A Good Place to Preach
WHEN Christ was on earth he gave the command to “go away and declare abroad the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:60) This command applied not only to his followers of the first century but also to those of this twentieth century. He made that evident when he foretold that in the last days “this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth.” (Matt. 24:14) That preaching is being done today by Jehovah’s witnesses.
They have found New York city a good place in which to obey Jesus’ command. It is a city that has a good transportation system and millions of people living close together on 200,000 acres of land. This permits the witnesses to speak to a great many people in the space of a few hours.
The prophet Isaiah said that “the little one shall became a thousand.” (Isa. 60:22, AS) This certainly has been true in New York city. Twenty-six years ago it had only one congregation of Jehovah’s witnesses. Today it has sixty-nine congregations, with more than eight thousand active witnesses proclaiming the good news of God’s kingdom. These ministers are holding more than 5,600 home Bible studies with New York residents. Their growth is continuing at an ever-increasing rate.
This growth can be attributed to the fact that they have been doing what King David foretold nearly three thousand years ago: “They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power; to make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glory of the majesty of his kingdom.”—Ps. 145:11, 12, AS.
As Christ’s followers in the first century preached from house to house in Jerusalem they encountered Jews from many nations. On the day of Pentecost, for example, they had the privilege of speaking to a large crowd that spoke many languages. Regarding this the Bible says: “The multitude came together and were bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in his own language.”—Acts 2:6.
New York is also a city of many tongues. In 1950 it had over two and a half million foreign-born citizens and nearly two million of foreign-born or mixed parentage. These people are not being preached to in the miraculous manner in which the disciples preached to that crowd at Pentecost; but, nevertheless, they are hearing the good news of God’s kingdom in their own language by means of printed Bible-study aids and by means of witnesses who can speak those languages.
Being such a mixed city, New York is, indeed, an excellent place for the international assembly of Jehovah’s witnesses. Visiting delegates will have many fine opportunities to preach in their own tongue.
There will be ample territory for all the witnesses to engage in the ministry while here, but they may find circumstances quite different from what they have been accustomed to. For one thing, New Yorkers are generally an impatient lot that want a caller to get to the point in as few words as possible. This requires introductions that are striking and brief, as well as sermons that have a theme that stands out clearly from beginning to end. They will find that they must preach, in many cases, through peepholes, being unable to see any more than the eye of the householder. In other cases they will be expected to talk through a closed door or up a stair well. They will find New York a good place to test their ability as ministers.
At Proverbs 1:20 it is written: “True wisdom itself keeps crying aloud in the very street. In the public squares it keeps giving forth its voice.” This proved true in the days of the apostles, because they preached publicly in the streets and market places. It is also proving true today in the work Jehovah’s witnesses are doing. They too are declaring the wisdom of God in the places of public concourse. New York is well suited for this type of preaching. It has many busy streets and public squares with wide, roomy sidewalks. The conventioners will find them well suited for placard and magazine work.
During the eight days of the assembly this summer visiting witnesses will not want to miss the experience of declaring the good news of the Kingdom in this great city. Their zealous preaching will give it the greatest witness to the name and purposes of Jehovah that it ever has received.