The Service Overseer—How He Can Help Us
1 As a result of recent adjustments in the arrangement for elders a service overseer will be coordinating all the field activity in the congregation. What does this tell us? For one thing it emphasizes the importance of preaching the good news and making disciples. Additionally, we see the need for improved leadership and participation in the field service.
2 During recent visits of the circuit overseer, one elder was selected to serve as the service overseer. Thought was given to having a brother who is zealous for field service, who loves the preaching work and who is capable of assisting others in making disciples. By the end of August, all congregations will have an assigned service overseer.
3 The service overseer is not given a lot of records to keep, so he is free to take the lead out in the field. He will need and should have the cooperation of all the elders and ministerial servants, who will share in the field service leadership just as shepherds go ahead of the flocks.
4 He will care for the basic responsibilities assigned to the field overseer as outlined on pages 73-76 of the Organization book. (However, field reports will be handled by the secretary.) He will give consideration to the field service arrangements throughout the week and see what improvements might be recommended to the body of elders. If some arrangements are not well supported, why is this the case? Should any adjustments be made? Is there a need for better leadership in some group(s)? Is the maximum being done to provide assistance to those who want help in the service? How is the territory being covered? What can be done to help more conduct Bible studies?
5 Much of his work of strengthening field service will be within the book study groups. Many, if not all, of the elders will be book study conductors, and having discussed and understood what is needed as a body of elders, they will be able to cooperate more readily and effectively with the service overseer in implementing and building support for field service.
6 The service overseer usually will conduct a book study, but once a month he will visit one of the other book study groups, showing particular interest in how the group is doing in the preaching work. (While he is away, his assistant will conduct the study.) With the study being reduced to 45 minutes during his visit, the service overseer will use the closing 15 minutes to encourage all in the group to appreciate their privilege of sharing the good news with others. In addition to working with publishers from house to house as he is able during the week, perhaps he can go with one or more on a Bible study.
7 The service overseer will serve continuously unless circumstances make it necessary for a replacement. If a change must be made, the body of elders will assign that responsibility to another elder and inform the congregation. At his next visit, the circuit overseer will show on his report to the Society which elder is currently serving in that position. The service overseer can take his regular turn as presiding overseer according to the local rotation schedule.
8 We invite your full cooperation with the service overseer in your congregation, as you give good support to the field service arrangements in your book study group.