Magazines Point the Way to Life
1 Unique! That is what you could call the Watchtower and Awake! magazines. Right now there are at least 10,952 periodicals published in the United States, myriads more worldwide, but only two of them—The Watchtower and Awake!—point the way to eternal life. Do you fully appreciate their high value?—Prov. 9:10, 11; John 17:3.
2 Remember, at one time you were searching for the path to eternal life. Thankfully the Watchtower and Awake! magazines helped you find it. Or, perhaps it was your parents that groped for the truth. They found it and now you, too, have it. Again, the magazines helped.
3 Likewise today, there are honest-hearted ones who are entangled in the present wicked system and who are also searching for a way out. They sense that life and the world have lost meaning. Instead of hope, they sense doom. (Ps. 12:1, 2, 5; Ezek. 9:4) Proverbs 29:18 accurately describes why they feel despair and then offers the remedy: “Where there is no vision the people go unrestrained, but happy are they that are keeping the law.”
4 The Watchtower and Awake! sharpen the readers’ eyes as to how a peaceful, righteous future can be obtained, helping them to see the wisdom of following Jehovah’s laws. (Jer. 29:11) “For the one finding me [wisdom] will certainly find life, and gets goodwill from Jehovah,” says Proverbs 8:35.
MAGAZINE WITNESSING POINTS PEOPLE TO LIFE
5 Witnessing with magazines can benefit all sorts of people, who live anywhere, under every circumstance, who are bewildered by this system. Why? Because our magazines are like a compass. No matter who the person is or which way he faces, whether the sky is clear or cloudy, a compass will always point him in only one direction. Likewise, The Watchtower and Awake! always point in only one direction—Jehovah’s way to eternal life—helping people to steer a safe course through the muddle of this wicked system. Therefore, are you and your family regular in magazine activity?
6 Our magazines have proved to be highly effective tools in carrying on our field ministry. These magazines are fresh, alive, keeping up with events of the day. They are the product of research in the Scriptures done by the “faithful and discreet slave,” and they present true evaluations of the latest developments in world affairs, science, archaeology and matters related to Christian faith and living. (Matt. 24:45) Many probably do not realize the great amount of time that is spent in preparing articles for publication. Do not take the magazines for granted. Because we receive a magazine almost every week, we may tend to underestimate its worth.
7 People in the medical profession, educators, social workers and other professionals, not to mention our own brothers and sisters, regularly comment on the value of the articles in The Watchtower and Awake! For example, note what non-Witnesses say about our magazines:
● “I am a professor of biological science and at times I have had difficulty in harmonizing science and religion. The last issue of The Watchtower made so many things clear.”—Brazil.
● “Reading your magazines is a genuinely joyful experience. They are not cheap, low-quality ‘comforters,’ but contain guidance and direction on how to make life meaningful.”—Germany.
● “It is so refreshing to read the magazines again and I must add that Awake! is my medical ‘up-date’ and is really worth it for that alone.” (Retired medical doctor)—England.
● “Awake! not only widens my knowledge but also broadens my outlook. I commend the printers and publishers for their meritorious service.”—Nigeria.
8 ‘Are the magazines less important in the preaching work than books?’ some ask. Well, is a hammer less important in the construction trade than a saw? Both are vital. Though each tool has a different function, both contribute to the common goal of building something. All published items are important in getting the preaching work done. Consider what one traveling overseer wrote about the value of magazines:
“Many people do not care to read a book of many pages; they prefer short stories, brief articles that can be read quickly—magazines serve that purpose very well.”
Magazine witnessing, therefore, should occupy an important part of our field service schedule.
9 In addition, magazines that are placed give an effective witness long after we leave the door, and eventually they give a witness to more people. (Statistics show that, on the average, a secular magazine is read by more than four people.) Therefore, let the magazines speak!
IMPORTANCE OF MAGAZINE PLACEMENTS
10 Interest in magazines is alive and growing. Consider these facts: Last year, more than one new consumer magazine a week was published just in the United States. Nine out of ten youths between the ages of 10 and 18, and nine out of ten adults read at least one magazine every month. Also, when you approach a newsstand, what do you see? Magazines. At a corner store, what catches your eye? Magazines. What makes a postman bend under the weight of his mailbag? Magazines. Thus, what are people reading? Magazines! The world is magazine conscious. Can we make honest-hearted persons in the world more Watchtower and Awake! conscious? Yes, if WE are Watchtower and Awake! conscious. What can help us?
HAVE YOU TRIED MAGAZINE DAYS?
11 Magazine days are a time-tested way to reach people with the Kingdom message. They are field service days, usually on Saturday, set aside for magazine witnessing. Magazine street witnessing became a milestone in our theocratic history more than 44 years ago. The January 1940 issue of the Informant (Our Kingdom Ministry) encouraged publishers to schedule a special day each week for street witnessing, using the magazines. In 1949 the house-to-house ministry with the magazines was introduced as a part of Magazine Day. But house-to-house magazine witnessing was not stressed until the Informant of October 1952 said:
“The most effective means of distributing the magazines is from house to house and store to store. Hence the Society recommends that these avenues of magazine distribution be a regular part of Magazine Day activity.”
That advice regarding magazine distribution is still valid today.
12 The service overseer, the brother handling the territory, and you, can help to make magazine days a success. How? First, the service overseer may schedule regular magazine activity for the congregation. For most congregations Saturdays will likely be the best time. Second, the brother handling the territory may assign territory solely for magazine witnessing. Most congregations usually find that rotating the territory between magazine witnessing and the literature offer works out well. Therefore, as far as it is practical, individual territories can be worked one time exclusively with the magazines and the next time with the regular literature offer. Third, you may support magazine days, either on a Saturday or on another day during the week convenient to your personal schedule.
13 What is the objective of magazine days? Their purpose, then and now, goes beyond placements. Magazine days emphasize reaching more people with the truth. (Prov. 1:20) This was explained in the Informant of May 1949, which stated: “The expanded distribution will bring Jehovah’s kingdom more prominently in view, and help increased numbers of the reading public to find hope and life.” Placing magazines, therefore, can be the initial step in starting many people on the way to a Bible study, which may help them become part of the Christian congregation.
14 Do not hesitate to share in magazine day activity. Develop a more positive attitude toward magazine witnessing, for “we are not peddlers of the word of God” (2 Cor. 2:17) In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul had in mind hucksters who watered down wine for a quick sale. Those peddlers were out for their own personal gain and had no concern for either the quality of the goods or the real interests of their customers.
15 False ministers are just like those ancient hucksters, always watering down the Word of God with human philosophies and traditions in order to enhance their own power, prestige and finances. We are different. We are preaching “out of sincerity,” not for personal gain, as “sent from God, under God’s view.” (2 Cor. 2:17) Our magazines are not adulterated but, rather, are spiritually wholesome. Much work and time are invested in each issue. So, take a fresh, positive attitude toward magazine days.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
16 First, set a personal goal. As a suggestion, publishers may have a goal of, say, 10 magazines per month, depending on their circumstances; pioneers might strive for 90. Of course, some publishers may be able to place more magazines per month and therefore will set a higher personal goal. However, because of poor health, type of territory, or other good reasons, the goal of others may be lower. Yet their service to Jehovah is just as worthy. (Matt. 13:23; Luke 21:3, 4) The important thing is to have a personal goal.
17 What do the Society’s branches say about personal goals?
● “It is good and stimulating to have goals to reach out for. All pioneers should make purposeful efforts to place some magazines each day.”—Sweden.
● Some publishers who had set goals for themselves on Saturday morning found that they “placed more magazines than they had in the past. Goals do work!”—United States.
● “A pioneer sister aimed to place 100 magazines per month. She increased her regular order of magazines to 120; now she places 160 magazines a month.”—Japan.
18 Next, have a definite magazine order, if possible, for each publisher in your family. You may place an order with the brother handling magazines, for a set number of copies of each issue. The result: You and your family will have a regular and adequate supply of magazines.
19 Then, schedule a definite and regular time for magazine witnessing. It may be house-to-house witnessing, street witnessing, business witnessing, magazine route witnessing or any combination of the foregoing.
20 Now you are ready to prepare a brief magazine presentation—30 to 60 seconds. You cannot do a lot in 30 to 60 seconds. So aim to say only a little, but say it well. Be enthusiastic. Appeal to the person. Be specific. Pick out one idea from an article, put it into a few pointed words and present the magazines. It has been observed that some publishers may talk too long, talking the householder into taking the magazines and then talking him out of it.
21 Finally, offer the magazines on every appropriate occasion. “The magazines are not sufficiently offered in informal witnessing,” notes the France branch. And one circuit overseer made this helpful observation: “If publishers would carry magazines with them when they go shopping, visit friends, stop at gas stations, they would find many occasions to place magazines.”
22 Here are some other occasions: When the book offer is refused. When the householder is busy. When we talk to fellow employees or students, neighbors, relatives, people we meet on public transportation or in medical waiting rooms. Can you list any other appropriate occasions?
FEATURE ONE ARTICLE
23 An effective way to arouse the householder’s interest is by raising a question that is answered in an article in one of the magazines. As one branch wrote:
“The best presentation seems to follow the form of raising a subject of interest, usually in the form of a question, pointing to an article in one of the magazines discussing this subject and offering this magazine along with the other as its companion.”
You may find this simple approach will be effective in your territory.
24 Before starting out in magazine witnessing, look over the magazines and pick out a few eye-catching features. Ask yourself: ‘To whom would this article be appealing, a mother, a nonreligious person, a youth?’ Think of one or two sentences you could say to prompt a comment from the householder or stir interest.
STREET WITNESSING IS EFFECTIVE
25 I saw three publishers standing on a busy street corner outside the entrance to a restaurant, talking to one another, holding their magazines in the air out in front of them, while scores of people passed right by them,” observed one circuit overseer. Were those publishers effective in street witnessing? Did it seem that they were interested in people, or in just counting their field service time? In some locations and with some publishers, standing still with the magazines exposed has produced good results. But for the majority of publishers, standing in one spot is not the best way to make use of our magazine witnessing time. More than three decades ago the Society offered advice that is still timely:
“Do not stand like a signpost merely holding up the magazines, but walk about the street, offering the magazines to those standing at the curb and to persons in parked cars, also to those walking down the street. Smile, look directly at the person and speak.”
26 Publishers who cluster in groups, either on the street corner or while walking down the street, may find that separating and approaching people, while the other publishers are busy close by, improves their magazine witnessing. Few strangers will approach a group of people, but many strangers will stop and listen briefly if they are approached by only one person.
27 Here are some more ideas on street witnessing:
● It is good to speak directly to the person, give a friendly greeting, show him one article, and perhaps say: “Would this subject interest you?”
● Some have found that their placements are best and steady when they are at the same place the same time each week. It is also a fact that publishers will meet different groups of people on the streets at different times of the day.
● As is true in other features of the field service, we need to be groomed and dressed in a way befitting one of God’s ministers.
● Approaching people with the magazine opened to a particular article that deals with local problems has been found helpful.
MAGAZINE ROUTES AND BUSINESS WITNESSING
28 Magazine routes are excellent stepping-stones to home Bible studies. Have you tried them? When you make regular return visits with the latest magazines, you will find that warmth and friendliness will grow between you and the householder. But some may feel that a magazine route call is to be made ‘when we have nothing else to do.’ A magazine route call is important! It is a return visit when you talk with the same person again.
29 How do you start a magazine route? You lay the foundation on the first call wherever the magazines are placed. Next, note five simple points on your House-to-House Record. They are (1) householder’s name, (2) address, (3) date of visit, (4) issues placed, (5) article featured. Then you return two weeks later with the latest two magazines.
30 The following are additional observations:
● Those who have magazine routes place many magazines even though the territories are being covered regularly.
● One sister had some exceptional results after taking out a territory for magazine witnessing. In 14 days she had 40 calls on her magazine route. Another sister, by following up all interest shown, was able to add 80 calls to her route.
31 Magazine witnessing to business people in your territory can bring you many good experiences. In giving more attention to the store-to-store work, try to engage in such activity at times when there are not so many people out shopping. It has been found that getting an early start before there are many shoppers on the streets is good because storekeepers are usually more relaxed and not so busy. Be brief, to the point and well dressed. A magazine route may be developed with interested persons found in business territory.
32 Our brothers have found these suggestions to be effective when witnessing with magazines:
● Read the magazines ahead of time and get to know the articles.
● Find an article that deals with a current problem in your community.
● Have one article in mind that will appeal to each of the three categories: men, women, youths.
● Show how the magazine relates to the householder and how the whole family will enjoy it.
● Adjust the time of magazine activity so as to meet more people at the door. Some congregations that arrange for evening activity have a very high average of magazine placements.
● The most successful presentations are usually short and to the point.
● Don’t talk too fast. If a householder has no interest, your talking faster will not make him interested. Instead, slow down and show personal interest in the householder.
● Many magazines are placed with individuals who say that they are busy. To such householders a publisher can simply say: “Instead of my taking time to talk with you, our latest magazines contain our message.” Then offer to leave two magazines for a contribution of 30 cents.
33 Last year, an insert in Our Kingdom Ministry for April stressed the importance of obtaining subscriptions. The response was commendable, resulting in a 28-percent worldwide increase in subscriptions, with some countries doubling their previous year’s total. Will we see the same enthusiastic response to the encouragement in this insert to share more fully in witnessing with magazines? If so, our magazines will be pointing many more people to eternal life.
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Offering Magazines From House to House
1. Have friendly smile, friendly tone of voice.
2. Be enthusiastic about magazines.
3. Speak slowly; speak distinctly.
4. Speak on only one subject; briefly stimulate interest in subject and show its value to householder.
5. Highlight just one article. It should match your subject and be appropriate for householder.
6. Feature only one magazine, offering other as companion.
7. You may find it helpful to hand magazine to householder.
8. Prepare the way for return visit.
9. Have friendly, positive conclusion when magazines are refused.
10. Make notation on House-to-House Record.
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Opportunities to Place Magazines
◆ House-to-house witnessing
◆ Street witnessing
◆ Business witnessing
◆ Magazine route witnessing
◆ Evening witnessing
◆ When book offer is refused
◆ When making return visits
◆ Calling on former Bible students
◆ When traveling, shopping
◆ When talking to relatives, co-workers, neighbors, schoolmates, teachers