Prior to COVID-19, tours to Israel had been rapidly growing within demographics that you might not normally associate with being particularly interested in seeing the Holy Land, in part, due to our friends at Keshet Journeys’ fresh perspective on experiencing the land.
This greater demand means that experienced and like-minded Christian guides are constantly sought after – which is why Keshet has developed their own Israel Tour Leader course delivered online, with the intention of training the next generation of guides while also equipping pastors and preachers with the knowledge of a guide; all from the comfort of your own home.
Andy Hopper, Team Leader of the Hillsong Leadership Network, caught up with Moshe Gabay, one of the Directors of Keshet Journeys, to talk about how this course opens up some very exciting opportunities for a unique form of study and perhaps even an extra vocation for some pastors and preachers.
[ANDY] So how does a deeper understanding of the geographical and historical context of Biblical events help pastors and preachers?
[MOSHE] The Bible is full of references to time and location that form the setting within God’s message of salvation. No word in the Bible is in vain. The Holy Land is God’s Land, and He uses contextual references in order to create yet another layer of understanding of His Word. Understanding geographical and historical context leads to significant insights into the Biblical message.
[ANDY] What is the Israel Tour Leader course and who is it for?
[MOSHE] We created this course to tailor even better tours, with better content. We see the impact of our tours on people’s lives and how much it strengthens them in their walk of faith. The Holy Land is, in our perspective, the best educational tool to teach the Bible.
We’re always in pursuit of more “aha moments” in our tours, where leaders can connect the dots and can convey something life-changing. We believe the Israel Tour Leader course will contribute to that mission.
The online course combines teachings of top-level Israeli educators and experts, virtual tours to Biblical sites with our best tour guides, and input from pastors from around the world who love to tour the Land.
The course is a unique opportunity to gain tremendous knowledge of the homeland of Jesus from the comfort of your own home. Pastors, leaders, and anyone who would like to lead tours to Israel or wants to learn about the Land of the Bible are invited to take part in this mission.
[ANDY] What if they’ve never visited Israel themselves?
[MOSHE] There is no need to have visited Israel before, though we are pretty sure you will want to come as soon as you dive into the course. We have got you covered with virtual touring included in the curriculum and we will offer a special Israel tour for the alumni of the course as soon as the situation allows us.
[ANDY] How is the content you share within the Israel Tour Leader course different to what many pastors and preachers may have received within their traditional seminary training?
[MOSHE] The course combines different fields of expertise, thus offering a far broader approach than traditional seminary training. The local educators in the curriculum are considered to be worldwide leading experts in their respective fields. Seasoned and skilled in the Land of the Bible, they are able to share unparalleled information and perspectives. In addition, leading pastors provide spiritual input and insights, bridging the past, the present, and the future.
[ANDY] What kind of person would make a great tour leader?
[MOSHE] It is not mainly about knowledge or skills, but more about mission, personality, and flexibility. The goal of our tours is to let people have encounters with God, which cannot be directed, only facilitated. Each tour will demand a different approach to contribute to the mission, unplanned situations will occur and tour participants will have diverse needs. A great observer and great listener will therefore make a great tour leader.
[ANDY] Having completed the Israel Tour Leader course will there be an opportunity to be contracted out by Keshet to lead groups to Israel?
[MOSHE] Yes, by us and our travel agent partners around the world. While you may simply want to lead a group from your congregation, if you’d love to share you passion and knowledge of the Holy Land with other Christians we’re happy to connect you with potential groups and churches.
[ANDY] When do you think tours from other nations can start returning to Israel?
[MOSHE] It is hard to predict, but we’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. The Ministries of Health and Tourism just started a pilot program for 20 groups of vaccinated tourists. As part of this pilot, we will welcome our first group on June 6th. We hope regulations will continue to ease in the coming months. The recent flare-up between Hamas and Israel seems to have calmed down quickly. This together with the fast vaccine rollout and a close to zero infection rate, make me hopeful that we will be able to host you any time soon.
The Israel Tour Leader online course launches on June 14th, 2021, however you can take advantage of a pre-launch special 20% discount, plus receive a second enrolment for free. You can learn more about the topics covered and the instructors at IsraelTourLeader.com