Story Highlights:

  • Tom Meyer’s gift for memorization discovered at early age in Awana
  • Memorizing books of the Bible part of his ministry in Israel
  • "Awana provided a Christ-centered foundation for my life"

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A Modern-Day Joseph is Sowing God’s Word in Israel

Tom Meyer in Israel, where he's working to start Awana programs to reach young people

The books of Jonah, James and Revelation contain some powerful verses and life-giving truths that many Christians have committed to memory. But can you imagine reciting these entire books?

Tom Meyer, 33, can. The Awana alumnus memorized these books, most of Genesis and Psalms, the full books of Song of Solomon and Ruth and most of the minor prophets from Hosea through Malachi.

“Awana played a critical role in getting me interested in Scripture memory,” Tom says. “It provided a Christ-centered foundation for my life. If not for Awana, I might not be doing what I’m currently doing in ministry.”

Tom has taught and ministered the past three years with Wordsower, a ministry founded 25 years ago. Wordsower exists to help people speak the Word of God from memory in churches around the world.

“Wordsower tells the books of the Bible from memory in the Church and with the money raised, supports Christian orphans and widows in West Africa,” says Tom, who currently serves with Wordsower in Israel. “It’s a unique and irregular way to preach the gospel. It really widens the attention span of people compared to giving a regular sermon, when parts of the congregation tend to daydream or quibble with the interpretation of the preacher.

“I’m not teaching anything but simply reciting the Bible. In this way, I can talk in all kinds of churches in spite of theological differences.”

A biblical foundation in Awana
Raised in a Christian home in Lombard, Illinois, Tom attended Grace Baptist Church with his family. He participated in the whole Awana program from preschool through high school. His dad drove the church bus that took children to Awana each week. His mom served as a listener at their church. Tom also volunteered as an Awana leader for three years during Bible college.

At a young age, Tom recognized his knack for memorization. He regularly memorized the backs of baseball cards and now can see how God used this hobby to prepare him for ministry later in life. Even today, he can still recall many baseball stats.

Turning his back on worldly success
Helping run the family construction business looked like a promising and financially secure future for Tom. But as a young homeowner with a great job, he knew he was headed down the wrong path spiritually. He needed to be better equipped and trained to share his faith with others.

At age 25, he sold his house and possessions and enrolled at Shasta Bible College and Graduate School in Redding, California, to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Bible and theology.

At Bible college, Tom first got involved with Wordsower and became interested in pursuing further studies in the Holy Land. After graduating in 2006, he moved to Jerusalem, Israel to continue his education.

Israel: Where the Bible comes to life
“Jerusalem is the most mentioned place in the Bible—814 times,” Tom explains. “It is the baptismal font, the head of everything in Christianity. This city is considered the big leagues of Bible education.”

Tom enrolled in Jerusalem University College and Graduate School and earned a master’s degree in historical geography of Israel. He is currently working on another master’s degree in the Modern Middle East.

“This second degree places an emphasis on current events in the Middle East and knowing the thought and practice of the Jews, Muslims and Christians who live in this part of the world,” Tom says.

Life in Jerusalem
“Jerusalem is a very dark city spiritually speaking,” Tom says, “with false prophets galore and every kind of doctrine. So having been taught how to rightly divide the Word of Truth and firmly grounded by godly men has been absolutely vital to my spiritual life in this city.”

Tom attends Jerusalem Baptist Church, where he recites Scripture by memory each week. He is also committed to helping start Awana in Israel. Three Awana clubs exist in the West Bank but none in Israel. Tom serves at an Awana club near Bethlehem that ministers to 40 Arab children each week.

“Tom is very active in ministry besides being a full-time student,” says Chris Toriz, Awana regional director for the Middle East and North Africa. “He is active with the Jews for Jesus ministry and his Wordsower ministry.

“I have seen him witness to Arabs in the local sandwich shop near his school. I met him at church where he recited the whole book of Revelation at an evening service.”

Tom is passionate about sharing God’s salvation message and desires to continue in full-time ministry in Israel, serving with Wordsower, Jews for Jesus and Awana. He will do whatever is needed, including street evangelism, to spread the gospel in Israel.

“There are about 5,000 to 10,000 Israeli Jews who are born again and about 2,500 Christian expatriates in Jerusalem,” Tom says. “Over 100 evangelical churches can be found throughout Jerusalem. It is difficult for evangelists to stay in Israel unless you’re a full-time student. It’s hard to get a visa.”

The benefits of Scripture memory
For Tom, memorizing God’s Word takes discipline and hard work. The method that works best for him is writing out verses until he "owns it."

“It took me nine months to memorize Revelation,” Tom describes. “It’s hard for me and not easy. But the Word of God can change your life and draw you closer to Him.

“It’s important to memorize the Bible because it changes and conforms you more to the image of Christ. It puts His Word in you and makes you think and meditate on it more.”

Just as Joseph of the Old Testament set an example to Pharaoh and those around him in Egypt, Tom also desires to influence others for Christ. As a modern-day Joseph, he walks the streets of Israel sharing God’s Word and sowing Bible verses into the hearts of the people.

For more information on Tom’s ministry, visit his Web site.