Using Initiative and Defense in Our Ministry
GOOD soldiers are skilled in using both initiative and defense in their warfare.* More than that, they know that the best defense is to take the offensive or the initiative. In this respect Jesus and his apostles set the example for us. Certainly Jesus took the initiative when he entered the synagogue of his home town of Nazareth and applied Isaiah 61:1, 2 to himself.—Luke 4:14-21.
By sending forth the twelve and later the seventy, Jesus, as a good Teacher, was training them to take the initiative, even as Peter and others did at Pentecost. In particular did the apostle Paul take the initiative, going where the need was greatest.
What about us today? Do we dedicated Christian ministers take the initiative by regularly and eagerly engaging in all the various features of the Kingdom ministry, house-to-house preaching, distributing Bible magazines, making return visits upon good-will persons and conducting Bible studies in their homes? Would it be possible for us to be like the apostle Paul and go ‘where the need is great,’ or is at least greater than where we now are? Do we take the initiative in inviting others to share in the ministry or do we wait until they ask us, as happens at times?
Using initiative is particularly essential if we would make the most of our opportunities to do incidental witnessing. Do not wait until your traveling companion, working associate or other “neighbor” starts a conversation and broaches the subject of religion, but take the initiative, tactfully start a conversation and then casually, seemingly, bring it around to the Kingdom hope. Those who do this have many interesting experiences and often get remarkable results. Such was the experience of a missionary who witnessed to his traveling companion in a taxicab. It was the first time the man had been presented with the good news; now he is a zealous dedicated publisher.
What about our defense? Are we ‘always ready to make a defense before everyone that demands of us a reason for our hope, doing so with a mild temper and deep respect’? (1 Pet. 3:15) For our defense to be truly effective we must study diligently; we must do our ‘utmost to present ourselves approved to God, a workman with nothing to be ashamed of, handling the word of the truth aright.’ Only by diligently applying ourselves, preparing for the meetings, attending and taking part in them, will we have the accurate knowledge so essential to wielding the sword of the spirit in such a way that it is alive and exerts power and is sharper than any two-edged sword.—2 Tim. 2:15; Eph. 6:17; Heb. 4:12.
Particularly should we guard against slighting this sword of the spirit because of liking to talk and reason on subjects. Whatever we may say along such lines cannot begin to carry the authority and power that citing, quoting and reading from the Bible can. We may not always have our Bibles with us, so we should have an adequate Scripture vocabulary for the various basic teachings of the Scriptures, such as the importance of the name of Jehovah and its vindication, the Kingdom hope, the resurrection, and so forth. We should likewise be equipped to refute effectively popular false doctrines. And as time goes on we should increase our Scripture vocabulary, even as all intelligent persons keep adding to their vocabulary of words.
In all such ways Christian ministers during August can be alert and be using initiative and defense for fruitful preaching.
For details see The Watchtower, August 15, 1959.