Expanding Our Ministry
1. What responsibility falls upon those learning the truth, and how did Jesus show this?
WHEN an individual studies the Bible he soon learns that a true Christian does not keep his belief to himself. The truth has enlightened his mind, filled his life with hope, and proved to be ‘a light to his roadway’ so that he is able to walk in Christian integrity. If he appreciates the light he is not selfishly going to keep it to himself. “You are the light of the world,” said Jesus. “A city cannot be hid when situated upon a mountain. People light a lamp and set it, not under the measuring basket, but upon the lampstand, and it shines upon all those in the house. Likewise let your light shine before mankind, that they may see your right works and give glory to your Father who is in the heavens.”—Ps. 119:105; Matt. 5:14-16.
2. (a) In what way did Jesus and Paul set the example for us in service, and what is it that makes one want to have a share in the preaching work? (b) How did the psalmist describe the activity of Jehovah’s people, and how can they improve their ability?
2 When Jesus was with his disciples on earth he trained them to be preachers of the truth, and after they had learned the truth and observed how he carried on the ministry, he sent them out to preach to others. Before ascending to heaven Jesus told his disciples: “You will be witnesses of me . . . to the most distant part of the earth.” The apostle Paul appreciated the privilege that was open to him and he said: “I did not hold back from telling you any of the things that were profitable nor from teaching you publicly and from house to house.” And he urged others: “Become imitators of me, even as I am of Christ.” So those who pay attention to the counsel of God’s Word do not hold back the truth or keep it to themselves. As soon as they see the work that has to be done, love of God causes them to talk about him and about his loving purposes. When they realize that this old world of wickedness is going to go down in destruction at the battle of Armageddon but that those who conform to the divine requirements will survive into the new world, love of neighbor makes them feel an urgent need to get out and tell others about it and point them to God’s provision for preservation. The psalmist accurately described them when he said: “About the glory of your kingship they will talk, and about your mightiness they will speak.” They are witnesses of the things that they know; they associate with Jehovah’s organization, and they want to take advantage of every arrangement made through the organization to help them improve their ability as ministers of God.—Acts 1:8; 20:20; 1 Cor. 11:1; Ps. 145:11.
3. As one’s appreciation of the truth deepens, what is he going to want to do, and what opportunities are open?
3 As their appreciation of the truth deepens they are going to want to have a fuller share in the service. Having become established in the truth and appreciating the responsibilities that go with dedication, in a little while they will want to go on to greater service. And so it has been that many have entered the pioneer service. They may continue to live and work in their own home territory, but now they arrange their affairs to spend at least a hundred hours each month in teaching the truth to others, thus having a greater share in the work that has come to be so close to their heart. As Jesus said, they say: “To do your will, O my God, I have delighted, and your law is within my inward parts.” Some of these who are in position to do so may be invited to move out into territories where the witness is not being given to continue their full-time ministry, now perhaps as special pioneers. Or they may be used to open up new fields in other lands as missionaries, to carry on their ministry at a Bethel home, or to serve as a traveling representative of the Society, visiting congregations and isolated groups as a circuit servant or a district servant. Full-time service in any of these fields brings much joy to an individual.—Ps. 40:8.
4. (a) During 1958 how many were in the pioneer service, but how great is the need for pioneers? (b) To whom is the invitation to be a pioneer extended, and what have many found to be an excellent way to get started?
4 The report for the past year shows that 23,772 brothers and sisters are now in the pioneer service. This is 3 percent of all the publishers. There is room for many more. “Lift up your eyes and view the fields, that they are white for harvesting.” Jesus told his disciples: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. Therefore, beg the Master of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.” (John 4:35; Matt. 9:37, 38) Have you ever asked yourself the question, Can I be a pioneer? It is a wonderful field to enter. While the ministers in the congregations are doing a marvelous work and are gathering in the “other sheep” in the larger communities, there is still plenty of room for ministers who can expand their service within Jehovah’s organization. Just how many of the 693,316 regular congregation publishers have prayerfully thought about getting into the pioneer service? Have you ever considered the vacation pioneer work? That is a good way to start and it affords one the opportunity to taste how good it is. It may lead you on into the regular pioneer ministry.
5. How do our brothers behind the iron Curtain feel about their ministry, and how have they responded to the call to pioneer service?
5 In a recent letter from Poland the brother in charge of the work said: “After those in prominent positions were released from prison and again had freedom they informed the brothers that now while the pressure has been relaxed and the work can go on, why not everyone get at it as though Armageddon was going to come tomorrow?” And the brothers took that attitude. Of all the countries in the world Poland is one of the few that has had over a 30-percent increase in publishers. They feel the responsibility that is theirs, and even though they do not have all the publications that other brothers have throughout the world, our brothers in Poland are excited and anxious and alert, on the watch, keeping their ministerial garments on, and are preaching with tremendous success. They meet together and study together so as to help the new ones. All we need to do is look in the 1959 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses at the report for the countries behind the Iron Curtain and see what a marvelous increase has been made by them. This is being done by congregation publishers too. It is hard to be a pioneer, because everyone must work at some secular occupation. But there are many of our brothers behind the Iron Curtain who become vacation pioneers. Together as a congregation of ministers of Jehovah they have searched and hunted for the other sheep and are bringing them into the organization until whole villages are Jehovah’s witnesses. This is a marvelous spirit and it is the spirit energizing the whole organization of Jehovah’s witnesses throughout the world. There is nothing better to talk about than the truth. Everyone should feel the urgency of being on the watch and be looking for the other sheep before Armageddon strikes.
6. Who are the ones that most often succeed in taking up pioneer service, and to what further privileges may it lead?
6 During the past year 1958 there were 18,857 ministers, on the average, in the regular pioneer service. This is better than the year before, but we should observe, too, that there has been a great increase in the number of congregation publishers. It may be that thousands of these could engage in the pioneer service. If a person’s heart is set on a thing, if he really wants to do it, very often he will succeed in organizing his affairs to do it. It takes planning; it requires an organizing of one’s affairs, and, above all, it calls for a mature appreciation of the truth. Pioneer service can be a steppingstone to special pioneer work, missionary work, circuit and district work, and Bethel service. Capable men and women who are wholly devoted to Jehovah God are needed in all these fields. There are wonderful opportunities that await those with the spirit of faithful Isaiah, who said: “Here I am! Send me.”—Isa. 6:8.
7. (a) In what way are special pioneers and missionaries helped to stay in the work, and how has this been made possible? (b) How many are now engaging in these special fields of service?
7 The Society is pleased that the congregation publishers have made such generous contributions to the Society to help those who have been appointed to special pioneer work and to missionary activity. During the year it was possible for the Society to help those serving in these capacities to the extent of $1,662,428.01. Just as long as these contributions continue to come in from all parts of the world the Society will want to put on more special pioneers and more missionaries to reach out into new fields. By Jehovah’s undeserved kindness the Society has been able to increase the number of special pioneers in the world from 3,859 in 1957 to an average of 4,915 during 1958. But there are more special pioneers needed in all parts of the world. In some countries we have sufficient to take care of the work, but in other places special pioneers are still needed. The missionaries, too, have done wonderful work in opening up new fields, and of the 2,176 graduates of Gilead who are still on special assignments 815 are in the missionary field. Many of the other graduates of Gilead are in the circuit work, district work and in Bethel homes. Pioneer service is a grand privilege. Seek it.
8. Who may apply for Bethel service, and how should such service be viewed?
8 Remember, too, there is Bethel service. Any young, healthy, dedicated man who really wants to work full-time in a Bethel home and who wants to make it his life’s work should write to his Branch office and request an application. What a joy to be in a Branch office and to be serving the brothers throughout the whole world with the things that they need so much in order to preach the good news of the Kingdom!
SERVING WHERE THE NEED IS GREAT
9. In response to Jesus’ instructions to carry the good news to people of all nations, what did the first-century Christians do?
9 “The field is the world,” Jesus told his disciples, and he further instructed them that they go to all the nations and make disciples. What was his reason for giving this instruction? It was so that this good news of the Kingdom could be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations. When one reads the Acts of the Apostles, he can follow the expansion of the preaching work then. We learn how the message reached persons who lived on the north coast of Africa, and those from Mesopotamia, Greece, Italy and the islands of the Mediterranean. When persecution arose over Stephen, those who found it necessary to move took advantage of the situation to get out into territories where the need was great. “Consequently those who had been scattered by the tribulation that arose over Stephen went through as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, but speaking the word to no one except to Jews only. However, out of them there were some men of Cyprus and Cyrene that came to Antioch and began talking to the Greek-speaking people, declaring the good news of the Lord Jesus.” Others, such as Paul and his traveling companions, made missionary tours into territory that needed attention, staying as long as necessary, even as he spent eighteen months in Corinth to get things well established before he went on to other places. They were anxious to carry out the command of Jesus to make disciples of people of all the nations.—Matt. 13:38; 28:19; Acts 11:19, 20.
10. What does history show to be the earnest desire of early Christians, and what did they do about it?
10 The zealous first-century Christians were not content to settle down in the place where they had always lived, profess the Christian faith, and wait for the kingdom of God. They saw that there were places where the good news was not yet being preached and they wanted to have as full a share in the work as possible. The Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius Pamphilus speaks of the zeal of the Christians and adds: “Leaving their country, they performed the office of evangelists to those who had not yet heard the faith, whilst with a noble ambition to proclaim Christ, they also delivered to them the books of the holy Gospels. After laying the foundation of the faith in foreign parts as the particular object of their mission, . . . they went again to other regions and nations.” And, as the Scriptural account indicates in the case of Aquila and his wife, in the various places where they lived they opened their own home as a meeting place for those who would begin to associate with them.—Rom. 16:3-5.
11. What similar work is being done today, and especially since when?
11 It is wonderful to see how today the Scriptures are being fulfilled by more migration on the part of Jehovah’s witnesses around the earth. Many of Jehovah’s witnesses have left their own countries and have gone into new fields. The Society encouraged this work on a large scale in 1943 when it opened the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead. Since then thousands of persons have been sent into foreign fields for missionary activity. But this kind of work is not confined just to persons who are trained at Gilead School. Going “to all nations” and making disciples can be done by any dedicated person, young or old, so it is of great interest to all of Jehovah’s witnesses to know that many families wanting to work where the need is great have moved away from their homeland and have gone to other nations. This is something that everyone within Jehovah’s New World society can give prayerful thought to. Maybe your greatest blessing is going to be somewhere else in the world.
12. (a) What is it that moves Jehovah’s people to go out to new fields, and to what extent has it been done recently? (b) How should this opportunity to expand one’s ministry be viewed?
12 It is their love for Jehovah God, their giving him exclusive devotion, their interest in the truth, their desire to preach the good news, that makes God’s people move on to new fields. A report comes from Australia that in the past twelve months fifty-one persons have gone out to six islands of the South Pacific. Twenty-eight of Jehovah’s witnesses have gone abroad from Britain. Two have left Canada. Five have gone out from New Zealand. Ten have left France and a goodly number have moved out from the United States, going to South America and Asia. Other persons have left Germany, Liberia, South Africa, and Finland for the purpose of preaching in other nations. These brothers have packed their belongings and have moved out into a territory where the need is great. That takes love and faith. There are still many places that need more publishers of the Kingdom, and you will find them listed on page 286 of the 1959 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Prayerfully consider this opportunity to expand your ministry. Rich blessings await those who can move out into these fields where the need for workers is so great.
13. (a) Right in one’s own country what opportunities for expanded ministry are there? (b) How did Paul set a fine example for us in opening up new territory, and what counsel did he give?
13 There is the matter of one’s own country too. If the need is great in your own country, stay there. You do not need a passport, you do not usually need permission to travel, but all you need to do is find out from the Branch office of the Society what part of the country needs more ministers and then make arrangements to go there and take up your own occupation and continue preaching. Remember, Paul used to work at making tents to sustain himself, but he went where the need was great to do it, and while there he made his chief interest the preaching of the good news. Whether just one individual or an entire family, by thus being willing to move out to places where there is an urgent need for workers, Jehovah’s people have showed how willing they are to follow the counsel recorded at 1 Corinthians 10:24. “Let each one keep seeking, not his own advantage, but that of the other person.” And at the same time many blessings from Jehovah are in store for them, for “he that sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”—2 Cor. 9:6.
14. In order to grow to maturity, what should each one of us do?
14 Let all of Jehovah’s witnesses grow to maturity. Do as Paul counseled Timothy: “Ponder over these things, be absorbed in them, that your advancement may be manifest to all persons. Pay constant attention to yourself and to your teaching. Stay by these things, for by doing this you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.” A Christian does not want to drift back into the world to die with it at Armageddon; so he must stay with his Christian ministry and progress in it. He wants to keep his ministerial garments on, preaching the good news of God’s kingdom and thus saving himself and others also. How long Jehovah is going to have us preach this good news, how patient he will be toward the Devil’s organization before he brings destruction upon it, we do not know. But until that time comes we want to watch and be alert to all privileges that might come our way. Wherever we are, no matter what the circumstances, whether in favorable season or in troublesome season, we want to continue to preach the word.—1 Tim. 4:15, 16; 2 Tim. 4:2.