AROUND the earth, in upwards of 200 lands, millions of students are benefiting each week from Theocratic Ministry School education. Some are new. Others have attended the school for many years. The school is conducted in tens of thousands of locations. Wherever you live on earth, the same program of education is available to you. People of all ages, ethnic groups, and educational backgrounds are receiving this theocratic instruction, free of charge.
When the school was inaugurated in congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1943, its purpose was stated in these words: “To prepare all ‘faithful men,’ those who have heard God’s Word and proved their faith therein, to ‘be able to teach others’ . . . to the one end of making each one . . . better equipped to publicly present the hope that is within him.” (Course in Theocratic Ministry, p. 4) The school’s objective has remained the same to this day.
Really, what is the best thing that any of us can do with our God-given gift of speech? The Bible answers: “Every breathing thing—let it praise Jah.” (Ps. 150:6) When we do that, we bring joy to the heart of our heavenly Father. We give evidence to him that our own hearts are responding with gratitude to his goodness and love. No wonder Christians are encouraged always to “offer to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips which make public declaration to his name”! (Heb. 13:15) With a view to helping you improve in your ability to use your God-given gifts to praise Jehovah, we welcome you as a student in the Theocratic Ministry School.
While public reading and the arts of speaking and teaching are given much attention in the school, the benefits of Theocratic Ministry School education are not limited to that. As you participate, you will be helped to cultivate such valuable skills as personal reading, listening and remembering, studying, doing research, analyzing and organizing, conversing, answering questions, and putting thoughts down in writing. The Bible itself and Bible-based publications will provide the basis for study and for comments and presentations given in the school. As you fill your mind with the precious truths found in God’s Word, you will learn to think God’s thoughts. How beneficial that can be in every aspect of life! Of the value of God’s Word, 20th-century university educator William Lyon Phelps wrote: “Everyone who has a thorough knowledge of the Bible may truly be called educated. . . . I believe a knowledge of the Bible without a college course is more valuable than a college course without a Bible.”
How to Benefit to the Full
Of course, in order to benefit fully from the education provided in the Theocratic Ministry School, you, the student, must make a personal effort. The apostle Paul urged his Christian associate Timothy: “Ponder over these things; be absorbed in them, that your advancement may be manifest to all persons.” (1 Tim. 4:15) In what practical ways can you apply yourself?
If at all possible, attend the Theocratic Ministry School each week. Make wise use of this textbook, Benefit From Theocratic Ministry School Education. Print your name in the space provided for it on the title page. Always bring the book with you when you attend the school. This textbook is also a workbook. When you read in it important points that you feel will help you, underline them. Use the generous margins to write down practical points that you learn during discussions at the school.
A printed copy of the program to be followed in the Theocratic Ministry School is provided separately. The schedule will also include details as to how the school will be conducted. You may find it practical to keep the schedule in this book, where it will be handy.
In preparing for the weekly school sessions, keep in mind that the Bible is the principal textbook. Give priority to reading any portion of the Bible that may be scheduled for the week. If you are also able to read in advance the material for the various program parts, this too will be very beneficial.
During the school, there may be opportunities for audience participation. Take full advantage of these. Getting involved in such discussions is an important factor in remembering what you hear and being able to put it to use in your personal life.
Of course, all students will have opportunities to give talks or demonstrations before the congregation. Make good use of each one of those opportunities. Really apply yourself to improve in whatever speech quality has been assigned to you. You will be given counsel with a view to your continued progress. Welcome that personal help. In your book, make a note of specific suggestions as to what you might personally do to improve. Since it is difficult for a person to perceive himself the way others do, the loving, Bible-based suggestions and counsel provided can contribute significantly to your progress. That is true even if you have been enrolled in the school for many years.—Prov. 1:5.
Would you like to make more rapid progress? If you show personal initiative, that can be done. Study in advance the material that is to be covered in each student talk. If a substitute speaker is needed, you will be in a position to volunteer, and that will give you more experience. When others give talks, listen carefully to how they handle the material. We learn from one another.
Additionally, if your circumstances permit, you can accelerate your progress by personally studying ahead in this textbook. After you have learned well what is in the next 15 studies, proceed to work your way through the “Program for Developing Ability as a Speaker and a Teacher,” beginning on page 78. First, study each lesson, and do the exercises that are outlined in connection with it. Apply in your ministry what you are learning. This can greatly enhance your progress as a speaker and as a teacher of God’s Word.
Your Theocratic Ministry School education will help to prepare you for what matters most in life. Since we are alive because of God’s will, to praise him is to realize the very purpose of our existence. Jehovah God deserves praise of the highest quality. (Rev. 4:11) The education that we receive in the school is a means to accomplish this so that we may think clearly, act wisely, and communicate effectively the marvelous truths from God’s inspired Word.