In 1998, Steven Barry Kaplan, a Jewish believer in Jesus living in Atlanta, Georgia, believed God called him to Jewish Outreach. Steven began volunteering with various Jewish missions throughout the world.
In 2001, David Brickner, Executive Director of Jews for Jesus, recruited Steven for an eight month assignment as a "Tiger Team" Missionary. Steven went from city to city doing street evangelism in conjunction with the "Behold Your God" Campaigns throughout the United States and in South Africa.
In 2002, Steven's Southern Baptist church appointed him as a faith-supported missionary to the Jewish people and later licensed him. Steven continued to volunteer with Jews for Jesus, Rock of Israel and other Jewish missions. Steven prayed about a t-shirt that could be used for Jewish Outreach, and God gave him the idea of a Jewish star with the words "Jesus Loves You" inside which proves to be a great conversation starter especially with Jewish people. Steven wore and equipped others with the "Jesus Loves You" t-shirt while ministering in Atlanta, Georgia and some 25 countries worldwide. He distributed hundreds of thousands of Gospel tracts and prayed with hundreds to receive Jesus.
Several Jewish people Steven ministered to in Atlanta, came to faith, and Steven began hosting a weekly Bible Study Fellowship in 2005.
In May 2007, "Jesus Loves You" t-shirts were made in Spanish and in August 2007, "Jesus Loves You" t-shirts were made in Russian.
In 2007, Steven's church encouraged him and helped him to start Jewish Outreach International. Steven recruited some of his supporters to serve on the board of directors of this new Jewish mission. In December 2007, the Internal Revenue Service recognized Jewish Outreach International as an official 501(c)(3) non-profit, and we began operating on January 1, 2008.
In March 2009, Moishe Rosen, the founder of Jews for Jesus, joined the Board of Directors of Jewish Outreach International and endorsed Steven's ministry.
In July 2009, Eddie and Lura Beckford, laborers in Arad, Israel, joined the staff of Jewish Outreach International. In October 2009, Jewish Outreach International began working with the Beckfords to establish a Messianic Outreach Community Center in Arad, Israel.
By the end of 2009, believers in 79 Countries and US Territories were equipped with over 20,000 "Jesus Loves You"
t-shirts. Our staff and t-shirts have appeared in documentaries, on television programs, in newspaper articles and on radio programs the world over.
In September 2010, Steven Kaplan was certified, by the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, as an Interfaith Evangelism Specialist on Judaism.
In December 2011, Steven started selling our evangelistic t-shirts (and other evangelistic items) at Messianic Conferences. Eventually, “I Love Israel”, “I Love Yeshua”, “Yeshua Loves You” Jewish star and Hebrew “Yeshua Loves You” t-shirts were added to our collection of t-shirts and sweatshirts.
As of January 2015, approximately 30,000 shirts have been distributed worldwide in over 90 countries.
In September 2018 Steven Kaplan's "God Stories from the Jewish Mission Field" was published. In May 2019, God Stories was reviewed and endorsed by the Lausanne Consultation on Jewish evangelism.
In June 2019 Cyril Gordon joined the staff of Jewish Outreach International.