Success with Bible Studies
1 Recently we heard some interesting experiences related by two married couples who have had outstanding success in conducting home Bible studies. With the help of God’s spirit, each couple has aided between 250 and 300 persons to become dedicated praisers of Jehovah. We thought you would be interested in some of the things that they do.
2 In each case, the husband and wife care for studies as a team. They are willing to start a study with anyone, but their aim is to involve the entire family, and they find that this is easier when they make their return calls together. They really work at this. So, instead of studying with just one person at a time, more often they are studying with couples or with family groups.
3 As for the studies themselves, these are never cut-and-dried sessions, with the conductor simply asking questions and having the paragraphs read. The publishers are enthusiastic about the truth. They help people to see the value of what they are discussing. After an hour of study the people are usually surprised at how quickly the time has gone. They do not want the study to end; they have become engrossed in the discussion and want more. Where possible, the publishers stay and continue the discussion.
BE GENUINE FRIENDS
4 It is important, they feel, to be genuine friends of the people. They find that when people share a meal together, it contributes to a feeling of confidence. So, when they get a study established, they invite the couple over for a meal, and they keep in touch with them by phone during the week, answering questions and relating items of interest.
5 These publishers know that it is important for them to keep their appointments, and they expect the same from those on whom they call. If some do not do it, the publishers do not just pass it off. They endeavor to sit down and talk seriously to them about it. They let them know that this work is important, that it is not just a casual thing. If the people do not respond, they drop the study. Sometimes, of course, people are at home for the study but there is not much interest. The publishers work hard to reach their hearts. But within a month or two, if they are not responding, the publishers use their time elsewhere. These brothers work to support their households, their time is limited, and they want to spend it where it will do the most good. In one town, one of these couples had forty-six studies in a period of eight months, none of which developed. But because they did not waste a lot of time with those who really lacked appreciation, they were able to help those who really wanted the truth. Eight other studies in that area yielded productive Witnesses.
6 To get people to congregation meetings, they start talking about these right away. Especially do they endeavor to stimulate interest by mentioning questions that are going to be answered at a particular meeting. They ask whether that interests the couple; if so, they urge them to come.
7 Week by week they bring along things designed to acquaint newly interested ones with the organization. Sometimes there are newspaper clippings about the Witnesses, perhaps a convention report from years past, or a scrapbook with pictures relating to the organization and people in it. These publishers are enthusiastic about the organization; the newly interested ones respond, and, where possible, an early visit to Bethel further stimulates their growing enthusiasm.
8 To avoid needless stumbling blocks, they tell people from the start that Jehovah’s Witnesses are just normal people with imperfections, that they should not expect to find perfect people in the congregation, but that they will find people who love Jehovah and want to serve him, people who pray for forgiveness when they make mistakes and who try to improve.
9 In the past thirty years, most of their new studies have come from the house-to-house work along with revisits, also from contacts as a result of secular work and from referrals.
10 In summing matters up, they say that what is needed is to be willing to give of oneself all the time, not just an hour a week. It is not just a matter of “here are a few scriptures and that’s it.” Rather, as the apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, “we were well pleased to impart to you, not only the good news of God, but also our own souls, because you became beloved to us.”—1 Thess. 2:8.