Benefiting from the Circuit Overseer’s Visit
1 How much we all enjoy the loving provision of the circuit overseer’s visit! For almost a week he is with our congregation, meeting with the elders, attending all our meetings, speaking a number of times from the platform and working with us in the field. When he leaves, we feel built up spiritually and are anxious to serve more fully, putting into practice the fine suggestions he has left with us.
2 But are all of us taking full advantage of the opportunities open to us to work with him in the field? Reports coming to the Society indicate that more could share with him in the field ministry. Sometimes, it is said, the meetings for field service, even on weekdays, are scheduled for late in the morning, resulting in only limited time available for the house-to-house work. At times few, if any, come out to enjoy the return visit and Bible study work in the afternoons.
3 The circuit overseer is an elder, very much interested in the congregation’s spirituality and how the congregation carries out its responsibility to get the good news preached in the assigned territory. Circuit overseers, having the pioneer spirit, look forward to sharing as fully as possible in the field ministry. So they enjoy serving Jehovah even if it means working alone. But when this happens, it means that the publishers are not benefiting as much from the circuit overseer’s visit.
4 What are some things that can be done so that the publishers can receive greater benefit? Preparation on the part of the elders can be a large factor. For example, they might discuss whether it would be good to start the meetings for field service earlier. While some people will sleep later on Sunday, on other days of the week they are usually up and can be called on earlier. Some territories might be worked earlier in the morning than others, and these could be selected for that week. If some of the publishers cannot be there for the meeting for field service, likely they can meet the others in the field later. The more experienced publishers might personally invite others to come along and taste the joy that results from putting forth a special effort to share in the increased field activity during the week of the circuit overseer’s visit. Some might be able to enroll as temporary pioneers.
5 The circuit overseer is desirous of aiding also in the disciple-making work. Afternoons during the week are usually set aside for return visits and Bible study activity. Why not arrange to work with him? He will be glad to go with you on some of your calls, and it is possible that his experience and ability will be just what are needed in order to get a study started. If you can arrange for your home Bible study to be conducted Wednesday, Thursday or Friday afternoon, the circuit overseer or his wife could arrange to go with you and undoubtedly be of assistance to both the student and you. He might help you with some teaching suggestions, and the student with just the encouragement needed to build appreciation.
6 Are there obstacles to your working with the circuit overseer? Often these can be overcome. Some who work secularly have been able to take off time to be in the field ministry that week. Are some hesitant, feeling that their presentation will not at all compare to the polished one of the experienced traveling elder? We hope he does have some thoughts and ideas to share, along with a logical and persuasive way of presenting them. In this way we learn more from him. Besides, we can have confidence that as an “older man” he will do “nothing out of contentiousness or out of egotism, but with lowliness of mind considering that the others are superior.” (Phil. 2:3) Those who are concerned about improving their effectiveness in the field ministry and who make it a point to work with him are richly rewarded.
7 The congregation is notified of the visit of the circuit overseer about two months in advance. That is the time for the overseers to begin making preparations for the visit. Publishers can begin planning too. The visit will be a time of increased activity in the field ministry, so forethought is needed. Additional magazines will undoubtedly be needed, territory should be arranged for, and meetings for field service scheduled. The entire congregation, knowing that everything has been well arranged in advance, will be looking forward eagerly to this week of increased praise to Jehovah.