TO THE congregation in Philippi, the apostle Paul wrote: “Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus, to all the holy ones in union with Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, along with overseers and ministerial servants.” (Phil. 1:1) Note that he greeted the ministerial servants. These men evidently played an important role in assisting the elders in the congregation back then. The same is true in our day. Ministerial servants render services that help the overseers and that contribute to the good order of the congregation.
2 Do you know who the ministerial servants are in your congregation? Are you aware of the work they do for your benefit and for the benefit of the entire congregation? The efforts of such men are certainly appreciated by Jehovah. Paul wrote: “The men who minister in a fine manner are acquiring for themselves a fine standing and great freeness of speech in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.”—1 Tim. 3:13.
SCRIPTURAL REQUIREMENTS FOR MINISTERIAL SERVANTS
3 Ministerial servants are expected to lead a wholesome Christian life, to be responsible men, and to care for assignments properly. This becomes obvious when we consider what Paul had to say about their qualifications in his letter to Timothy: “Ministerial servants should likewise be serious, not double-tongued, not indulging in a lot of wine, not greedy of dishonest gain, holding the sacred secret of the faith with a clean conscience. Also, let these be tested as to fitness first; then let them serve as ministers, as they are free from accusation. Let ministerial servants be husbands of one wife, presiding in a fine manner over their children and their own households.” (1 Tim. 3:8-10, 12) Holding to the high standard set for ministerial servants protects the congregation against accusations raised concerning the kind of men to whom special responsibilities are entrusted.
4 Whether younger or older, ministerial servants are active in the ministry each month. In imitation of Jesus, they demonstrate zeal for the ministry. By such zeal, they reflect Jehovah’s interest in the salvation of mankind.—Isa. 9:7.
5 Men who serve as ministerial servants are also exemplary in their dress, grooming, speech, attitude, and conduct. They are sound in mind, which earns them the respect of others. In addition, they take seriously their relationship with Jehovah and their privileges of service in the congregation.—Titus 2:2, 6-8.
6 These men have been “tested as to fitness.” Even before receiving their appointment, they proved to be truly dedicated men. They have demonstrated that they put Kingdom interests first in their life and are reaching out for whatever service privileges may be open to them. They are indeed examples for others in the congregation to imitate.—1 Tim. 3:10.
HOW THEY SERVE
7 Ministerial servants render a variety of practical services in behalf of their brothers and sisters, thus allowing the overseers to spend more time caring for teaching and shepherding responsibilities. When giving them assignments, the body of elders takes into account their individual abilities and the needs of the congregation.
Ministerial servants render a variety of practical services, thus allowing the overseers to spend more time caring for teaching and shepherding responsibilities
8 Just consider some of these services: One ministerial servant may be assigned to care for the literature so that we can obtain it for personal use and for the field ministry. Another may care for the magazines. Others are assigned to keep congregation accounts or territory records. Some are assigned to handle microphones, to operate sound equipment, to serve as attendants, and to help the elders in other ways. There is much work to be done in maintaining the Kingdom Hall and keeping it clean, so ministerial servants are often called on to assist in caring for these responsibilities.
9 In some congregations, it may be possible to assign a different ministerial servant to each of these duties. Elsewhere, a ministerial servant may care for several assignments. In some instances, more than one ministerial servant may care for a certain task. If there are not enough ministerial servants to care for some of these responsibilities, the body of elders may arrange for other exemplary baptized brothers to do this necessary work. Thus they will gain experience that will be useful later when they become qualified to be appointed as ministerial servants. If brothers are not available, an exemplary sister could be asked to assist with some things, even though she would not, of course, be appointed as a ministerial servant. An individual who is exemplary is someone whose conduct and worship are considered worthy of imitation. His or her meeting attendance, share in the ministry, family life, choices of entertainment, dress and grooming, and so forth are good examples for others.
10 In congregations that have very few elders, capable ministerial servants may be called on to review with individuals the questions for baptism dealing with doctrinal matters. These are found in the Appendix “Part 1—Elementary Bible Teachings” and “Part 3—Jehovah’s Arrangement of Things.” Since “Part 2—Jehovah’s Righteous Requirements” involves sensitive personal matters, an elder should consider this section.
11 If there is good reason, the body of elders may find it beneficial periodically to change some assignments from one ministerial servant to another. However, there is great advantage in having brothers handle the same assignments for some time in order for them to gain experience and proficiency.
12 Depending on local circumstances, there may be other responsibilities that can be assigned to ministerial servants whose advancement is “plainly seen by all people.” (1 Tim. 4:15) If there are not enough elders, a ministerial servant may be assigned to serve as an assistant to a group overseer or, in some cases, as a group servant, working under the close supervision of the elders. Ministerial servants may be assigned to handle certain parts on the Life and Ministry Meeting, including conducting the Congregation Bible Study if needed, and delivering public talks. Other privileges may be extended to ministerial servants when there is a particular need and if they meet the requirements for the assignment. (1 Pet. 4:10) In assisting the elders, ministerial servants should give of themselves willingly.
13 Though their work differs from that of the elders, it is no less a part of sacred service to God and is important to the smooth functioning of the congregation. In time, if ministerial servants carry out their obligations well and become qualified to serve as shepherds and teachers, they may be recommended to serve as elders.
14 If you are a brother who is a teenager or is newly baptized, are you reaching out to qualify to become a ministerial servant? (1 Tim. 3:1) With so many people coming into the truth each year, qualified spiritual men are needed to care for congregation responsibilities. You can reach out by cultivating a desire to help others. One way to do this is by meditating on Jesus’ fine example. (Matt. 20:28; John 4:6, 7; 13:4, 5) Your desire will grow as you experience the joy that comes from giving to others. (Acts 20:35) Therefore, volunteer to give practical assistance to others, to help with the maintenance of the Kingdom Hall, or to give a substitute presentation during the Life and Ministry Meeting. Reaching out also includes developing spiritual qualities by having a good routine of personal study. (Ps. 1:1, 2; Gal. 5:22, 23) In addition, a brother who is reaching out demonstrates reliability and faithfulness when given congregation assignments.—1 Cor. 4:2.
15 Ministerial servants are appointed by holy spirit for the good of the congregation. Members of the congregation can show their appreciation for the hard work of the ministerial servants by cooperating with them as they care for their assigned duties. In this way, the congregation will be showing appreciation for Jehovah’s provision to maintain an orderly household.—Gal. 6:10.