How to Succeed in The Pioneer Ministry
IS THE pioneer ministry your career? If you are a pioneer, or full-time Kingdom proclaimer, no doubt you are interested in being successful. But success calls for more than just being able to spend time in a given profession. A successful person must accept training and persistently develop his abilities.
How, then, can you not only continue as a pioneer but also make progress in your career? There are several key questions that you might consider.
How Strong Is My Relationship With God?
One of the most important factors in succeeding as a pioneer is having a close, strong relationship with Jehovah God. In this regard, we can learn a lesson from the psalmist David. He pleaded: “Make me know your own ways, O Jehovah; teach me your own paths. Make me walk in your truth and teach me, for you are my God of salvation. In you I have hoped all day long.”—Psalm 25:4, 5.
David relied completely on the ‘God of his salvation.’ He desired that Jehovah teach him and ‘make him know His own ways.’ Can you not sense David’s consuming desire to please God? This was more than a casual wish, for David said: “In you I have hoped all day long.”
But how can you maintain such a close relationship with Jehovah? Note that the foregoing are David’s expressions in prayer. Yes, communication through prayer is the very foundation of a good relationship with God. And we can take comfort in knowing that there is no need to make an appointment with our heavenly Father. We can approach him at any time. As David said: “To you I keep calling all day long.” (Psalm 86:3) Even God’s own Son, who walked the earth as a perfect man, recognized that he could not succeed without his Father’s help. Jesus spoke to him in prayer throughout the day—early in the morning, during the day, and into the night.—Mark 1:35; Luke 11:1; 6:12.
As Christians, we need to follow Jesus’ example if we are going to succeed in our ministry. (Hebrews 5:7) Concerning prayer, a Christian woman who has been a successful pioneer for 30 years expressed herself this way: “I find that prayer is necessary for me if I’m going to succeed as a pioneer. It has helped me to rely completely on Jehovah, realizing that I could not do it on my own. I constantly ask Jehovah to help me to continue.”
Yes, to succeed in the pioneer service, you need to maintain a strong relationship with Jehovah, fully relying on him through prayer. However, the following is another important question to ask yourself.
How Much Do I Love People?
Pioneering is an expression of love. Why? Because the full-time ministry involves a self-sacrificing spirit. As a pioneer, you are constantly giving of your time and energy to help others. But if you are to continue doing this, you must have a genuine interest in the needs of others. When on earth, Jesus demonstrated such love for people. For example, there was the occasion when he and his disciples were going by boat to a lonely place to “rest up a bit.” However, the crowds got there ahead of them. “Well, on getting out, he saw a great crowd, but he was moved with pity for them, because they were as sheep without a shepherd. And he started to teach them many things.”—Mark 6:30-34.
Like Jesus, as pioneers we must have a deep-rooted love for people. Such love motivates us to expend ourselves in their behalf. As a scribe once said to Jesus: “This loving [God] with one’s whole heart and with one’s whole understanding and with one’s whole strength and this loving one’s neighbor as oneself is worth far more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” (Mark 12:33) These words help us to appreciate that it is not only what we do in our ministry that is important but also why we do it.
As a pioneer, you spend more time in the preaching and disciple-making work than most others do. But you also come in contact with more people. How do you feel toward them? One pioneer said: “I know that love is a fruit of God’s spirit. So without it I wouldn’t be in the truth at all, not to mention succeeding as a pioneer. Love makes me people conscious, aware of their needs, and I appreciate that people respond to love. Of course, there are times when your love for people will be tested because of their attitudes or dispositions. Especially then do I try to listen and be patient.”
Is that how you feel about the people in your territory? To be a successful pioneer, you must love people. (1 Thessalonians 2:6-8) To be effective in your career of pioneering, however, you also need a good schedule. So, ask yourself:
Do I Have a Balanced Schedule?
To continue in the full-time ministry successfully, a pioneer must be well organized. Without a good personal schedule, pioneering may become frustrating. Of course, having a schedule that allows for spending a specific amount of time in the field ministry is not all that is involved.
A pioneer needs a balanced schedule. Do you have one? You might well ask yourself: Am I spending an appropriate amount of time in various features of the ministry? Can I say that I am putting forth every effort to reach the people in the territory? Am I making needed adjustments in my schedule so as to call when they are at home? Do I make effective return visits? Jesus said: “Go therefore and make disciples of people . . . teaching them.” (Matthew 28:19, 20) Both preaching and teaching are integral parts of our ministry. Are you content with placing literature, or do you call back on all who show interest, whether they accept Bible literature or not? In short, are you making your time count?
Am I a Progressive Teacher?
That is another important question. At 2 Timothy 4:2, Paul wrote: “Preach the word, be at it urgently in favorable season, in troublesome season, . . . with all long-suffering and art of teaching.” In order to preach the word, whether inside or outside the congregation, successful pioneers strive to acquire and refine the art of teaching. Why does Paul call teaching an art? Because teaching requires skill and practice.
How are you going to improve your skill as a teacher? The apostle Paul answers: “Ponder over these things; be absorbed in them, that your advancement may be manifest to all persons.” (1 Timothy 4:15) Yes, pioneers must devote time to personal Bible study, reflection, and meditation. This includes the practical application of suggestions found in such publications as Reasoning From the Scriptures, Our Kingdom Ministry, and the Theocratic Ministry School Guidebook.*
To succeed in the pioneer ministry, therefore, maintain your strong personal relationship with Jehovah God. This, in turn, will motivate you to acquire and display a deep-rooted love for people. Of course, to express this love, not only must you be conscious of how much time you spend in the ministry, but you must also want to make your time count. How? By putting forth the needed effort to reach as many people as possible with the Kingdom message. Finally, continue to be progressive as a teacher by learning different methods of approaching people in the ministry and diligently studying the Bible with a view to refining your art of teaching.
Published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.