Using the School to Improve Field Ministry
1. When preparing our student talks, what objective of the school should we keep in mind?
1 One of the main objectives of the Theocratic Ministry School is to help us to become more effective in the field ministry. Keep that in mind when preparing your assignments. Be interested not merely in acquiring knowledge for its own sake, but also in how you can put that knowledge to use in your preaching and teaching in the field ministry.
2. How might the practicing of student talks be done so as to give a witness?
2 Some make good direct use of their assignments by practicing them in the presence of friends, neighbors, schoolteachers, unbelieving family members and others who will listen. This accomplishes several things. The student can see the reaction of others and can make adjustments to improve the talk. Also, this can stimulate the other person’s interest in the Bible when he notes the valuable information being presented. It can be an avenue for inviting him to attend the ministry school. Many persons have been introduced to the Kingdom Hall in this manner. One Witness in Japan rehearsed her part for a ministry school program before a church member on whom she made a special visit. Her theme was “God’s people are instructed to get out of ‘Babylon.’” The lady showed interest and consented to a Bible study.
3. What will stimulate our use in the field ministry of what we hear in the school?
3 Think in terms of field service. In the ministry school you hear a wealth of excellent information, and much of it can be directly used in the field ministry. On the program we discuss such matters as reasons for believing the Bible, answers to doctrinal questions, fulfillment of Bible prophecies, explanations of specific scriptures, and how Bible principles can be applied in daily life. Seek to make opportunities to use this information in the field service. You do not have to wait for someone to ask a question about it. If it is appropriate, bring the subject up yourself. This will impress the information on your own mind and it will make you more versatile in the ministry.
4. How can the school help us to improve in our use of the Bible?
4 Direct use of the Bible is a prominent part of our work. But some publishers have difficulty in turning to appropriate scriptures quickly. Do you? If so, the school can help you to make solid progress. How? Follow every speaker on the ministry school with your Bible. When the speaker reads a scripture, always look it up in your own Bible. As you look up texts again and again, you will come to know them well and will learn just where to find them. What is needed is practice, and you can get that practice, not only when out in the field ministry, but every week when attending the school. Also, you can benefit from the study done by all the speakers. They select the most pointed texts on the topics assigned to them. As you follow the speakers why not underline the key portion of those texts that you believe you may want to use in your own ministry? You may also want to note them, along with the subject, inside the cover of your Bible. In this way you will find it easy to use in the field ministry what you are learning in the school.
5, 6. How will use of realistic settings for our talks help us?
5 When preparing your talk, careful choice of settings will also help you to realize benefits from the school in your field ministry. When possible, use situations that are actually encountered in the ministry. At times you may find that your talk lends itself to a house-to-house presentation or to informal witnessing. At other times it may be more practical as a return visit discussion. Or perhaps it can be a discussion built around a point that would come up at a home Bible study. Always endeavor to make the situation realistic. You can add to the realism of your talk at times by planning to have the householder reject what you say. Then you can show how to cope with that situation. Talks that lend themselves to field ministry situations do not always have to lead to immediate success; it is also of value to show how to cope with a lack of interest.
6 When you are assigned the part of a householder, you can also benefit in relation to the field ministry. Use this opportunity to try to understand how householders think, and why they raise the objections that they do. Your realistic portrayal of such a householder, and observing how the student speaker copes with the situation, will help to train you to be effective in the ministry.
7. In order to make regular progress, on what point might we seek to improve in our ministry during the course of each week?
7 When a talk is based on Theocratic Ministry School Guidebook, analyze the instruction from the standpoint of improving your own ministry, whether from house to house or elsewhere. Why not make that the big point on which to make improvement in your ministry that week? For example, when the talk is on the need for a theme, ask yourself if your presentation in the field ministry really has a theme. Do you make it stand out so clearly that householders really have it fixed in mind after you talk to them? If not, work on it that week. Then, too, you will hear material that deals with reading and applying scriptures. As you listen to this talk, analyze your own use of scriptures. Do you read them to the householder without explaining them? How do you tie the verses in with your theme? How do you apply them to the householder? Such an analysis can help to improve your reading and application of scriptures. Is the talk on the use of illustrations? How can you improve your use of illustrations? Or perhaps the talk will be about teaching at a home Bible study. Search your own methods to see how you can apply that material to teaching at your own home Bible study, and do it that week. In this way, you will be using what you learn in the Theocratic Ministry School to enhance your field ministry.
8. While out in the field service, how might we beneficially counsel ourselves?
8 Analyze your own presentation. In the school you regularly hear counsel given and observe its benefits. The school overseer may not be at the door with you in the field ministry, but why not make it a habit to counsel yourself? When you finish talking to a householder and are walking to the next home, ask yourself: What could I have done to be more effective? Knowing what I do now, if I could make that call again, what would I do differently? Such an analysis may help you that very day, because you may meet a similar situation at another home. If you make it a practice to analyze your presentations as you work, progress will be constant. Of course, when working along with another publisher, you can also ask your partner for suggestions.
9, 10. What might be done in home practice sessions to help us to apply in the field what we learn here?
9 A very fine method of improving the effectiveness of your presentations is to practice them with others, and then analyze them together. You can do this with members of your own family or with others in the congregation. Have them take the part of householders, bringing up common objections. When the objections are raised, handle them if you know how. If not, stop and get suggestions from those present. Then proceed, using some of the ideas offered. When you finish, analyze together the effectiveness of what was done. Such practice sessions at home can help to improve your presentation, and they also give you the opportunity to correct mistakes before you get out into the field. They can help you to extend the principles learned in the school to your field ministry. Remember, the apostle Paul said that mature persons are those “who through use have their perceptive powers trained to distinguish both right and wrong.” (Heb. 5:14) One way to sharpen perceptive powers is by using them in practice sessions.
10 The Theocratic Ministry School is one of Jehovah’s many generous provisions for our training. As we diligently learn and apply its lessons we shall be able to say with the prophet: “The Lord Jehovah himself has given me the tongue of the taught ones, that I may know how to answer the tired one with a word. He awakens morning by morning; he awakens my ear to hear like the taught ones.”—Isa. 50:4.