Forever Changed

One trip to Israel was all it took to make me repriotize my life and ministryc-PastorsHeart


After 19 years of international ministry, a weekly television broadcast, establishing a consultancy for pastors and other initiatives, I have experienced something that has caused me to entirely rethink my approach to ministry and also my theology. It has changed the way I prioritize, the way I preach and the way I pastor. This life-changing encounter was with the land of Israel.

After sailing in a boat on the Sea of Galilee, standing in the Garden of Gethsemane and peering into the field where the battle of Armageddon is to take place, I realized that much of my ministry had been based upon personal introspection—what I had read and what other scholars had interpreted. Moreover, we often allow English grammatical rules to interpret biblical text and biblical culture.

However, Western theology often opposes Eastern thought. For instance, the Western mind argues the truth; thus we have so many denominations and different reformations. But the Eastern mind simply obeys the truth. In the past, this difference in approach would have inhibited me from fully absorbing the Scriptures. But my trip to this unique place changed all that. I can now personally identify with Naaman the leper who took soil from Jerusalem back to his native land of Syria, so that he could stand upon it and worship the God of Israel.

Through traveling to the Holy Land in 2010 on a leaders tour with Robert Stearns, I developed close relationships with three fellow Western New York pastors I never really had relationship with before. Yes, I had to travel to this unique place on the other side of the globe in order to get to know my neighbors who live 30 minutes away! Since sharing this profound experience, we have become the best of friends. We have eaten together, golfed together, visited in one another’s homes. 

We are still reaping the benefits of the rich deposit Jerusalem made in us by enjoying Christian fellowship and real communion. Israel will never be the same in any of our ideologies; it has become a part of us. We have walked the land, smelled the air, tasted its fruit. For once you have shared an authentic, transmogrifying experience in the place your 
kinsmen redeemer was born, died and rose again, you are bound to one another through a holy bond.

In order to involve our respective congregations in this work of koinonia, we even did a “pulpit swap” during the Christmas advent season. Only God could bring together those from different cultures, different creeds, different ethnicities in such a cohesive work of unity. The God of Israel is the single common denominator to unite mankind, which He has done for me and my brethren in such a tangible way. 

I count it an honor, as a citizen of a nation little more than 200 years old, to have the privilege of speaking to the people of Israel, who date back millennia. How interesting that, just as they have informed my ministry, I now clearly see that my ministry has a call to impact them. I am called to affirm their belief in God; to thank them for their faithfulness and endurance and for giving me my Messiah, whose life I am now able to demonstrate back to them in brotherly love. 

I testify to the fact that this uniquely special place holds a pivotal meaning for your relationships, your sanctification and your life’s work. Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, wants to introduce you to His family.

If you are a ministry professional who has never been to the land of Israel—like I was—go. Before you develop another sermon series, schedule another expansion meeting or put energy into the new vision God has laid upon your heart, do this one thing that cannot be replaced by any other thing. Better yet, go to Israel with my dear friend and brother Robert Stearns, and benefit from the favor, insight and anointing that marks His relationship to Israel. Just as Israel’s Ministry of Tourism promises, “You’ll never be the same.”

Roderick Hennings is the founding pastor of Zion Dominion Global Ministries, the largest Church of God In Christ church in New York state.

Ministry Today Subscription Special - Subscribe to Ministry Today magazine today and get 12 issues (2 full years) plus Amplified Leadership, a free leadership book for only $24.

Order Life in the Spirit to actively grow your ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit. Your congregation will stay saturated in God's Word, learn to hear His voice, understand their purpose and calling and move into an active role in your ministry.

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
  • Jentezen Franklin encourages church leaders to encourage their flocks to vote their values.

    Why We Must Count the Cost—and Vote

    There is a propaganda war that is raging in this country, and it is full of manipulation, lies, ...

  • Have you ever had a cringe moment during your church announcements?

    The 7 Deadly Sins of Church Announcements

    Sometimes they just miss the mark, albeit unintentionally.

  • Peace is indeed attainable in this selfish world. Just look for it in the right place.

    Finding Peace in a Fallen and Selfish World

    You can have peace in this world. Just stop looking in the wrong places.

  • Praying for leaders

    Failing to Do This Can Spell Disaster for the Church

    And it has the potential to destroy many lives.

  • Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Watch how God can take one spark and turn it into a wildfire that impacts your ministry, your community and even future generations.

  • Why did you choose the church you attend?

    7 Key Reasons People Choose a Church

    The real issue is not the intrigue of this research; it is what you and your church will do about ...

  • Church members argue

    12 Reasons Church Staff Conflict May Arise

    This is not unique, but among these there are some that seem more pervasive than others.

  • Prestonwood Church in Dallas

    What Leaders Can Learn From Prestonwood's Jack Graham

    Leaders don't have to know everything, but they need to give their staff what Graham gives his.

  • Some of these reasons for leaving the church are simply not plausible.

    7 Reasons People Leave Their Church During Crisis Times

    Some of the excuses are pretty extreme and, quite frankly, lazy.

Use Desktop Layout
Ministry Today Magazine — Serving and empowering church leaders