The Theocratic Ministry School Brings Benefits
1-5. What training does the ministry school provide to aid us in our service to God?
1 How does Jehovah train us as his servants to be effective in the ministry? It is done through his organization. In many lands the training starts with as basic a skill as learning to read. For those who have learned to read and write, the next step is to enroll in the Theocratic Ministry School.
2 This school provides free training for the ministry. It serves the congregation in two ways: (1) The individual student is given a program of study that helps him to improve in ability to gather, develop and present information logically to others; and (2) the entire congregation receives much valuable information in the course of each week’s program. Improved spiritual appreciation and ministerial activity are sure to result.
3 The program in each country is arranged by the Watch Tower Society’s branch office and a yearly schedule is provided. The program depends, of course, on the publications available in the language or languages of the country. Principally it centers around the Bible.
4 A number of helpful talks are presented by students each week. The principal one is called the instruction talk and is somewhat longer than the others. It is assigned to a capable brother, so that the congregation may gain the fullest benefit from it. The other talks are brief and may be assigned to male or female as the school schedule may provide. One of the shorter student talks, depending on the local schedule, may be a reading from the Bible. Other talks will develop assigned themes and perhaps be given a practical setting, if appropriate to the material. Assignments handled by sisters will often take the form of a presentation in the house-to-house ministry, perhaps a discussion at a return visit or after a Bible study, informal witnessing, or a conversation with members of one’s own family or another publisher.
5 In small congregations composed entirely of women all the material can still be covered. How? By informal reports, discussions between two sisters, questions and answers or simply reading the published information.
6. What qualifications are needed on the part of the school overseer?
6 School overseer. A Theocratic Ministry School overseer is appointed in each congregation. He should be a qualified teacher. He ought to have a good knowledge of Bible truth and a practical working knowledge of the language of most of his students. He needs to be tactful and kind. Spiritually, he should be an “older man.” It is his service to enroll you as a student, assign you talks and offer you kindly and constructive counsel.
7. What factors are considered when assigning talks?
7 The school overseer keeps a record of those enrolled, mainly for the purpose of making assignments. These talk assignments are ordinarily issued at least three weeks in advance in writing. This gives you time to analyze and prepare the material for delivery. The school overseer is aware that there are people of various levels of education in the congregation, and so he makes assignments with this in mind. He tries not to give a very young student a theme that would be unsuitable for one of tender years. He seeks to give equal opportunity to each enrolled student to share in the program.
8. Why are student speakers given a signal when their time is up?
8 Of course, when the school is held, it should be kept on schedule. So, when student talks run overtime, the school overseer or an assistant will give a signal. The student may complete the sentence he is on and then he should leave the platform.
9-12. In what ways does the school overseer show his interest in the progress of those who give talks as well as all in the congregation?
9 The school overseer counsels each student in the hearing of the entire congregation, because others besides the immediate speaker can benefit from it. Commendation is always in order. In fact, the counselor will be eager to encourage you. Constructive counsel will be offered on specific points listed on the Speech Counsel slip, points on which you have been asked to work. (See details in Study 20.) The school overseer will put forth an effort to become personally acquainted with your needs as a student, and he will be keenly interested in your progress.
10 He is also eager to make each session of the school a blessing to all in the congregation. He will encourage you to participate to the extent that you are able, to offer comments during the regular oral review and to share in the periodic written review. If you have not enrolled, he will encourage you to do so, helping you with your difficulties and showing you how you too can be an effective praiser of Jehovah.
11 The Theocratic Ministry School overseer also has the privilege of helping you as an enrolled student if you need assistance with your assignments, visiting you at your home where convenient. If there is not sufficient time to devote to this, he will invite mature brothers and experienced speakers to aid him. You parents, too, can assist greatly by extending such help to your own children, not to prepare the talks for them, but to offer suggestions and direction as to the necessary research and preparation. If you are training a new publisher in the field ministry, you might be invited to assist that same one to prepare his assignments in the ministry school.
12 The Theocratic Ministry School library at the Kingdom Hall is under the supervision of the school overseer. He will do what he can to demonstrate to new ones how they may avail themselves of its store of Bible knowledge. He should endeavor to have all the latest publications of the Society, as well as other helpful reference books, on the shelves, available to students and others.
13-17. How is the progress made by students readily evident to others?
13 Benefits to students. When you are given an assignment in the school, eagerly accept it as coming to you through Jehovah’s organization. Likewise receive and apply in all humility the counsel offered. The suggestions given you by the counselor can be applied both in your daily speech and in your ministry. By putting forth the effort to learn and apply the information provided in this school, you will benefit greatly.
14 Those who attend and share regularly in the school program find that their comments at meetings are greatly improved, and their participation in the field ministry is much more effective. And the school equips male students to prepare and present talks that stimulate and motivate the hearers, whether they are conducting parts on the service meeting programs or giving public lectures. Many, as a result of Theocratic Ministry School training, have been able to give a fine defense before courts and rulers, while others have spoken to school or social groups.
15 A student will also find, when he applies in his daily speech and conversation counsel received on student talks, that deeply ingrained, poor speech habits will be eliminated in time. Whether at a place of secular employment, at a public school or elsewhere, our training as Jehovah’s Witnesses soon becomes apparent to observers. As one well-known magazine expressed it: “In a few months, new Witnesses study the Bible harder than most Christians do all their lives. And it is no accident that almost all of them become poised and polished speakers.”
16 It is good for each one of us in the congregation to have a goal so that we can determine what advancement we are making in the ministry. Such goals can usually be tied in closely with the degree of progress made in the Theocratic Ministry School. For example, do you feel you are unequipped to call back on interested ones and to answer their questions? Much of the material presented and demonstrated at the school is useful for just these situations.
17 For maximum benefit to be gained, the school should not be viewed as merely a forty-five minute weekly course. Rather, if you are a serious student, you will want to follow through on the program of home study and preparation, including Bible reading and other necessary research. Not only the student speakers, but all of us in attendance at the school sessions will gain in knowledge and ability as Jehovah’s ministers if we prepare the current week’s lesson in advance.
18-20. Why should we not allow lack of personal ability to hold us back from sharing fully in the school?
18 All are encouraged to give their best, particularly having in mind the purpose of the school. It is not to give a display of speaking ability. Nor is it to show up the weaknesses and difficulties of some. Indeed, the motive with which we approach the school’s activities will to a large degree govern the extent of the benefit we shall gain. It is part of Jehovah’s educational system. He is teaching us and training us for his purpose. There is no need for any student to be concerned about the impression he makes, for we are not trying to please men or conform to purely human standards of teaching and speech. We are interested in gaining God’s approval and his blessing on our ministerial activity.
19 True, some brothers and sisters may feel as did Moses when he said to Jehovah: “I am not a fluent speaker, neither since yesterday nor since before that.” (Ex. 4:10) But if you have faith that nothing is impossible with God, you will overcome that initial feeling. (Matt. 19:26) Also, you can reason that any improvement in your ability to speak forth the Word of life is well worth the effort required. Even a small improvement may result in directing someone into the way of life, and would not that be cause for rejoicing?
20 The prime purpose of the Theocratic Ministry School is training for ministerial work. May you be one of the multitude who regularly attend and seek its benefits, and then see Jehovah’s blessing upon your efforts to progress.—Phil. 3:16.