A Foot in Two Worlds

Justin Kron

Justin Kron is the founder of the Kesher Forum, an inter-denominational learning community for those who are interested in the historical relationship between Judaism and Christianity and who desire to build authentic friendships between Christians and Jews in the Chicagoland area.

Justin Kron shares his story:

I have two values that drove me to start the Kesher Forum (https://justinkron.com/kesherforum/). The first is that Jewish people deeply matter to Jesus. Therefore, I believe they should deeply matter to us. The second is that Jesus himself was Jewish. Therefore, I believe his Jewishness should matter to us. The Kesher Forum is primarily for believers who are interested in these two values. We are also using the Forum as a way to engage better with our Jewish friends and neighbors.

These values come out of my background. My mother was Jewish but she came to faith when I was five years old. The same family that led her to the Lord led me to Lord when I was eight. I grew up with a foot in both worlds, the Jewish world and the Christian world. My ministry is an expression of what my life has been, which is trying to build bridges between the two.

I want to help Jewish followers of Jesus and I want to help the Church understand that Jewish people who believe in Jesus don’t have to check their Jewish identity at the door. If you look at the lives of early believers like Paul and the other apostles, they maintained a very strong Jewish identity. They never saw themselves outside the Jewish community. Maybe in disagreement ideologically with others in the community, but never as no longer being Jewish.

One of the main ways I go about helping people engage with the Jewish roots of the faith is to take groups to Israel to actually walk on the rich soil of our faith. Twenty years ago in partnership with Chosen People Ministries I started something we called eXperience Israel (https://events.chosenpeople.com/experience-israel/). It’s a spiritual pilgrimage of faith and service designed for 18 to 35-year-olds. We spend part of our time engaging with different ministries who are doing some great work. Then we do the more typical “walk where Jesus walked” tour and study God’s Word on location. To date I’ve had the honor of leading over 20 tours for young adults and groups of all ages.

The biggest project I’m involved in right now is a film I’m producing about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict called Hope in the Holy Land, www.hopeintheholyland.com. It deals with something I’ve seen up close many times, the conflict and injustices that affect Christians, Jews and Muslims. As I wrote in my blog about a conversation I had with a Palestinian Christian in Bethlehem:

To help me understand what happens to Palestinians who (quite literally) give ground to Israel, he told me about his father’s friend who was shot in the face and later died of his wounds for being accused of selling land to a Jew, a “crime” long considered punishable by death according to the PA.

https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/a-day-of-blessings-and-curses-in-the-west-bank/.

I want the next generation to understand the crucial spiritual and geopolitical issues involved. The people living in the Holy Land have voices that the world needs to hear. As Yossi Klein Halevi says, “One of the main obstacles to peace is an inability to hear the other side’s story.”

Passover to Pinnacle

Mark Chassman, who is a Jewish believer, heard me teach on Jesus in the Passover at a church here in Chicago and we became friends. After he got involved with the Pinnacle Forum, he invited me to visit. It clicked right away. I found it to be a great environment that encouraged me to stay focused on the calling God had given me.

The counsel and advice I get from the guys in our group are wonderful. It’s great getting together every few weeks and being challenged to do the best I possibly can for God. Hopefully, I encourage the guys to be doing the same. I value the network of men who are very committed to impacting culture, which is exactly what I’m trying to do.

How can people believe they can run this race alone? We all need a safe environment where we can talk to others who care about how we’re doing spiritually and about our impact on our culture. Everyone can benefit from being in relationships that care about both these aspects. Some people have found this in the local church, but I haven’t been able to find that exact makeup of men there. The Forum provides an environment where I’m with a bunch of guys who are in similar spaces and can speak very directly to me about what I’m doing and what I might need to be doing better.

I would say to perspective Partners, if you’re looking for a safe and encouraging environment to grow and be challenged to become all that God has called you to be, then a Pinnacle Forum group is one of the best environments to get that.

My wife has been very supportive. She knows this is a priority and she can see the benefits for me. She highly regards the men I meet with and knows they’re going to be speaking truth and wisdom into my life. What wife wouldn’t want that for her husband?

Justin and his wife, Judy are participating members at the North Shore congregation of Willow Creek Community Church in Glenview, Illinois where Justin serves on the Leadership Advisory Council. Contact him if you’re interested in information about tours to the Holy Land or the Hope in the Holy Land film, justinkron@me.com.

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