PREACHING the good news is the most important work being done on earth today. As one of Jehovah’s servants, you surely view it as an honor to participate in the disciple-making activity. You will no doubt agree, however, that pioneers and publishers occasionally face challenges in maintaining their zeal for the ministry.
Some publishers have a hard time finding anyone to hold a conversation with in the house-to-house ministry. In fact, the majority of the local residents may not be at home. When householders are contacted, their reaction to the Kingdom message may be apathetic or even hostile. Other publishers feel overwhelmed because they have a vast and productive field in which to preach but fear that they will never complete the task. And some members of the congregation have been preaching for years—longer than they ever expected—and have become discouraged.
Should it surprise us that all of Jehovah’s people face challenges that could dampen their zeal for the preaching work? No. After all, would any of us expect it to be easy for us to proclaim God’s lifesaving message of truth in a world dominated by “the wicked one,” Satan the Devil?—1 John 5:19.
Whatever challenges you personally face in declaring the good news, be assured that Jehovah can help you to overcome them. What, though, can you do to enhance your zeal for the Christian ministry? Let us examine some suggestions.
HELP LESS EXPERIENCED ONES
Every year, thousands are baptized as new Witnesses of Jehovah. If you have recently symbolized your dedication to God by water baptism, you would no doubt appreciate benefiting from the experience of those who have been preaching longer than you have. And if you have been a Kingdom publisher for many years, would it not be appropriate and rewarding to help train newer ones?
Jesus knew that his disciples needed direction in order to become effective evangelizers, and he demonstrated how the work should be done. (Luke 8:1) Today, too, there is a need to train others to be effective ministers.
We should not assume that a new publisher will acquire teaching skills simply by participating in the ministry. He or she needs personal instruction from a kind and loving trainer. Such training would include showing the less experienced publisher how to (1) prepare and practice a presentation, (2) engage a householder or a passerby in conversation, (3) offer literature, (4) follow up interest, and (5) start a Bible study. Very likely, good results will be obtained if the trainee observes and imitates the methods used in the ministry by the one who is helping him. (Luke 6:40) The new publisher will undoubtedly appreciate having someone with him who can listen and help out if the need arises. The less experienced publisher will also benefit from receiving commendation and helpful suggestions.—Eccl. 4:9, 10.
CONVERSE WITH YOUR PREACHING PARTNER
Despite all your efforts to have discussions with householders, on some days the best conversation you have in the field service is with your preaching partner. Remember that Jesus sent his disciples out “by twos” to preach. (Luke 10:1) As they worked together, they could stimulate and motivate each other. So time spent in the field with a fellow believer offers a fine opportunity for “an interchange of encouragement.”—Rom. 1:12.
What are some things you might talk about? Has either of you recently had an encouraging experience? Have you discovered an interesting point in your personal or family study? Were you built up by something you heard at a meeting? At times, the publisher you are working with may not be your regular preaching partner. Do you know how he came into the truth? What convinced him that this is Jehovah’s organization? What privileges or experiences has he had? Perhaps you can share some of your experiences. Whatever the response from the field turns out to be, working with someone in the ministry provides a fine opportunity to “keep . . . building one another up.”—1 Thess. 5:11.
STICK TO YOUR GOOD STUDY HABITS
Essential to maintaining zeal for the ministry is cultivating and sticking to good study habits. “The faithful and discreet slave” publishes information on a wide range of topics. (Matt. 24:45) So the subjects that you can study in order to take in spiritual food are extremely varied. Let us consider an example of a good subject for personal study: Why is the Kingdom-preaching work of great importance? The accompanying box sets out some of the reasons.
Considering the points listed in the box can motivate you to keep on preaching zealously. Why not make it a study project to see how many other reasons you can list? Then meditate on the reasons and the scriptures that support them. Doing so will no doubt strengthen your zeal for the ministry.
BE OPEN-MINDED ABOUT SUGGESTIONS
Jehovah’s organization regularly offers suggestions designed to help us improve our ministry. In addition to our house-to-house work, for example, we might engage in letter writing, telephone witnessing, preaching on the street or in other public places, and sharing the good news with people informally and in business territory. We may also be able to arrange our affairs so that we can witness in seldom-worked territory.
Are you open-minded about these suggestions? Have you tried to put some of them into practice? Many who have done so have been overjoyed with the results. Consider three examples.
The first example involves the effect of something said in one of the Kingdom Ministry articles on how to start Bible studies. It moved a sister named April to offer a study to three of her coworkers. She was surprised and thrilled when all three accepted her offer and also began to attend congregation meetings.
The second example has to do with placing our magazines. We have been encouraged to search out people who are likely to respond to specific articles in our journals. A circuit overseer in the United States reported that he had offered an Awake! article on tires to the managers of all the tire stores in a certain area. He and his wife also took a series on “Understanding Your Doctor” to over 100 doctor’s offices in the circuit. He says: “Such visits have been very useful in introducing ourselves and the literature. After getting on friendly terms with individuals in these places, we have been able to increase our contact with them.”
The third example involves witnessing by telephone. A sister named Judy wrote to world headquarters to express appreciation for the encouragement to do telephone witnessing. She reported that her 86-year-old mother, who had many health problems, regularly shared in this form of sacred service and was gaining great joy from conducting a Bible study by telephone with a 92-year-old!
The witnessing suggestions made in our publications really work. Use them! They can help you to maintain your joy and your zeal for the ministry.
SET REASONABLE GOALS
Success in our preaching work is not measured primarily in terms of how many publications we distribute, how many Bible studies we conduct, or how many people we help to become Jehovah’s servants. After all, how many people outside his immediate family did Noah help to become Jehovah’s worshippers? Yet, he was certainly a successful preacher. What counts is that we serve Jehovah faithfully.—1 Cor. 4:2.
Many Kingdom publishers find that in order to stimulate their own enthusiasm for the preaching work, they need to set reasonable goals. What might some of these be? A few ideas are presented in the accompanying box.
With Jehovah’s help, seek ways to make your service rewarding and productive. When you reach your goals, you will have the joy of accomplishment and the satisfaction of knowing that you are doing all you can to preach the good news.
True, preaching the good news can be a challenge. Yet, there are things you can do to be a zealous Kingdom proclaimer. Enjoy an interchange of encouragement with your preaching partner, cultivate and stick to good study habits, put into practice the faithful slave’s suggestions, and set reasonable goals. Above all, remember that God has granted you the inestimable privilege of declaring the good news as one of his Witnesses. (Isa. 43:10) What joy you will experience as you continue to maintain your zeal for the ministry!