DURING his earthly ministry, Jesus proved himself to be “the fine shepherd.” (John 10:11) On viewing the crowds who eagerly followed him, “he felt pity for them, because they were skinned and thrown about like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matt. 9:36) Peter and the other apostles took note of his loving concern. How different Jesus was from the false shepherds of Israel, who neglected the flock so much that the sheep were scattered and spiritually starved! (Ezek. 34:7, 8) Jesus’ fine example of teaching and caring for the sheep, even to the point of laying down his life for them, taught the apostles how to help those with faith to return to Jehovah, “the shepherd and overseer of [their] souls.”—1 Pet. 2:25.
2 When speaking to Peter on one occasion, Jesus emphasized the importance of feeding and shepherding the sheep. (John 21:15-17) Peter was no doubt deeply moved by this and later admonished the elders in the early Christian congregation: “Shepherd the flock of God under your care, serving as overseers, not under compulsion, but willingly before God; not for love of dishonest gain, but eagerly; not lording it over those who are God’s inheritance, but becoming examples to the flock.” (1 Pet. 5:1-3) Peter’s words also apply to overseers in the congregation today. In imitation of Jesus, elders serve willingly and eagerly as examples to the flock, taking the lead in Jehovah’s service.—Heb. 13:7.
In imitation of Jesus, elders serve willingly and eagerly as examples to the flock, taking the lead in Jehovah’s service
3 We can be grateful for the spirit-appointed overseers in the congregation. The benefits we receive from their care are many. For example, overseers give encouragement and personal attention to everyone in the congregation. Each week, they preside diligently at congregation meetings, where all in the faith are nourished. (Rom. 12:8) Their efforts to protect the flock from harmful elements, such as wicked men, contribute to our security. (Isa. 32:2; Titus 1:9-11) Their lead in the field ministry encourages us to keep active in preaching the good news regularly each month. (Heb. 13:15-17) Through these “gifts in men,” Jehovah has provided for the building up of the congregation.—Eph. 4:8, 11, 12.
QUALIFICATIONS FOR OVERSEERS
4 To make sure that the congregation is cared for properly, men appointed to serve as overseers must meet the requirements set out in God’s Word. Only if they qualify can it be said that they are appointed by holy spirit. (Acts 20:28) Admittedly, the Scriptural standards for Christian overseers are high, since being an overseer is a serious responsibility. But the standards are not so high that they cannot be met by Christian men who have real love for Jehovah and are willing to be used by him. It should be obvious to all that the overseers are individuals who apply Bible counsel in the everyday affairs of life.
To make sure that the congregation is cared for properly, men appointed to serve as overseers must meet the requirements set out in God’s Word
5 The apostle Paul listed the basic Scriptural requirements for overseers in his first letter to Timothy and in his letter to Titus. At 1 Timothy 3:1-7, we read: “If a man is reaching out to be an overseer, he is desirous of a fine work. The overseer should therefore be irreprehensible, a husband of one wife, moderate in habits, sound in mind, orderly, hospitable, qualified to teach, not a drunkard, not violent, but reasonable, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money, a man presiding over his own household in a fine manner, having his children in subjection with all seriousness (for if any man does not know how to preside over his own household, how will he care for the congregation of God?), not a newly converted man, for fear that he might get puffed up with pride and fall into the judgment passed on the Devil. Moreover, he should also have a fine testimony from outsiders so that he does not fall into reproach and a snare of the Devil.”
6 Paul wrote to Titus: “I left you in Crete so that you would correct the things that were defective and make appointments of elders in city after city, as I instructed you: if there is any man free from accusation, a husband of one wife, having believing children who are not accused of debauchery or rebelliousness. For as God’s steward, an overseer must be free from accusation, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not a drunkard, not violent, not greedy of dishonest gain, but hospitable, a lover of goodness, sound in mind, righteous, loyal, self-controlled, holding firmly to the faithful word as respects his art of teaching, so that he may be able both to encourage by the teaching that is wholesome and to reprove those who contradict.”—Titus 1:5-9.
7 Although the Scriptural requirements for overseers may at first seem overwhelming, Christian men should not hold back from reaching out. When they manifest the fine Christian qualities required of overseers, they encourage others in the congregation to do the same. Paul wrote that such “gifts in men” are provided “with a view to the readjustment of the holy ones, for ministerial work, to build up the body of the Christ, until we all attain to the oneness of the faith and of the accurate knowledge of the Son of God, to being a full-grown man, attaining the measure of stature that belongs to the fullness of the Christ.”—Eph. 4:8, 12, 13.
8 Overseers are not mere boys or newly converted men. Rather, they are individuals with experience in Christian living, having a broad knowledge of the Bible, a deep understanding of the Scriptures, and a genuine love for the congregation. They have the courage to speak up and correct wrongdoers, thus protecting the sheep from any who would selfishly exploit them. (Isa. 32:2) The overseers are readily recognized by all in the congregation as spiritually mature men, having genuine concern for the flock of God.
9 Those qualifying for appointment as overseers demonstrate practical wisdom in their lives. If married, an overseer would be adhering to the Christian standard for marriage, namely, being the husband of one wife and presiding over his own household in a fine manner. If the overseer has believing children who are in subjection with all seriousness and are not accused of debauchery or rebelliousness, the congregation can confidently approach him for counsel and advice on family life and Christian living. The overseer is also irreprehensible and free from accusation and has a fine testimony even from outsiders. No valid charge of improper conduct can be brought against him to mar the reputation of the congregation. He would not recently have been reproved for serious wrongdoing. Others in the congregation are moved to imitate his fine example and are happy to entrust their spiritual life to his care.—1 Cor. 11:1; 16:15, 16.
10 Such qualified men are able to serve the Christian congregation in a role similar to that of the elders of Israel who were described as “wise, discreet, and experienced.” (Deut. 1:13) Christian elders are not without sin, but they are known in the congregation and in the community as upright and God-fearing men who have demonstrated over a period of time that they conduct their lives in harmony with godly principles. Their blamelessness gives them freeness of speech before the congregation.—Rom. 3:23.
11 Men qualifying for appointment as overseers show moderation in personal habits and in their dealings with others. They are not fanatics. Instead, their way of life is characterized by balance and self-control. Their moderation is demonstrated in such things as eating, drinking, recreation, hobbies, and entertainment. They are moderate in the use of alcoholic beverages so as not to leave themselves open to charges of drunkenness or of being a drunkard. One whose senses have been dulled by intoxicating drink easily loses self-control and is not in a position to watch over the spiritual interests of the congregation.
12 Exercising oversight of the congregation requires that a man have a measure of orderliness. His good habits are reflected in his personal appearance, his home, and his everyday activities. Such a man avoids procrastination; he sees what is required and plans accordingly. He adheres to godly principles.
13 An overseer must be reasonable. He must be able to work in unity with others within the body of elders and cooperate with them. He should have a proper view of himself and not be overly demanding of others. As a reasonable person, the overseer is not opinionated, considering his views to be superior to those of his fellow elders. Others may excel in qualities or abilities that he may lack. An elder shows reasonableness when he bases his conclusions solidly on the Scriptures and strives to imitate the example of Jesus Christ. (Phil. 2:2-8) An elder is not quarrelsome or violent but shows proper respect for others, considering them to be superior. He is not self-willed, always insisting that his way or his point of view be accepted. He is not quick-tempered, but he is peaceable in his dealings with others.
14 Similarly, one qualifying to serve as an overseer in the congregation is sound in mind. This means that he is levelheaded, not hasty in judgment. He has a good comprehension of Jehovah’s principles and their application. Someone who is sound in mind is receptive to counsel and direction. He is not hypocritical.
15 Paul reminded Titus that an overseer is a lover of goodness. He should be righteous and loyal. These qualities are reflected in his dealings with others and in his firm stand for what is right and good. He is unwavering in his devotion to Jehovah and is consistent in upholding righteous principles. He can keep a confidence. He is also genuinely hospitable, freely giving of himself and his belongings for the benefit of others.—Acts 20:33-35.
16 In order to serve effectively, an overseer needs to be qualified to teach. According to Paul’s words to Titus, the overseer would be “holding firmly to the faithful word as respects his art of teaching, so that he may be able both to encourage by the teaching that is wholesome and to reprove those who contradict.” (Titus 1:9) He is able to use reasoning, produce evidence, overcome objections, and apply the Scriptures in such a way that others are convinced and have their faith strengthened. The overseer exercises such teaching ability in favorable times as well as in difficult times. (2 Tim. 4:2) He has the patience needed to reprove with mildness one who is in error or to convince a doubter and motivate him to do good works on the basis of faith. Being qualified to teach either before an audience or on a one-on-one basis gives evidence that the overseer meets this important requirement.
17 It is important for elders to have a zealous share in the ministry. It should be apparent that also in this way they are striving to imitate Jesus, who considered the preaching of the good news to be a priority. Jesus took an interest in his disciples, helping them to be effective evangelizers. (Mark 1:38; Luke 8:1) The elders’ determination to spend time in the ministry despite their busy schedule stimulates the entire congregation to have similar zeal. And when the elders preach along with members of their own family as well as others in the congregation, “an interchange of encouragement” results.—Rom. 1:11, 12.
18 All of this may seem to be a great deal to expect of one who serves as an overseer. Certainly no overseer could measure up perfectly to the high standard set forth in the Bible, but none of the appointed elders in the congregation should be so significantly lacking in any one of these qualities that the deficiency could be considered a serious flaw. Some elders may have certain outstanding qualities, whereas others may excel in different areas. The result is that the body of elders as a whole will have all the fine qualities that are necessary for exercising proper oversight of the congregation of God.
19 When the elders as a body recommend men for appointment as overseers, they will want to keep in mind the apostle Paul’s words: “I tell everyone there among you not to think more of himself than it is necessary to think, but to think so as to have a sound mind, each one as God has given to him a measure of faith.” (Rom. 12:3) Each elder should consider himself a lesser one. No one should prove to be “overly righteous” when examining the qualifications of another. (Eccl. 7:16) Having clearly in mind the Scriptural requirements for overseers, the body of elders would want to determine whether a brother being considered measures up to those standards to a reasonable degree. Allowing for human imperfections and being free of biased leanings and hypocrisy, elders will make their recommendations in a manner that shows due respect for Jehovah’s righteous standards and is for the good of the congregation. They will give prayerful consideration to each recommendation and follow the direction of God’s holy spirit. This is one of the serious responsibilities they shoulder, and they must do so in accord with Paul’s admonition: “Never lay your hands hastily on any man.”—1 Tim. 5:21, 22.
FRUITAGE OF THE SPIRIT
20 Spiritually qualified men give evidence that they are directed by holy spirit, and they manifest its fruitage in their life. Paul lists the nine aspects of the fruitage of the spirit as “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control.” (Gal. 5:22, 23) Such overseers are refreshing to the brothers and help to unite the congregation in rendering sacred service. Their course of conduct and the fruits of their labors show that they are appointed by holy spirit.—Acts 20:28.
MEN WHO PROMOTE UNITY
21 It is vital that elders work together to promote unity in the congregation. They may have very different personalities, but they preserve the unity of the body by listening respectfully to one another, even though they may not agree on every matter they discuss. As long as no Bible principle is being violated, each should be willing to yield and to support the final decision of the body of elders. Having a yielding spirit shows that one is guided by “the wisdom from above,” which is “peaceable, reasonable.” (Jas. 3:17, 18) No elder should think that he is above the others, and no elder should try to dominate the others. Elders are really cooperating with Jehovah when they cooperate as a body for the good of the congregation.—1 Cor., chap. 12; Col. 2:19.
22 Mature Christian men should desire to become overseers. (1 Tim. 3:1) However, serving as an elder requires work and self-sacrifice. It means making oneself available to serve the needs of the brothers, caring for their spiritual interests. Reaching out to become an overseer means striving to meet the qualifications set out in the Scriptures.
PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES MAY CHANGE
23 A brother who has served faithfully for a long time may become physically ill or otherwise incapacitated. Perhaps because of advanced age, he may no longer be able to care for the responsibilities of an overseer. Even so, he should still be respected and viewed as an elder as long as he is appointed. There would be no need for him to resign on account of his limitations. He is still worthy of the double honor given to all hardworking elders who are serving to the best of their abilities in shepherding the flock.
24 But if a brother should feel that it would be best for him to resign because of changed personal circumstances that limit his ability to serve, he may choose to do so. (1 Pet. 5:2) He should still be respected. He is able to do much good in the congregation, even though he no longer has assignments and duties given to elders.
POSITIONS OF RESPONSIBILITY IN THE CONGREGATION
25 Elders care for a variety of responsibilities in the congregation. There is a coordinator of the body of elders, a secretary, a service overseer, a Watchtower Study conductor, and a Life and Ministry Meeting overseer. Many elders serve as group overseers. The elders serve in these positions for an indefinite period of time. Of course, if a brother moves, is unable to care for his responsibilities for health reasons, or becomes disqualified for failure to measure up to the Scriptural requirements, another elder is selected to handle the assignment. In congregations where the number of overseers is limited, it may be necessary for an elder to handle more than one assignment until other brothers qualify to be appointed as elders.
26 The coordinator of the body of elders serves as chairman at meetings of the body of elders. As such, he humbly works along with the other elders in caring for the flock of God. (Rom. 12:10; 1 Pet. 5:2, 3) He should be a good organizer and able to preside diligently.—Rom. 12:8.
27 The secretary handles congregation records and keeps the elders informed of important communications. If necessary, another elder or a capable ministerial servant may be assigned to assist him.
28 Arrangements for field service activity and other service-related matters come under the direction of the service overseer. He schedules regular visits to all field service groups so that one weekend each month, he visits a different group. In smaller congregations where there are only a few service groups, he may visit each group twice a year. During his visit, he will conduct the meetings for field service, work with the group in the ministry, and assist publishers with their return visits and Bible studies.
29 One of the outstanding privileges in the congregation is that of serving as a group overseer. His responsibilities include (1) taking an active interest in the spirituality of each person in the field service group; (2) helping each one in the group to have a regular, meaningful, and joyful share in the ministry; and (3) assisting and training ministerial servants in the group to reach out and qualify for congregation responsibilities. The body of elders determines which brothers are most qualified to fulfill all these aspects of the assignment.
30 Because of the nature of the assignment, group overseers should, if possible, be elders. Or a capable ministerial servant can serve until an elder can take over. A ministerial servant working in this capacity is called a group servant, as he does not function as an overseer in the congregation. Rather, he works under the direction of the elders in caring for his responsibility.
31 An important feature of the group overseer’s work is that of taking the lead in the field ministry. The regularity, zeal, and enthusiasm that he shows will encourage those in his group. Because the publishers appreciate the encouragement and help that come from being together, it would be good to have a group witnessing schedule convenient for the majority. (Luke 10:1-16) The overseer needs to make sure that there is always enough territory. He will generally conduct the meeting for field service and organize the publishers for that day’s activity. When he cannot be there, he should arrange for another elder, a ministerial servant or, if neither is available, a qualified publisher to care for these responsibilities so that the publishers have the direction they need.
32 The group overseer should plan ahead for the visit of the service overseer, informing his group of the visit and building anticipation for its benefits. When all in the group are kept fully aware of the arrangement, they can enthusiastically support it.
33 Each service group is purposely kept small. This allows the group overseer to become well-acquainted with all assigned to it. As a loving shepherd, he is keenly interested in each one. He tries to give personal help and encouragement for the field ministry and for the support of congregation meetings. He also endeavors to do whatever else is appropriate to help each person keep spiritually strong. Those who become ill or depressed will benefit from a personal visit. An encouraging suggestion or a word of counsel might prompt some to reach out for additional privileges in the congregation and thus be of greater assistance to their brothers. Most of the group overseer’s efforts will logically be directed toward helping those in his own group. However, as an elder and a shepherd, he is lovingly concerned about all in the congregation and is ready to help any who are in need.—Acts 20:17, 28.
34 One responsibility of the group overseer is to assist in collecting field service reports from those in his service group. These reports are forwarded to the secretary. Individual publishers can assist the group overseer by turning in their field service reports promptly. This can be done by giving their reports directly to the group overseer at the end of each month or by placing them in the box designated for field service reports at the Kingdom Hall.
CONGREGATION SERVICE COMMITTEE
35 There are certain duties that are cared for by the Congregation Service Committee, which is made up of the coordinator of the body of elders, the secretary, and the service overseer. For example, the service committee approves the use of the Kingdom Hall for weddings and funerals and is responsible for assigning publishers to field service groups. The committee also approves applications for regular and auxiliary pioneering and other avenues of service. The service committee works under the direction of the body of elders.
36 The specific duties of these brothers—along with those of the Watchtower Study conductor, the Life and Ministry Meeting overseer, and others who make up the body of elders—are outlined by the branch office.
37 The body of elders in each congregation meets periodically to discuss matters related to the spiritual progress of the congregation. In addition to the elders’ meeting held during the visit of the circuit overseer, an elders’ meeting is held about three months after each visit of the circuit overseer. Of course, the elders may convene at any time that circumstances make it advisable.
38 The overseers are imperfect men; yet all in the congregation are urged to be submissive to them because it is Jehovah’s arrangement. He will hold the overseers accountable for their actions. They are representing him and his theocratic rule. Hebrews 13:17 says: “Be obedient to those who are taking the lead among you and be submissive, for they are keeping watch over you as those who will render an account, so that they may do this with joy and not with sighing, for this would be damaging to you.” Just as Jehovah uses holy spirit to appoint a man, Jehovah will use that same holy spirit to remove a man from serving as an overseer if he fails to manifest the fruitage of the spirit and his pattern of life falls short of the Scriptural requirements.
39 Do we not truly appreciate the hard work and fine example of the congregation overseers? In writing to the congregation in Thessalonica, Paul urged the brothers: “We request you, brothers, to show respect for those who are working hard among you and presiding over you in the Lord and admonishing you; and to give them extraordinary consideration in love because of their work.” (1 Thess. 5:12, 13) Much of the hard work of the congregation overseers makes our service to God easier and more enjoyable. Also, in his first letter to Timothy, Paul makes mention of the attitude that those in the congregation should cultivate toward the overseers, saying: “Let the elders who preside in a fine way be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard in speaking and teaching.”—1 Tim. 5:17.
OTHER POSITIONS OF RESPONSIBILITY IN THE ORGANIZATION
40 At times, selected elders are appointed to serve as members of Patient Visitation Groups. Others serve on Hospital Liaison Committees and visit hospitals and doctors to encourage continued and expanded treatment of Jehovah’s Witnesses without using blood. Other overseers are able to advance Kingdom interests by helping to build and maintain Kingdom Halls and Assembly Halls or by serving as members of Convention Committees. The hard work of these brothers and their willingness to expend themselves in this way are very much appreciated by all in the organization. Indeed, we “keep holding men of that sort dear.”—Phil. 2:29.
41 The Governing Body arranges for the appointment of qualified elders to serve as circuit overseers. These are assigned by the branch office to visit the congregations that make up their circuits, usually twice a year. They also periodically visit pioneers in isolated territories. They plan their routing and notify each congregation sufficiently in advance so that the visit will result in the most benefit.
42 The coordinator of the body of elders takes the lead in organizing matters so that the visit will prove spiritually refreshing to all. (Rom. 1:11, 12) On receiving notification of the visit and information about the personal needs of the circuit overseer and (if married) his wife, the coordinator of the body of elders through various brothers will make arrangements for accommodations and other necessary things. He makes sure that all, including the circuit overseer, are informed of these arrangements.
43 The circuit overseer will contact the coordinator of the body of elders regarding the scheduling of meetings, including meetings for field service. These will be arranged in accord with the circuit overseer’s suggestions and direction from the branch office. All need to be informed in advance concerning the time and place of the meetings with the congregation, with the pioneers, and with the elders and ministerial servants, as well as the time and place of the meetings for field service.
44 On Tuesday afternoon, the circuit overseer examines the Congregation’s Publisher Records, meeting attendance records, territory records, and the accounts. This will give him some insight into possible needs of the congregation and how he may be of assistance to those responsible for keeping these records. The coordinator of the body of elders should make arrangements for the circuit overseer to receive the records in advance.
45 During his visit, the circuit overseer takes time to speak with the brothers individually as he is able—at meetings, in field service, at mealtimes, and at other times. Additionally, he meets with the elders and ministerial servants, sharing appropriate Scriptural counsel, suggestions, and encouragement that will help them shoulder their responsibilities to shepherd the flock in their care. (Prov. 27:23; Acts 20:26-32; 1 Tim. 4:11-16) He also meets with the pioneers to encourage them in their work and to give personal assistance regarding any problems they may be having in the ministry.
46 If there are other matters that need attention, the circuit overseer will assist to the extent possible during the week. If these cannot be finished during that time, the circuit overseer can help the elders or individuals involved to do research on the Scriptural direction that applies. If the branch office needs to do any follow-up, he and the elders will provide the branch office with a detailed report on the matter.
47 While visiting the congregation, the circuit overseer attends the regular congregation meetings. These may be adjusted from time to time in harmony with directions from the branch office. He will give talks designed to encourage, motivate, instruct, and fortify the congregation. He strives to engender love for Jehovah, Jesus Christ, and the organization.
48 One of the objectives of the circuit overseer’s visit is to encourage zealous participation in the ministry and provide practical suggestions. Many in the congregation may be able to adjust their schedule so that they can have a full share in field service that week, perhaps by arranging to auxiliary pioneer during the month of his visit. Any who desire to work with him or his wife can make an appointment. Much good can be accomplished by taking the circuit overseer or his wife on Bible studies and return visits. Your extra effort to give full support to this aspect of the week’s visit is deeply appreciated.—Prov. 27:17.
49 Every year, two circuit assemblies are arranged for each circuit. The circuit overseer is responsible for the operation of the assembly organization on these occasions. The circuit overseer appoints an assembly overseer and an assistant assembly overseer. They are to work closely with him in caring for the assembly organization. This will enable the circuit overseer to give his primary attention to the assembly program. The circuit overseer also designates other capable men to care for various departments. He also arranges for an audit of the circuit accounts after each assembly. One circuit assembly a year will be served by a branch representative, who will be a visiting speaker. Because of distances involved or because the assembly facilities are small, some circuits are divided into sections with a circuit assembly held for each section.
50 The circuit overseer submits his field service report directly to the branch office at the end of each month. If certain modest expenses are incurred—such as for travel, food, lodging, and other necessary items required to carry out his work—and they have not been covered by the congregation that he is serving, he may submit these to the branch office. Traveling representatives have confidence that if they put the interests of Jehovah’s Kingdom first, material needs will be cared for, as Jesus promised. (Luke 12:31) The congregations will want to be conscious of their privilege to show hospitality to these devoted elders who serve them.—3 John 5-8.
51 In each branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses throughout the world, three or more spiritually qualified, mature brothers serve as a Branch Committee that oversees the preaching work in the country or countries under its jurisdiction. One of the committee members serves as the Branch Committee coordinator.
52 Those serving on the Branch Committee handle matters pertaining to all the congregations in the branch territory. The committee oversees the preaching of the good news of the Kingdom throughout the branch territory and ensures that congregations and circuits are set up to give proper oversight to the needs of the field. The Branch Committee also gives attention to the missionary field and to special, regular, and auxiliary pioneer activity. When there are assemblies and conventions, the committee makes arrangements and assignments so that “all things take place decently and by arrangement.”—1 Cor. 14:40.
53 A Country Committee is appointed in some lands that come under the oversight of a Branch Committee in another land. This allows for closer supervision of the work where the Country Committee serves. It cares for matters in the Bethel Home and office, handles correspondence and reports, and generally cares for the activities in the field. The Country Committee cooperates with the Branch Committee for the advancement of Kingdom interests.
54 The Governing Body makes all appointments of those who serve on Branch Committees and Country Committees.
55 Periodically, arrangements are made by the Governing Body to have qualified brothers visit each of the branches throughout the earth. A brother serving in this capacity is known as a headquarters representative. His primary work is to encourage the Bethel family and to help the Branch Committee with problems or questions that may arise in carrying out the preaching and disciple-making work. This brother also meets with selected circuit overseers and periodically meets with field missionaries. When doing so, he talks with them about their problems and needs, giving necessary encouragement regarding their most important activity, Kingdom preaching and disciple making.
56 The headquarters representative is very interested in what is being accomplished in the field as far as the Kingdom-preaching and other congregation activities are concerned. As time allows, he may also visit remote translation offices. When the headquarters representative visits a branch, he also shares to the extent possible in the Kingdom-preaching work.
As we continue submitting ourselves to overseers charged with shepherding the flock, we are drawn into unity with the Head of the congregation, Christ Jesus
57 We benefit greatly from the hard work and loving care of mature Christian men. As we continue submitting ourselves to appointed overseers charged with shepherding the flock, we are drawn into unity with the Head of the congregation, Christ Jesus. (1 Cor. 16:15-18; Eph. 1:22, 23) As a result, God’s spirit permeates the congregations worldwide, and God’s Word serves to guide the work throughout the earth.—Ps. 119:105.