The Messianic Jewish Theological Academy (MJTA) is a theological training institution offering an academic degree in theology with the goal of preparing individuals who are called to leadership roles in the Messianic Movement and for different ministries of the Gospel among the Jewish people.
The master’s program is based on an interactive concept including the appropriate courses, short intensive modular classroom/live-online sessions, group work, presentations, and internships. These are combined with self-study under ongoing supervision of the academic mentors. Through this combination, the study can be designed to be family and employee-friendly and is thus possible extra-occupationally, allowing students to continue their life and ministry environment without major disruption.
The MJTA is currently a project of Beit Sar Shalom Ministry (Beit Sar Shalom Evangeliumsdienst e.V.).
Membership and Accreditation
The MJTA is a member of the European Council for Theological Education (ECTE, formerly EEAA – European Evangelical Accreditation Association) and is pursuing accreditation in partnership with ECTE, as well as through other accredited theological schools (including in the United States). The Academy is scheduled to begin with the Fall semester, 2019.
The mission of the Messianic Jewish Theological Academy is to prepare leaders—according to their particular gifts and calling —for Jewish outreach and for the Messianic movement in Germany and Europe.
The Academy’s theological study is under the overarching mission to spread the word of the Gospel to the glory of God all over the world. The focus of this mission sees the MJTA in the service of the Jewish people.
The coursework aims at a healthy integration of theological reflection and practical ministry as well as the development of a godly character. It is equally important to the mission of MJTA to help student development in practical love for the people of Israel.
Servant leadership is a central value of the MJTA and is a trait that is exemplified by the faculty and staff. It is our aim that every student will receive spiritual and academic guidance that will help in the discovery and development of their spiritual gifts and calling.
The Messianic Jewish movement and Jewish outreach in Germany is only two-decades old and is still in a very early stage of growth. Its existing, as well as immerging leaders, urgently need training, mentoring, and equipping to enhance their ministry giftings and skills.
The Russian-Jewish, German-Jewish and Israeli context of this movement presents a particular need for discipleship, which are appropriate to the ethnic, cultural, and linguistic situation of this community.
The need for training Jewish-Messianic leaders is significant in Germany because of growing humanism resulting, in part, from an understandable post-Holocaust hyper-sensitivity. The leaders will be equipped to defend their faith and convictions to the Jewish community and the liberal ecumenical post-modern, (largely) post-Christian, German society.
The Russian-Jewish immigrants and the newly immigrated Israelis in Germany are open to the Gospel. There is a great shortage of competent workers to reach this target group. In addition, the new believers in this movement need to be encouraged, motivated, and trained to participate in the work of reaching the Jewish people of Germany (and Europe) with the Gospel and the planting of viable Messianic Jewish congregations in areas where there is presently no such witness. Such congregations not only serve the purpose of solidifying and building up the believing Messianic Jewish communities but are also a very strategic means of reaching out to the wider and diverse unsaved Jewish communities. These unique congregations help to bridge the ‘gap’ between the Jewish-Messianic and the wider Jewish community.
Spiritual formation and the development of godly character are given the highest priority at the Academy. A foundational belief is that the students as potential leaders shaped by the Academy must be first and foremost men and women of God whose lives are consecrated for Him and who will be good ambassadors for the Lord and for the school to the wider German and European community.
Because of the high degree of involvement in practical ministry, most of the MJTA leader’s service skills will be continually refined. The Academy requires all students to be a part of and serve in local congregations so that there is a holistic integration between knowledge, service, and the exercise of ministry giftings.
Operating as a Community
The school functions as a culturally appropriate learning community. The Academy is tailored to meet the cultural needs of its constituency which consists of primarily first and second generation Messianic Jewish immigrants from the former USSR as well as German Messianic believers. The particular needs of this group and their cultural uniqueness are taken into consideration. In addition, the high standards of the German culture are also taken into consideration so that the Academy functions on a level that is appropriate to the wider community.
An Integrated Approach
The Academy’s programs balance high quality academic, spiritual and personal formation and ministry effectiveness.
The Academy has a variety of learning activities that are designed to achieve varying outcomes. The programs of the MJTA are holistic in approach to learning which balances research, lectures, reflection, and practice. Students are encouraged to become astute in both academic research, practical ministry problem solving, and life-long learning skills and habits. Readings are assigned before the student participates in the week of modular lectures, then further reading, research and assignments follow the lectures, combined with ongoing ministry field work and mentoring. This holistic approach is meant to bring a healthy integration to theological reflection, life-transforming godly character, and ministry skills. Learning activities are tailored to fit each student’s giftings and callings in order to achieve an outcome for that student. This is possible based upon the teacher/student (mentor/disciple) ratio of a fruitful 1:7 which affords a high degree of individual attention and guidance to each student (see below).
The balanced approach is modeled in faculty and staff who demonstrate an integrated approach to learning, life, and ministry. Resident faculty members will be encouraged to do personal research, writing, publication, and ministry activity.
The structure of the MJTA is designed to train leaders holistically. Residential faculty functions as essentially teacher-mentors. Faculty members will ideally have up to seven student-disciples under their academic-mentor care. This is an ideal mentoring situation that affords a personal, accountable relationship between both the mentor and his student. It is a truism that more is caught than taught, and the goal of this mentoring relationship is to challenge students to pursue excellence in their research, studies, reflection, devotion and consecration of their lives and giftings to the Lord.
Annual enrollment is expected to begin with 10-15 students for four/four-and-a-half years. These students will be divided into two or more groups of a maximum of seven or eight students that will be placed under the direct supervision of one of the Academy’s resident faculty members. A constant interaction/mentoring/accountability between the teacher and student, combined with a healthy balance of theological knowledge, reflection and ministry experience, is the intended plan to see the formation of effective ministers.
The Academy’s mentoring program offers all students mentoring during their studies so that their own talents and abilities can be discovered and developed. Each mentor mentors several students academically while considering their personality, life-circumstances, and spiritual gifts. This allows for a personal and responsible relationship between mentor and student. The purpose of the mentor relationship is to challenge students to strive for the highest possible quality in their research, study, reflection, dedication, sanctification, and talents.
The programs are outcome-based, and students will be required to be in contact with their faculty mentor regularly and to also fill out and submit self-evaluation reports of their ministry experiences.
The Messianic Jewish Theological Academy is an integral part of the wider Messianic Jewish movement. In Germany it is the Fellowship of Messianic Congregations and Ministries. Beit Sar Shalom Ministry works together with the German Evangelical Alliance which also applies to the Academy.
Relationship with Local Churches
Beit Sar Shalom Ministry (the overseeing ministry covering of the Academy) has established, and continues to create, an excellent working relationship with existing evangelical churches and para-church organizations throughout Germany. It will help integrating students and graduates into the evangelical network of like-minded believers.
Networking with Other Theological Schools
The MJTA will be integrated into the wider theological education network within Berlin, Germany, Europe and beyond. Connections already exist with other theological schools in Europe (particularly through membership in the European Council for Theological Education) and abroad, as well as other German institutions of higher learning in order to facilitate a maximum integration. Programs of the MJTA are designed in such a way as to necessitate this integration for student electives by partnering with institutions which will provide the necessary electives for the Academy’s programs.
Servant leadership is a core value of the Academy, and a character trait modeled by the faculty and staff. The spirit of servanthood, along with creating opportunities to serve one another in the community, are encouraged, as well as providing practical opportunities to exercise servant leadership.
The reality of being in a community with students and professors of differing backgrounds (particularly immigrants from the former Soviet Union) will help to break unnecessary cultural boundaries.
Vocational and ministerial guidance is provided to the students and graduates. Each student will receive ministry guidance based upon their specific calling and giftings. For those in the Academic Master track, faculty mentors will offer them guidance and seek out relevant experts to help guide them. Additionally, a large percentage of graduates, both those pursuing the Academic track and those pursuing the Congregational Leader track, will have opportunity to partner with Beit Sar Shalom Ministry and other congregations in full-time service. A set of elective classes which is designed individually under supervision of a mentor will strengthen the vocational calling of each particular student.
The overarching vision of the MJTA is to see the nation of Germany and Europe, as a whole, impacted with the ministries of graduates who penetrate the culture as academic cultural influencers, congregational planters, and evangelists. School activities contribute to this broader vision of a transformed Germany and Europe, resulting from the presence of the Kingdom through the lives of Academy’s alumni.
The content of the MJTA’s program, its structure, pedagogical and spiritual formation strategies all contribute towards shaping a biblical world view for students and helping them learn to apply biblical truth in every area of their lives, e.g., marriage, community, congregation, academia, and secular society.
The Academy is a member of European Council for Theological Education (ECTE) and intends to implement the required assessment of the degree of success at achieving the Academy’s objectives and goals. The annual ECTE report will enable the Academy to take stock of progress, or alternatively, areas which require attention in order to better achieve goals. Partnership with other theological schools will naturally offer other venues for reviews and accountability. In addition to the formal ECTE internal review mechanisms, faculty and staff are also accountable to the Board of Beit Sar Shalom Ministry and will undergo an annual job performance review.
Encouragement for Continuing Education
The academic curriculum and employment of leading Messianic and evangelical scholars in their respective fields of expertise, combines with the ethos of the Academy for excellence in ministry to encourage students to know and understand (and integrate into practice) a very high level of knowledge, reflection, and practice, based upon the curriculum. The faculty encourages self-discovery and personal life-long learning skills and will be encouraged to engage students—helping them, through questions, answers and creative reflection for theoretical and practical problem solving.
The Academy will emphasize upon life-long learning. That students love the Lord with all their hearts, souls, strength, and minds, is a hallmark value of the school. Both the German cultural milieu and the Jewish worldview naturally empowers students to engage in both the German and Jewish communities. Since both the German (Christian and secular) community and the Jewish (religious and secular) community embrace a high ethos of learning and life-long learning, the Academy context will demand the same for its students.
In addition to the above, the MJTA will host ongoing seminars that students and alumni will be encouraged to participate.
The faculty are theologically trained and subscribe to the core doctrines of the European Evangelical Alliance.
Modular courses will be taught by Messianic and Christian scholars who are experts in their particular areas of research both in Germany and from the abroad.
The Academy will organize, plan and provide reading materials and seminars to better equip the faculty and staff. The Academy will take advantage of the expertise of select leaders who can come and meet with faculty and staff to offer their wisdom, counsel and experience based upon their institutional and academic experience. The Academy will also send faculty to other schools to learn from their experience.
Initial administration of the Academy will overlap with the existing administration of the Beit Sar Shalom Ministry headquarters in Berlin which will be cost efficient and effective.
Administrative staff is encouraged to engage as life-long learners and also participate in auditing courses and seminars to continually improve their knowledge and ministry skills.
The staff of the Academy is international, some of whom have lived, studied, taught and ministered in different countries, particularly in the U.S. and Israel, which provides a link with the world-wide Messianic and global evangelical movement.
Currently, the Academy functions as a project of Beit Sar Shalom Ministries and the leadership, as well as the planning team, are accountable to the Board of this organization.
Initially, the governance of the Academy will have legal status through the structure of the Beit Sar Shalom ministry. Establishing a more specific Academy board will also be reviewed. In either case, there will not be a conflict of interest in legal operation, governance or decision-making procedures. The creation of a more Academy specific board would enable it to address the structure and decision-making procedures of the school in a more focused manner. As we proceed with partnering for the sake of accreditation, the partner accrediting the program will of course have a significant influence and the Academy might function as an extension site and therefore under the authority of the partner as well.
The MJTA will offer a four/four-and-a-half years (to be determined) Master’s Degree. The delivery methods are mixed—residential students and modular summer/winter residence students accompanied by online options. Biblical teaching and theology (and languages) is the heart of the core curriculum of studies.
As previously stated, annual enrollment is expected to begin with 10-15 students. Each student will take 15 (the exact number is still to be determined) hours of elective courses, which will be based on individual needs, personal ministry plans, and availability of classes. Some electives will be taken at German and/or overseas universities and seminaries. Most internships and electives will take place at locations other than the Beit Sar Shalom Ministry Messianic center building.
Lectures will be offered by the residential faculty and guest-professors in class and live-online platforms. In exceptional cases it is possible to record the lectures from other locations and countries.
An appropriate library is being built at the Beit Sar Shalom Messianic center. Additionally, the library of the Free University of Berlin (approximately a 20-minute walk) will be accessible for the students. Because many students will not necessarily reside in Berlin, an online library access will be arranged.
The curriculum, mentoring structure, and practical ministry/field work are all designed with very specific attention towards the particular context of the Academy’s constituency. This context relates to the needs of Jewish believers (mostly from former USSR) in the midst of a highly secular, liberal, ecumenical, post-Christian German context. On the one hand, stands the liberal German church, strongly opposed to Jewish evangelism (based on the obvious past history and the need for political correctness with the existing Jewish community inside and outside Germany) and, on the other hand, stands the German (and European) Jewish community, dusting itself off from the ashes of the Holocaust in its attempt to ordain new rabbis in Germany and rebuild the German Jewish community, which has grown rapidly due to the massive immigration from the former USSR.
Please visit the curriculum page for a detailed list of classes.