JEHOVAH gave us a perfect model to follow—his Son, Jesus Christ. (1 Pet. 2:21) When anyone becomes a follower of Jesus, that person preaches the good news as one of God’s ministers. Indicating that this would be spiritually refreshing, Jesus said: “Come to me, all you who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart, and you will find refreshment for yourselves.” (Matt. 11:28, 29) His promise has not failed any who have responded to that invitation!
2 As God’s Chief Minister, Jesus called certain individuals to be his followers. (Matt. 9:9; John 1:43) He trained them in the ministry and sent them forth to do the same work he was doing. (Matt. 10:1–11:1; 20:28; Luke 4:43) Later, he sent forth 70 others to share in declaring the good news concerning God’s Kingdom. (Luke 10:1, 8-11) When Jesus sent these disciples forth, he said to them: “Whoever listens to you listens to me. And whoever disregards you disregards me also. Moreover, whoever disregards me disregards also him who sent me.” (Luke 10:16) In this way, Jesus stressed the seriousness of the responsibility that was given to the disciples. They were to represent Jesus and the Most High God! It would be the same today for all others who respond to Jesus’ invitation: “Come be my follower.” (Luke 18:22; 2 Cor. 2:17) All who respond have a divine commission to preach the good news of the Kingdom and to make disciples.—Matt. 24:14; 28:19, 20.
3 Having responded to Jesus’ invitation to follow him, we have been blessed with “coming to know” Jehovah God and Jesus Christ. (John 17:3) We have been taught Jehovah’s ways. With his help, we have been able to make our mind over, put on the new personality, and harmonize our conduct with Jehovah’s righteous standards. (Rom. 12:1, 2; Eph. 4:22-24; Col. 3:9, 10) Our heartfelt appreciation has moved us to dedicate our lives to Jehovah and to symbolize that dedication by water baptism. At our baptism, we are ordained as ministers.
4 Always keep in mind that service to God must be rendered with innocent hands and a pure heart. (Ps. 24:3, 4; Isa. 52:11; 2 Cor. 6:14–7:1) Through faith in Jesus Christ, we have gained a clean conscience. (Heb. 10:19-23, 35, 36; Rev. 7:9, 10, 14) The apostle Paul admonished Christians to do all things for God’s glory so as not to be stumbling others. The apostle Peter pointed out the value of exemplary conduct in winning unbelievers over to the truth. (1 Cor. 10:31, 33; 1 Pet. 3:1) How can you help someone qualify to join us as a minister of the good news?
5 From the time you begin conducting a Bible study with an interested person, encourage him to tell others about what he is learning. He could speak with relatives, friends, work associates, and others on an informal basis. This is an important step in teaching new ones to be followers of Jesus Christ as ministers of the good news. (Matt. 9:9; Luke 6:40) As the new one grows spiritually and becomes adept at informal witnessing, he will no doubt express a desire to share in the field ministry.
MEETING THE REQUIREMENTS
6 Before inviting a person to go from house to house for the first time, you should be sure that he meets certain qualifications. A person who accompanies us in the field ministry identifies himself publicly with Jehovah’s Witnesses. It is therefore understood that he has already brought his life into harmony with Jehovah’s righteous standards and can be an unbaptized publisher.
7 As you study with a person and discuss Bible principles with him, you have likely become aware of his circumstances. You may have observed that he is living in harmony with what he has learned. But there are some aspects of the student’s life that the elders will want to discuss with the two of you together.
8 The coordinator of the body of elders will arrange for two elders (one being a member of the service committee) to discuss these matters with you and the Bible student. In congregations that have very few elders, an elder and a capable ministerial servant may do this. The brothers chosen should endeavor to have this discussion without delay. In fact, if they learn of the student’s desire at a congregation meeting, it may be possible for them to talk to you and your student after the meeting. The atmosphere should be relaxed. Before the student can be approved as an unbaptized publisher, the following must be true:
(1) He believes that the Bible is the inspired Word of God.—2 Tim. 3:16.
(2) He knows and believes the basic teachings of the Scriptures so that when asked questions, he will answer in harmony with the Bible and not according to false religious teachings or his own ideas.—Matt. 7:21-23; 2 Tim. 2:15.
(4) He knows what the Bible teaches about sexual immorality, including adultery, polygamy, and homosexuality, and is living in harmony with those teachings. If the person is living with one of the opposite sex who is not a relative, the two must be properly married.—Matt. 19:9; 1 Cor. 6:9, 10; 1 Tim. 3:2, 12; Heb. 13:4.
(6) He sees the value of avoiding unwholesome association.—1 Cor. 15:33.
(7) He has definitely broken off membership in all false religious organizations with which he may have been affiliated. He has ceased attending their services and sharing in or supporting their activities.—2 Cor. 6:14-18; Rev. 18:4.
(9) He believes and lives in harmony with what Isaiah 2:4 says about the affairs of the nations.
(10) He really wants to be one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.—Ps. 110:3.
9 If the elders are not sure how the student feels about any of these matters, they should ask him, perhaps using the scriptures here cited as a basis for the discussion. It is important that he understand that those who share with Jehovah’s Witnesses in their preaching activity must be leading a life that harmonizes with these Scriptural requirements. What he says will help the elders determine whether he knows what is expected of him and whether he is qualified to a reasonable degree to begin participating in the field ministry.
10 The elders should promptly let the student know whether he qualifies. In most cases, this is possible at the conclusion of the discussion. If he is qualified, the elders can warmly welcome the individual as a publisher. (Rom. 15:7) He should be encouraged to begin sharing in the field ministry as soon as possible and to turn in a field service report at the end of the month. The elders can explain that when a Bible student qualifies as an unbaptized publisher and reports field service for the first time, a Congregation’s Publisher Record is made out in his name and included in the congregation file. The elders collect this personal information from the publisher so that the organization can care for the religious activities of Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide and so that the publisher may participate in spiritual activities and receive spiritual support. In addition, the elders can remind new publishers that any personal information is handled according to the Global Data Protection Policy of Jehovah’s Witnesses found on jw.org.
11 Our getting better acquainted with the new publisher and showing a personal interest in what he has accomplished can have a fine effect on the individual. It may move him to turn in field service reports regularly and to make even greater efforts to serve Jehovah.—Phil. 2:4; Heb. 13:2.
12 Once the elders have determined that the Bible student qualifies to engage in the field ministry, he is eligible to receive his own copy of Organized to Do Jehovah’s Will. After he reports field service for the first time, a brief announcement that he is a new unbaptized publisher will be made to the congregation.
HELPING YOUNG PEOPLE
13 Young children may also qualify as publishers of the good news. Jesus welcomed young children and blessed them. (Matt. 19:13-15; 21:15, 16) Although parents are primarily responsible for their own children, others in the congregation may wish to help young ones who are motivated from the heart to share in the Kingdom-preaching work. If you are a parent, your fine example in the field ministry will do much to encourage your children to be zealous in their service to God. When a child who is exemplary in conduct is moved from the heart to make a personal expression of his faith to others, what further help can be given?
14 It would be appropriate for the parent to approach one of the elders on the Congregation Service Committee to discuss whether the child is qualified to become a publisher. The coordinator of the body of elders will arrange for two elders (one being a member of the service committee) to meet with the child and his believing parent(s) or guardian. If the child has a basic knowledge of Bible truth and gives evidence of wanting to share in the ministry, this would indicate good progress. After considering these and other factors similar to those that apply to adults, the two elders can determine whether the child may be recognized as an unbaptized publisher. (Luke 6:45; Rom. 10:10) When meeting with a young child, there would be no need to discuss some of the matters that are usually considered with an adult but obviously do not apply to a child.
15 During the meeting, the elders should commend the child for his progress and encourage him to set the goal of baptism. Since the parents have no doubt worked hard to instill the truth in their child, they too deserve commendation. To help the parents further assist their child, the elders should refer them to “A Message to Christian Parents,” found on pages 179-181.
DEDICATION AND BAPTISM
16 If you have come to know and love Jehovah by meeting divine requirements and sharing in the field ministry, you need to solidify your personal relationship with him. How? By dedicating your life to him and symbolizing this by water baptism.—Matt. 28:19, 20.
17 Dedication signifies a setting apart for a sacred purpose. To make a dedication to God means to approach him in prayer and solemnly promise to use your life in his service and to walk in his ways. It means giving him exclusive devotion forever. (Deut. 5:9) This is a personal, private matter. No one can do it for you.
18 However, you must do more than privately tell Jehovah that you want to belong to him. You need to show others that you have made a dedication to God. You make it known by getting baptized in water, as Jesus did. (1 Pet. 2:21; 3:21) If you have made up your mind to serve Jehovah and want to get baptized, what should you do? You should make your desire known to the coordinator of the body of elders. He will arrange for several elders to talk with you to make sure that you meet the divine requirements for baptism. For further information, please review “A Message to the Unbaptized Publisher,” found on pages 182-184 of this publication, and “Questions for Those Desiring to Get Baptized,” found on pages 185-207.
REPORTING ON THE PROGRESS OF THE MINISTRY
19 Over the years, reports on the worldwide expansion of pure worship have been a source of encouragement for Jehovah’s people. From the time Jesus Christ first told his disciples that the good news would be preached throughout all the earth, true Christians have been keenly interested in how this would be accomplished.—Matt. 28:19, 20; Mark 13:10; Acts 1:8.
20 Early followers of Jesus enjoyed hearing reports about the success of the preaching work. (Mark 6:30) The Bible book of Acts tells us that about 120 were present when holy spirit was poured out on the disciples at Pentecost 33 C.E. Soon the number of disciples grew to about 3,000 and then to about 5,000. The report was made that “Jehovah continued to add to them daily those being saved” and that “a large crowd of priests began to be obedient to the faith.” (Acts 1:15; 2:5-11, 41, 47; 4:4; 6:7) What fine encouragement the news of these increases must have brought to the disciples! How these exciting reports must have impelled them to move ahead with their divinely commissioned work, in spite of severe persecution instigated by the Jewish religious leaders!
21 About 60-61 C.E., Paul reported in his letter to the Colossians that the good news was “bearing fruit and increasing in all the world” and had been “preached in all creation under heaven.” (Col. 1:5, 6, 23) The early Christians were obedient to the Word, and holy spirit empowered them to accomplish a tremendous preaching work before the end of the Jewish system of things in 70 C.E. How encouraging it was for those faithful Christians to hear reports of what was being accomplished!
Are you personally interested in seeing that the ministry is accomplished before the end comes?
22 In like manner, Jehovah’s modern-day organization endeavors to keep records of the work being done in fulfillment of Matthew 24:14, which says: “This good news of the Kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” As dedicated servants of God, we have an urgent work to do. We must be personally interested in seeing that the ministry is thoroughly accomplished before the end comes. Jehovah will see to it that this work is completed, and if we have a share, we will receive Jehovah’s smile of approval.—Ezek. 3:18-21.
YOUR PERSONAL FIELD SERVICE REPORT
23 What exactly are we to report? The Field Service Report slip provided by the organization indicates what information is to be included. However, the following general comments may prove to be helpful.
24 In the column titled “Placements (Printed and Electronic),” report the total number of publications—whether printed or electronic—that you shared with individuals who are not baptized Witnesses. Under “Video Showings,” report the number of times you were able to show one of our videos.
25 In reporting “Return Visits,” count the total number of calls made for the purpose of furthering interest previously shown by someone who is not a dedicated, baptized Witness. A return visit can be made by means of a personal visit, by writing a letter, making a telephone call, sending a text message or an e-mail, or delivering some literature. Each time a home Bible study is conducted, a return visit can be counted. A parent may count up to one return visit each week when taking the lead during family worship with an unbaptized child present.
26 Although a Bible study is usually conducted each week, it is reported as only one study each month. Publishers should list the total number of different Bible studies conducted during the month. Bible studies reported may include those conducted with people who are not dedicated, baptized Witnesses. You may also count a Bible study conducted with an inactive brother or sister at the direction of a member of the service committee or with a newly baptized person who has not yet completed the Enjoy Life Forever! book.
27 It is important to submit an accurate report of “Hours.” Basically, this is the time you spend participating in the house-to-house ministry, making return visits, conducting Bible studies, or otherwise witnessing formally or informally to people who are not dedicated, baptized Witnesses. If two publishers are working together, both may count the time, but only one would count any return visits that are made or any Bible studies that are conducted. Both parents who share in instructing their children during Family Worship evening may count up to one hour a week. Brothers may count the time spent delivering a public talk. An interpreter for a public talk may count the time as well. There are essential activities for which time is not counted, such as getting ready for field service, attending the meeting for field service, running errands, and so forth.
28 Each publisher must follow his Bible-trained conscience when prayerfully determining what constitutes a witnessing period. Some publishers preach in densely populated areas, whereas others work territories where there are few inhabitants and considerable travel is required. Territories differ; publishers differ in the way they view their ministry. The Governing Body does not impose its conscience on the worldwide congregation as to how time spent in field service is to be counted, nor has anyone else been appointed to make a judgment in this matter.—Matt. 6:1; 7:1; 1 Tim. 1:5.
29 Time spent in the field service should be reported in full hours. An exception to this is made when a publisher is very limited because of advanced age, is a shut-in, is confined to a nursing home, or is otherwise incapacitated. Such a publisher may report field service in 15-minute increments. Even when he gives a witness for just 15 minutes during a month, he should report this time. He will be counted as a regular Kingdom publisher. This arrangement also applies to a publisher who is temporarily limited, perhaps unable to move about during a month or so because of a serious illness or injury. This provision is only for those who are very limited in their activity. The service committee will determine whether a publisher qualifies for this arrangement.
CONGREGATION’S PUBLISHER RECORD
30 Your individual field service report for each month is recorded on a Congregation’s Publisher Record. These records belong to the local congregation. If you plan to move to another congregation, be sure to inform your elders. The secretary will ensure that your records are forwarded to your new congregation. In this way, the elders will be in a better position to welcome you and provide spiritual support. If you are away from your congregation for less than three months, please continue to send your field service reports to your home congregation.
WHY WE REPORT OUR FIELD SERVICE
31 Do you sometimes forget to turn in your field service report? No doubt all of us need occasional reminders. But if we cultivate the right attitude toward reporting and understand why doing so is important, it may be easier for us to remember to report our field service.
32 Some have asked: “Since Jehovah knows what I am doing in his service, why do I need to put in a report to the congregation?” True, Jehovah knows what we are doing, and he knows whether our service is whole-souled or just a token of what we are really able to do. Remember, however, that Jehovah recorded the number of days that Noah spent in the ark and the number of years that the Israelites journeyed in the wilderness. God kept account of the number of those who were faithful and of those who disobeyed. He recorded the progressive conquest of the land of Canaan and the accomplishments of the faithful judges of Israel. Yes, he recorded many details regarding the activities of his servants. He inspired this written record of what took place, making clear to us his view of keeping accurate records.
33 Historical events recorded in the Bible demonstrate the exactness of reports and records kept by Jehovah’s people. In many cases, the full impact of the Bible account could not be conveyed without reporting the specific numbers. Consider the following examples: Genesis 46:27; Exodus 12:37; Judges 7:7; 2 Kings 19:35; 2 Chronicles 14:9-13; John 6:10; 21:11; Acts 2:41; 19:19.
34 Although our reports obviously do not include all that we do in our worship of Jehovah, they serve a practical purpose within Jehovah’s organization. In the first century, when the apostles returned from a preaching campaign, they reported to Jesus “all the things they had done and taught.” (Mark 6:30) At times, reports may indicate that certain aspects of our ministry need particular attention. The figures may show that while there has been progress in some activities, other areas, such as publisher increase or growth, have slowed down. It could be that encouragement is needed or that problems have to be resolved. Responsible overseers will take note of reports and endeavor to rectify any condition that may be hindering the progress of individuals or of the congregation as a whole.
35 Reports are also beneficial to the organization in determining just where there is a greater need for workers in the field. What areas are more productive? Where is little progress being made? What publications are needed to help people learn the truth? Reports enable the organization to project literature needs for the preaching work in different parts of the world and then to keep ahead of those needs.
36 For most of us, reports mean encouragement. Are we not thrilled when we hear about the work our brothers are doing in preaching the good news worldwide? Reports of increases help us to get an overall view of the expansion of Jehovah’s organization. Experiences warm our hearts and fill us with zeal, moving us to have a fuller share in the preaching work. (Acts 15:3) Our cooperation in turning in field service reports is important and shows our concern for the brothers everywhere. In this small way, we demonstrate our submission to Jehovah’s organizational arrangement.—Luke 16:10; Heb. 13:17.
SETTING PERSONAL GOALS
37 There is no reason for us to compare our field service with that of another person. (Gal. 5:26; 6:4) Individual circumstances vary. On the other hand, we can derive much benefit from setting realistic personal goals as a basis for measuring our progress in the ministry. Attaining these goals can give us the satisfaction that comes with accomplishment.
38 It is obvious that Jehovah is indeed speeding up the ingathering of those whom he will protect through “the great tribulation.” We are living in the time of the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy: “The little one will become a thousand and the small one a mighty nation. I myself, Jehovah, will speed it up in its own time.” (Rev. 7:9, 14; Isa. 60:22) What a privilege it is to be ministers of the good news during these momentous last days!—Matt. 24:14.