Presenting the Good News—Are You Effectively Covering Your Territory?
1 Did you know that, on the average, for every publisher in the United States there are about 403 persons needing to hear the “good news”? Why is it vital that all be contacted with the Kingdom message? It is because their very lives are at stake, as well as our own. (Ezek. 3:17-19; 33:6; 1 Tim. 4:16) Many people are still responding to the “good news” throughout the country. So, we should be interested not just in how many times we can cover our territory in a given period or in how much literature we can place, but in how many persons we can reach with our Scriptural message of the Kingdom.
2 In order to cover our territory thoroughly, we should not overlook the value of keeping an accurate record of those who are not at home. Do you keep such a record? And then, do you go back and try to contact the people who live in each one of those homes? As you know, on your first return call you still may not find them at home. But try again. If repeated calls do not yield results, why not try the telephone or perhaps write them a letter? Do not give up until you get in touch with them. They need to hear the “good news.” None of us should feel that a territory has been covered if we still have even a few homes where we have not yet contacted the occupants, either in person or by mail. However, it would be helpful to turn the territory in at least by the end of four months. It can be checked out again, if advisable.
3 Those in whom we are particularly interested, of course, are those who listen appreciatively to the Kingdom message. Some of these accept literature; others simply show interest in the things that we point out to them from the Bible. In each case, however, should we not be planning to make a return visit? If we have that in mind, we ought to keep a good record showing the name of the householder and any other information that will help us to follow through on the interest already shown. Does it make sense to go on working more territory week after week if we are not calling back on interested ones that we have already located? Can we really say that we are covering our territory effectively if we fail to make those return visits? Even after a territory has been turned in, we should continue to follow through on any interest that we have found.
4 While having in mind effective coverage of our territory, we may find that certain recommended topics for conversation are not well received in a particular territory. This may be due to religious, social or cultural backgrounds of the people there. You may then find it advisable to use another topic for conversation, perhaps from among the fine ones found in past issues of Our Kingdom Service, that is more suitable for that type of territory. For example, we can appreciate that in some predominantly Jewish sections our approach may need to be adjusted considerably from one used in mainly Catholic territories. This would apply in other circumstances as well. By using discernment and being adaptable with our presentations, we may be able to stimulate more interest in the Bible’s message in the territory.
5 As we all know, there are some territories that are more productive than others. That being so, we should not insist on working all territories in a strict rotation. This means that some territory may be worked more often than other territory. Certainly, all the territory in the congregation needs to be covered, and it would be beneficial to cover all of it thoroughly at least once a year. But we are especially interested in making disciples. So, if some areas prove to be more fruitful than others, it might be beneficial to cover these more often. In his service, the apostle Paul did not cover every province in Asia Minor on the basis of strict rotation. He followed the leading of Jehovah’s spirit, and that spirit directed him into areas that proved to be fruitful in producing new praisers of Jehovah.—Acts 16:6-10, 14; 18:9-11.
6 The purpose of covering our territory effectively is to give people an opportunity to come to know the “good news.” As we find interest, then, we should be alert to demonstrate our Bible study arrangement so as to make disciples of sheeplike ones in obedience to Jesus’ command.