Full-Time Ministers Spearhead the Preaching Work
Possibly the first one of Jehovah’s Witnesses to call on you was a full-time pioneer minister or a missionary. Since Jehovah’s Witnesses do not have a paid ministry, you may have wondered how these people could engage in the ministry full time.
All of Jehovah’s Witnesses who are dedicated and baptized are ministers, but the greater number have family or other obligations that prevent them from devoting more than a few hours a week to their ministry. However, thousands of Witnesses the world over have cut back on their standard of living so they can cover their reduced expenses with part-time work and then devote 1,000 hours or more a year to the ministry.
True, the full-time pioneer ministers do not have as much money to spend on themselves, but to them this is a way of seeking first God’s Kingdom. And they receive many blessings. Just being able to talk to others about God’s Word for 90 hours or so a month is a fine experience in itself. The full-time minister improves his skill in the ministry and also has the time to follow up on interest properly. This produces very encouraging results. They have what they need materially, and they appreciate very much what they have.—Matthew 6:33.
In February 1943, the Watch Tower Society established the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead. The purpose was to train experienced full-time pioneer ministers to serve as missionaries in foreign countries. The five-month course consists of a concentrated study of the Bible, Bible history, Jehovah’s organization, and related subjects in preparation for service in a foreign field.
The Society pays transportation to the missionary assignment and provides wholesome meals and modest living accommodations in missionary homes. It also supplies each missionary with a modest reimbursement for personal expenses. The missionaries take their turn in the operation of the home by shopping, preparing meals, and cleaning. With this reasonable care the missionaries are able to devote at least 140 hours a month to preaching from house to house and conducting Bible studies with interested people.
Many of these missionaries are assigned thousands of miles away from home and family. They have had to adjust to a different living standard and culture, to new eating habits, to a different climate, and to speaking another language. They are doing this work because they love people and have a strong desire to help them to learn about God’s Kingdom.
From 1943 through 1985, the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead conducted 80 classes and has sent out more than 6,000 missionaries. Under the supervision of the Society, these have spearheaded the expansion of Bible education throughout Africa, Central and South America, the Orient, and the South Pacific, and they have accomplished much in Europe.
Whether Jehovah’s Witnesses engage in the ministry full time as pioneers or as missionaries or part time, they serve without financial gain. They are spending of their own time and money, and of themselves, to help others get the knowledge that leads to everlasting life.—John 17:3.
• How are some of Jehovah’s Witnesses able to devote their full time to the ministry, and why do they do this?
• How are ministers trained for the missionary work?
• How are missionaries supported in their foreign assignment?
[Pictures on page 22]
Left: Gilead School classroom, Brooklyn, N.Y., U.S.A.
Right: Missionary teaching God’s Word in Papua New Guinea
[Pictures on page 23]
Pioneer ministers and missionaries preaching God’s Word in various countries
Sierra Leone, Africa