Congregation Shemen Sasson: A Joyful and Innovative Community
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers… And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” Acts 2:42, 46-47
Fostering Joy Through Community
Community. We all desire a place to belong and people to identify with—a cadre of like-minded individuals to walk through life with us and to share the twists and turns of the journey together.
Shemen Sasson is such a community. This ethnically-diverse Messianic fellowship in downtown Jerusalem daily endeavors to meet the real needs of many who are seeking fellowship with other believers as they follow Yeshua. This is a place where all are welcome—to learn about Yeshua, to worship together and celebrate life events, to uphold one another in prayer, and to consistently encourage each other.
“We want all who come through our doors to feel welcome and a part of our Shemen Sasson family. Our intention is to grow as a community as we lead people into the Kingdom.”
Shemen Sasson is committed to being a witness in Jerusalem of God’s enduring faithfulness. They equip congregation members through regular classes and offer practical tools to prepare both adults and children to be salt and light in their everyday life context. They place a strong emphasis on training children as the leaders of the next generation.
“We believe that only through Yeshua’s atoning sacrifice can man make peace with God, and that through his resurrection and ascension, we have hope for eternal life.”
As disciples of Yeshua residing in Jerusalem, this close-knit community has embraced the commission “to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy (shemen sasson) for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3
Innovation Through Service
One of the hallmarks of Congregation Shemen Sasson is their intentional community outreach. Families and youth from a wide variety of backgrounds have become well-acquainted with the congregation’s facility, staff and members – even if they are not a part of the congregation. How? Creative innovation.
It’s no secret. Rent prices in Jerusalem are absurd. Unlike the mega-church reality of the Bible-Belt, the average congregation size in Israel is around 100 people. This statistic is steadily changing as the Messianic Movement continues to flourish in Israel. However, at this point, congregational tithes and offerings often fall short of sustaining overhead costs and commercial facility rent. Believing organizations in Israel are perpetually faced with this reality. Thus, creative innovation is essential.
The pastor of Shemen Sasson was a trained counselor. And so, they expanded their community outreach by implementing new leadership training initiatives and a counseling center through the congregation. This reached even more people in the area and targeted specific felt-needs among the community.
Several years ago, the congregation developed a working partnership with a local sports training organization, whereby both organizations could utilize the same facilities at different times throughout the week. This arrangement allowed both organizations a secure facility and the opportunity to share the load of rental expenses.
As the sports facility grew, sharing the space with daily set-up and tear-down routines became increasingly challenging. Neither organization could sustain the full commercial rent alone. But even this problem was an opportunity in disguise. God birthed within each of these organizations new strategies. And Shemen Sasson is taking steps towards a vision that is slated to provide enough revenue to be fully self-sustaining over the next few years.
Most recently, even in the midst of a pandemic, Shemen Sasson embarked on a new path of innovation. A language school. This business-ministry partnership, although still in the early stages, is proving to be a dynamic success on many levels.
Whether in partnership with sports ministries, counseling services or language study initiatives, God is bringing growth and faithfully sustaining this joy-filled congregation. Through innovation and service, the people of Shemen Sasson are engaging their community with love and hope.
The oil of joy (shemen sasson) — an apropos description of this living, thriving congregation. This is a joyful, worshiping community, and their reputation precedes them. Shemen Sasson is known for a genuine spirit of worship, excellence in writing and producing dynamic music for the local Body of Messiah, and intentionally fostering unity through teaching worship seminars and initiating worship events with Hebrew and Arabic-speaking believers together.
“We believe that worship lifts us into God’s presence. Our worship services incorporate music that is a unique fusion of East and West, Ancient and New, being a natural expression of the special character of our city and nation.”
Belonging. Believing. Loving. Rejoicing. This is Shemen Sasson. A community that seeks to live God’s ways genuinely and grow in love for Him and others while sharing God’s grace with those around them. “That He might be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3
Join us as we pray for Shemen Sasson this week for:
A deep sense of unity and momentum for this congregation
Many more would encounter Yeshua through the lives and testimonies of the people at Shemen Sasson
Wisdom and vision for the leadership team
Fresh anointing for deeper worship and for composing new songs and melodies that will bless the Body of Messiah
Financial provision for all God has called them to do in Israel