God’s “purposes” never change (Psalm 33:11) because they are eternal. The ways we fulfill those purposes MUST change with every generation….No congregation can appeal to and reach everyone. You must define your target and know who you are most likely to reach. And you need to admit who you will likely never reach! That’s why we say: “It takes all kinds of congregations to reach all kinds of people.” In your case you need to ask: “Who can we best reach? Are they cultural Jews who’ve lost connection to their faith? Or have they not grown in their faith?” Methods are many; principles are few. Methods change often. Principles never do.
Pastor Rick Warren
Senior Pastor, Saddleback Church
The secret sauce of IKAR was that we lowered the bar for entry and raised the bar for engagement. We’re trying to make it so that everybody can feel at home here. But at the same time, we need it to be challenging and meaningful and demanding in ways that I think a lot of Jewish places shy away from. We’re asking: what would it mean if we actually ask something of people? What if we said: To be in this space, there’s something that we’re hoping you’ll give us. It’s not your cash; it’s your spirit, it’s your time, it’s your love. We’re asking you to open your hearts. You’re here anyway . . . you may as well try.
Rabbi Sharon Brous
Senior Rabbi, Ikar
Ron: I have a question. What was the Rebbe’s thinking in terms of sending a couple to one community for life?
Motti: Well, we all have our corner of the world that is waiting for each of us to uplift and bring light to—that doesn’t just mean geographic. It’s our avodah, our work, our purpose. And by divine providence, we end up where we end up, and we serve where we serve. You’re there to serve this community. It’s not a career. In a career, you advance yourself. A shlichut is a mission, a life’s mission. It’s not about you, but your calling and the people you’re serving and the community you’re serving, and you become part of the community. It becomes your family. You don’t move from family to family.
Rabbi Motti Seligson
Director of Media and Public Relations, Chabad-Lubavitch