Table of Contents
1. The Our Christian Life and Ministry meeting will proceed as outlined in the Our Christian Life and Ministry—Meeting Workbook and according to the instructions that follow. All publishers should be invited to make themselves available to present student assignments. Others who are actively associating with the congregation may participate if they agree with the teachings of the Bible and their life is in harmony with Christian principles.—be p. 282.
2. One minute. Each week, after the opening song and prayer, the Life and Ministry Meeting chairman will generate anticipation for the program to follow. The chairman should focus on points that will benefit the congregation the most.
TREASURES FROM GOD’S WORD
3. Talk: Ten minutes. The theme and an outline of two or three main points are provided in the Life and Ministry Meeting Workbook. This talk is to be assigned to an elder or a qualified ministerial servant. When a new Bible book is scheduled in the weekly Bible reading, a video will be played to introduce it. The speaker may draw parallels between the video and the theme. However, he should be certain to cover the points outlined in the workbook. Also, as time allows, he should utilize the accompanying artwork and Scriptural points, which are designed to complement the material to be covered.
4. Digging for Spiritual Gems: Ten minutes. This is a question-and-answer part without an introduction or a conclusion. It is to be handled by an elder or a qualified ministerial servant. The speaker may apportion the timing of the three points according to their application to the local congregation. However, he should ask the audience all the questions. Also, he may determine whether or not all of the verses cited in the first two questions need to be read. Those called on should offer comments of 30 seconds or less.
5. Bible Reading: Four minutes or less. This student assignment is to be handled by a brother. The student should read the assigned material without giving an introduction or a conclusion. The meeting chairman will be especially interested in helping students to read with accuracy, understanding, fluency, proper sense stress, modulation, appropriate pausing, and naturalness. Because some Bible reading assignments are shorter and others are longer, the Life and Ministry Meeting overseer should take into account the abilities of the students when making these assignments.
APPLY YOURSELF TO THE FIELD MINISTRY
6. Fifteen minutes or less. This section of the meeting is designed to give all the opportunity to practice for the ministry and to improve in their ability to preach and teach. The students should base the initial call and return visit assignments on the sample conversations provided on page 1 of the Life and Ministry Meeting Workbook. Publishers may decide whether or not to introduce a publication or video from our Teaching Toolbox. As a help for the ministry, the sample conversations in the workbook include the feature “Find This Scripture in the Teaching Toolbox.” Students may decide whether or not to use this feature in their assignments. The Life and Ministry Meeting Workbook specifies the timing for each student assignment and, at times, may provide additional instructions. Students do not need to add additional information simply to use all of the allotted time. Some well-prepared demonstrations may conclude a minute or more early. As necessary, elders may receive student assignments.
7. Sample Conversation Videos: Videos of sample conversations will be played and discussed during each month. These videos will feature the initial call and return visits. This part is to be handled by the Life and Ministry Meeting chairman.
8. Initial Call: This student assignment may be handled by a brother or a sister. The assistant should be of the same sex or should be a family member. The student and assistant may sit or stand. The student should choose a greeting appropriate for the area. The sample conversation in the Life and Ministry Meeting Workbook should be used as the foundation for the discussion.
9. Return Visit: This student assignment may be handled by a brother or a sister. The assistant should not be someone of the opposite sex. (km 5/97 p. 2) The student and assistant may sit or stand. The student should demonstrate what to say when returning to visit someone who showed interest on the initial call. The sample conversation in the Life and Ministry Meeting Workbook should be used as the foundation for the discussion.
10. Bible Study: This student assignment may be handled by a brother or a sister. The assistant should not be someone of the opposite sex. (km 5/97 p. 2) The student and assistant may sit or stand. This part should demonstrate a segment of a Bible study already in progress. There is no need for an introduction or a conclusion unless the student is specifically working on one of these study points. It is not necessary to have all of the assigned material read aloud, although this may be done. Good teaching skills should be highlighted.
11. Talk: This student assignment is to be handled by a brother and given as a talk to the congregation.
LIVING AS CHRISTIANS
12. After a song, the next 15 minutes of this section will consist of one or two parts designed to help the audience apply God’s Word. Unless otherwise indicated, these parts may be assigned to elders or qualified ministerial servants, with the exception of a local needs part, which is handled by an elder.
13. Congregation Bible Study: Thirty minutes or less. This part is assigned to a qualified elder. (Where the number of elders is limited, qualified ministerial servants may be assigned, as needed.) The body of elders should determine who is qualified to conduct the Congregation Bible Study. Those approved should be able to preside in a meaningful way so as to keep the study on time, emphasize the key scriptures, and assist everyone to appreciate the practical value of the points covered. They will find helpful principles by reviewing published direction regarding how to conduct the Watchtower Study. After the assigned material for the week has been thoroughly covered, there is no need to prolong the study. Where possible, different conductors and readers should be used each week. If the Life and Ministry Meeting chairman directs that the study be abbreviated, then the conductor will have to decide how to abbreviate the study. He may choose to have the reading of some paragraphs omitted.
14. Three minutes or less. The Life and Ministry Meeting chairman will review particularly helpful points from the meeting. He should also preview the material for the next week, perhaps mentioning a question that will be answered. He may announce the names of the students who are assigned to give parts the next week, provided there is time for this. Unless otherwise indicated, any necessary announcements should be made and any necessary letters should be read to the congregation by the chairman during his concluding comments. Routine information, such as normal field service arrangements and cleaning schedules, should not be announced from the platform but should be posted on the information board. If any announcements cannot be made or any letters cannot be read in the time allotted for the concluding comments, the chairman should ask the brothers handling parts on the Living as Christians section of the meeting to abbreviate their parts as necessary. (See paragraphs 13 and 17.) The meeting will conclude with song and prayer.
APPLY YOURSELF TO READING AND TEACHING
15. Each student should bring the Teaching brochure, either in printed or electronic form, to the Life and Ministry Meeting. The Life and Ministry Meeting chairman should use the brochure as the basis for commendation and counsel. Each student should work on the study point that appears in parentheses next to the assignment in the Life and Ministry Meeting Workbook. The “Record Your Progress” section of the brochure is designed for student use and should not be marked by the chairman.
16. Following each of the student assignments, the Life and Ministry Meeting chairman has approximately one minute to provide commendation and counsel based on the Teaching brochure. When the chairman introduces a student’s assignment, he will not announce the study point. However, when the student’s assignment is finished and after some appropriate words of commendation, the chairman may announce the study point and state why the student did well on that point or kindly explain why the student should give that particular point further attention. The chairman may also comment on other aspects of the demonstration if he feels that this would benefit the student or the audience. Additional constructive counsel based on the Teaching brochure or the Ministry School book may be given privately after the meeting or at another time, either on the assigned study point or on another study point.—For more information regarding the role of the Life and Ministry Meeting chairman and the role of the auxiliary counselor, see paragraphs 17, 22, and 24.
17. No part should go overtime, nor should the remarks of the Life and Ministry Meeting chairman. The student assignments should tactfully be stopped when the time is up. If other parts on the meeting go overtime, private counsel should be given by the auxiliary counselor. (See paragraph 24.) The entire meeting, including songs and prayers, should last 1 hour and 45 minutes.
VISIT OF CIRCUIT OVERSEER
18. When the congregation has the visit of the circuit overseer, the program should proceed as described in the Life and Ministry Meeting Workbook with the following exceptions: The Congregation Bible Study portion of the Living as Christians section will be replaced with a 30-minute service talk given by the circuit overseer. Prior to the service talk, the Life and Ministry Meeting chairman will review the program just held, preview the next week’s program, make any necessary announcements, read any necessary letters, and then introduce the circuit overseer. After the service talk, the circuit overseer will conclude the meeting with a song of his choice. He may invite another brother to conclude with prayer. No auxiliary classes in the language of the congregation should be held during the visit of the circuit overseer. A group may hold its meetings even when the circuit overseer is visiting the host congregation. However, the group should rejoin the host congregation for the circuit overseer’s service talk.
WEEK OF AN ASSEMBLY OR A CONVENTION
19. During the week of an assembly or a convention, no congregation meetings are held. The material scheduled for meetings during such weeks should be considered individually or as a family.
WEEK OF THE MEMORIAL
20. When the Memorial falls on a weekday, no Life and Ministry Meeting will be scheduled. Of course, meetings for field service should be held on the day of the Memorial.
LIFE AND MINISTRY MEETING OVERSEER
21. An elder selected by the body of elders will serve as the Life and Ministry Meeting overseer. He is responsible for ensuring that this meeting is well-organized and handled according to these instructions. He should maintain good communication with the auxiliary counselor. As soon as the Life and Ministry Meeting Workbook for a given month becomes available, the Life and Ministry Meeting overseer will make the student assignments for that month. (See paragraphs 5-11.) Each of the student assignments should be distributed at least three weeks prior to the date of the assignment by means of the Our Christian Life and Ministry Meeting Assignment (S-89) form.
LIFE AND MINISTRY MEETING CHAIRMAN
22. Each week, one elder will serve as the chairman for the duration of the Life and Ministry Meeting. (Where the number of elders is limited, qualified ministerial servants may be assigned, as needed.) He is responsible for preparing the introductory and concluding comments and for discussing any sample conversation videos as well as the videos introducing a new study point from the Teaching brochure. He also introduces all the parts, and depending on the size of the body of elders, he may be responsible for handling other parts on the meeting. Comments between parts should be very brief. The body of elders will determine which elders are qualified to fill this role. The qualified elders are assigned as chairmen periodically. Depending on local circumstances, the Life and Ministry Meeting overseer may be used as chairman more frequently than the other qualified elders. If an elder is qualified to conduct the Congregation Bible Study, likely he is qualified to serve as the meeting chairman. Please keep in mind, however, that the elder who serves as chairman is required to offer loving and helpful commendation and counsel to those who have student assignments. The chairman is also responsible for ensuring that the meeting concludes on time. (See paragraphs 14 and 17.) If the chairman wishes and if there is adequate space, a standing microphone may be positioned on the platform so that he can introduce each ensuing part while the brother giving the part is taking his position at the speaker stand. Likewise, the chairman may wish to sit at a table on stage during the student Bible reading assignment and the Apply Yourself to the Field Ministry section of the meeting. This may conserve time.
COORDINATOR OF THE BODY OF ELDERS
23. The coordinator of the body of elders or an elder assisting him assigns all the meeting parts other than the student assignments. This includes the assignment of the meeting chairman for each week from among those approved by the body of elders. In cooperation with the Life and Ministry Meeting overseer, the coordinator of the body of elders should ensure that a copy of the assignment schedule for the entire meeting is posted on the information board.
24. Whenever possible, it is good to use an elder who is an experienced speaker to fill this role. The auxiliary counselor’s responsibility is to give private counsel, if needed, to elders and ministerial servants regarding any speaking assignments they may handle, including parts on the Life and Ministry Meeting, public talks, and conducting or reading at the Watchtower Study or Congregation Bible Study. (See paragraph 17.) If there are a number of elders in the congregation who are capable speakers and teachers, then a different qualified elder may serve as the auxiliary counselor each year. It is not necessary for the auxiliary counselor to offer counsel after each assignment.
25. Depending on the number of students, congregations may hold auxiliary classes for the student assignments. Each auxiliary class should have a qualified counselor, preferably an elder. Where necessary, a well-qualified ministerial servant may be assigned. The body of elders should decide who may serve in this capacity and whether the assignment should rotate. The counselor should follow the procedure described in paragraph 16. If an auxiliary class is held, students should be asked to go to the auxiliary classroom following the Digging for Spiritual Gems portion of the Treasures From God’s Word section of the meeting. They should rejoin the rest of the congregation following the Apply Yourself to the Field Ministry section of the meeting. When a video is discussed, those in the auxiliary classroom should view or listen to the discussion from the auxiliary location, if possible. Otherwise, the counselor should handle the video and discussion, using a mobile device.
26. Selected videos will be used in connection with this meeting. The videos for the midweek meeting will be available via the JW Library® app and accessible using a variety of devices. On occasion, the sample conversation videos may be played at meetings for field service after they have been shown at the Life and Ministry Meeting.
© 2019 Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania