Jews for jesus leader Moishe Rosen probably knows as much as any missioner about New Yorkers and their attitude toward the gospel. He sent most of his full-time staff (52 workers) to the city last summer for a 60-day evangelistic blitz.

“Chiefly, we were going for contacts, which would be developed later on,” Rosen explained, noting that staff members distributed about 2.5 million broadsides, or tracts, to New Yorkers. From those, roughly 6,125 persons (the “contacts”) inquired further about the gospel message—900 of them Jews.

Rosen feels strongly that New York should be approached just like a foreign mission field. After years of studying the city and its people, he speaks of New York as “our apple.” He says Jews for Jesus is determined to evangelize the city—both its large Jewish population and its Gentiles. He gives evangelicals this challenge: “Seriously pray about seeking employment in New York City. Sell your car, house, and move to one of those cramped apartments and be a witness.”

His message to leaders of denominations that have churches in the city: “Regard your churches there as in a foreign mission field. Send them financial aid. Realize that workers there need a cultural reorientation to the city.”

Rosen offers these other insights into New York:

• “The city has an effect of desensitizing people—they’re not feeling as much about anything.”

• “New Yorkers enjoy conversation. It is one of the few cities where strangers will talk on the street.”

• “They’re readers. They read virtually anything. Many take two daily newspapers. The public library is one of the busiest spots in New York.”

• “You’re not going to reach a New Yorker by being a down-home hick. You must read, keep up with current events, travel … many New Yorkers regard religion as willful ignorance.”

• “There is a concept of belonging in New York. Residents judge if you do or you don’t.”

• In the city’s Jewish population, “many regard themselves as being culturally superior. They can be confrontive and intimidating to an on-the-street Christian witness.”

• “Door-to-door canvass is virtually impossible. There are no single family dwellings in Manhattan other than mansions. And virtually all the apartment buildings have locked outer doors. So you’ve got to meet the people where they are.”

• He gives “bouquets” to the new Alternatives magazine for communicating what’s happening among evangelicals in the city, to Christian radio station WFME-FM, so helpful that “we always tell new believers to tune in,” and to Logos Bookstore, for selling good Christian literature. “One of the best ways to reach New York is through the Christian media.”

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