging people to visit Israel!

  7. I too am Jorsalafar!
    Going to Israel for the first time in 2007 was a breakthrough in my life and ministry. Our God and Father is so full of grace and mercy; my right hand didn´’t wither even though I had forgotten Jerusalem!
    I have wanted to go every year since and have missed only one time. We are going there again in 3 weeks! This time along with friends who have never been there before, so exciting.
    And about vacation; yes why not enjoy the wonderful climate and atmosphere of the Med in Israel? You can do just like you would do going to Greece, Spain or Italy: Take a plane and rent a car. Then you are ready! And even better than the other Med countries: They almost all speak English and signs are often in English!

    • Niels, great to hear your own personal experience. I hear it time and again from people who see the Land with their own eyes….and so many plan to return as soon as they can. Appreciate your input!

  8. Francis Raj says:

    Yes! I would like to take up the FREE offer to visit Israel. I live in virginia, USA.

  9. In our family, we always loved and supported Israel, it is something that started with my mother and passed to all of us in our house. Last year my parents sent me and my sister to Israel, we spent six months in there as a volunteer between our messianic brethren.I felt totally in love with that place! During the time there, we didn’t see so many places, we spent most of the time around Yerushalaim.
    But the live there, to know real people and real places, to see the reality, to actually feel it, is something else, it is explainable, it turned the love into a different level! The Lord blessed us very much in that beloved Land. We dream so much to go back, but this time we pray to be able to go with my whole family!

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