Continued Increase Calls for Simplification of Procedures
1 The opening words of Isaiah chapter 54 call upon Jehovah’s wifelike organization to prepare for joyous increases. Growth, expansion, and renewed strength are in the offing. Fulfillment of that exciting prophecy has resulted in the phenomenal expansion of true worship we now see as Jehovah speeds up the ingathering work.—Isa. 54:1-4; 60:22.
2 Can Jehovah’s organized people keep pace with this present God-given increase? The results of Jehovah’s blessing present a challenge that must be met, and we are happy to see that Jehovah has given his people the needed spirit of wisdom and understanding. (Col. 1:9, 10) We must agree that through the faithful “slave” class Jesus Christ has directed matters efficiently for the outworking of Jehovah’s purpose in a marvelous way.—Matt. 24:45-47.
3 A major factor in resolving problems arising from rapid growth has proved to be the simplification of procedures. Jehovah’s visible organization has demonstrated an awareness of this important fact. During recent years we have seen numerous simplification measures taken regarding rooming and food service arrangements at conventions, literature orders and shipments, the obtaining of congregation supplies, Memorial invitations, handbills, and circuit assembly programs. Publishers, pioneers, congregations, elders and ministerial servants, traveling overseers, and the Society have all benefited greatly.
4 It now appears to be the course of wisdom and good judgment to introduce additional simplified procedures. We are confident that these also will have Jehovah’s blessing, since they will allow for handling further increases in praises to him.
WHAT GROWTH HAS MEANT
5 During the past few years, we have seen outstanding increases in the number of congregations in the United States. There has been an even greater increase in the number of pioneers. In just the last four years 634 new congregations have been formed, and the number of regular pioneers has increased by more than 100 percent! Now there are well over 45,000 regular pioneers and more than 8,300 congregations reporting field service to the Society each month. How thrilling it is to observe that brothers and sisters everywhere are being motivated to increase their activity in the harvest and that thousands have been able to enter the pioneer service!—Matt. 6:33.
6 In order to care for the volume of work this increase brings, further simplification is called for. A great deal of time is being used to enter nearly 55,000 congregation and individual regular pioneer reports in the Society’s records each month. There has also been a corresponding increase in mail received from congregations and pioneers. Because of this increase in volume of mail, we have not always been able to respond to important correspondence as quickly as we would like, especially during certain busy times of the year. The need to simplify certain procedures so that our resources and time can be utilized to the best advantage has become quite evident.
SIMPLIFIED REPORTING ARRANGEMENT
7 A simplified way for regular pioneer reports to be tabulated and sent to the Society will go into effect September 1, 1986. This, along with other adjusted organizational procedures, has already been explained to the elders. The information provided in this insert should help all to understand the simplified procedure affecting the way pioneers report their field service. By becoming thoroughly familiar with what is stated here, elders and pioneers may quickly recognize the advantages to themselves as well as to the Society, and all should be able to follow this procedure without difficulty when making the September field service reports.
8 The individual monthly Regular Pioneer Report form (S-200) will no longer be sent to the Society; therefore, supplies of these have not been mailed to the congregations for the 1987 service year. Starting with reports for the month of September 1986, all regular pioneers will use the Field Service Report form (S-4) when reporting their ministerial activity to the congregation. The regular pioneer hour requirement is figured on a yearly basis. The congregation secretary will continue to record carefully the pioneer’s field service report each month on a Congregation’s Publisher Record card (S-21). This will ensure that the congregation will have the pioneer’s correct total of hours, placements, and other activity at the end of the service year. When a pioneer fails to meet the goal of hours for the month, he should be sure to state the reason on the back of his S-4 report, just as he did previously on the S-200 Regular Pioneer Report form. The secretary will note this reason in the “Remarks” column of the Congregation’s Publisher Record card. As pointed out later in this insert, provision will be made to inform the Society of the total hours for each pioneer at the end of the service year, and any reasons for failure to meet the hour requirement will be stated on that report.
9 The congregation secretary should continue to mail the Congregation Report (S-1) to the Society each month, just as he has been doing. The report will show the total field service activity for publishers, auxiliary pioneers, and regular pioneers. This has not changed. One feature of the report that will be different is that on the back of the S-1 form there will be a place to advise the Society when a pioneer changes congregations or when there is a name change, such as when a single sister gets married. Previously, pioneers could inform the Society of a change in their congregation or name by noting this information on the back of their pioneer report. Now the secretary will be responsible for advising us of changes by indicating such on the back of the Congregation Report. Whenever a name change is reported, the pioneer’s Watchtower Identification and Assignment card (S-202) should be returned by the secretary, and the Society will issue the pioneer a new card showing the adjustment.
10 At the end of the service year, the secretary will continue to send the Congregation Analysis Report (S-10) to the Society as in previous years. Beginning this September, the secretary will list on the back of the S-10 form the names of all who are active regular pioneers as of September 1 and give their total hours for the months they pioneered consecutively through the end of the service year.
11 By now congregations should have a supply of the simplified Application for Regular Pioneer Service form (S-205). We request that only the revised application form be used. With each new pioneer appointment, we will send a blank application form so that the congregation will always have some on hand.
MORE PERSONAL ASSISTANCE TO BE GIVEN
12 The entire body of elders, and particularly the Congregation Service Committee, will want to take a personal interest in the pioneers. The following questions will help the elders to see where they can render assistance to the pioneers: Are they effective in most features of the ministry, or do they need training in the return-visit or Bible-study work? Are they reflecting the fruitage of the spirit, working together in peace and harmony? (Rom. 14:19) Do any need help in making a practical schedule? Are good study habits evident, and do the pioneers participate in the meetings? Elders, who are interested in doing all they can to help the pioneers, will be discerning as to pioneer needs and circumstances and will communicate with them regularly.
13 The elders’ loving interest in the welfare of the pioneers is deeply appreciated. In their letters to the Society, pioneers frequently include comments about how grateful they are for having a loving body of elders who have taken an active interest in them. At times, it has meant being able to remain in full-time service.
14 Elders are expected to uphold the high standards set for pioneers, which include the hour requirement. At the same time, though, if a pioneer is experiencing temporary problems that result in his falling behind in meeting his hours, alert elders will be quick to give assistance rather than suggesting that the pioneer will be removed if he does not improve. They should not allow problems to go on for many months before giving assistance; otherwise, the pioneer may fall so far behind in his time that he becomes discouraged and wants to stop.
15 Is the problem one that can be resolved in a few months? If so, how can the elders help? If it is a personal problem that the pioneer himself has to work out, the elders can bolster his spirits by giving encouragement and commendation along with practical counsel.
16 Elders should exercise care not to involve themselves needlessly in personal or family matters if help is not requested. However, if a problem is serious and it does not appear that the pioneer will be able to meet the hour requirement for many months, the elders may decide that it is best for the pioneer to go off the list until the problem has been solved.
17 Rather than writing to the Society, pioneers should discuss with the elders any difficulties encountered. In most cases where further assistance is needed, it may be best for the elders to write. During the circuit overseer’s visit, pioneers should feel free to approach him regarding matters that could affect their pioneer service. Following this procedure has a number of benefits. The elders know the individual personally. They are in a position to understand his personality and disposition—whether he is diligent or self-sparing, well-disciplined or somewhat disorganized. They are aware of his family circumstances, his health, secular work schedule, and other factors that affect his ability to pioneer. We believe that the elders are in a very good position to determine if someone should try to continue pioneering or whether it would be better for him to terminate his full-time service for the present.
18 If, after talking with the pioneer, the elders determine that the problem is of a temporary nature and that he should be able to make up the time deficit before the end of the service year, matters need not be taken beyond the giving of encouragement and helpful suggestions. But if the pioneer has encountered an unusual situation beyond his control, causing him to get so far behind in his time that the deficit cannot be made up by the end of the service year, the elders should decide whether or not special consideration as described in paragraphs 18-20 of the February 1978 Our Kingdom Service insert should be extended to him. If they find that there is a basis for granting special consideration, they can make a notation on the Congregation’s Publisher Record card and encourage the pioneer to work hard at reaching the hour requirements from that time forward without worrying about the deficit. Should the elders decide that the problem is not of short duration and that circumstances make it advisable for the person to discontinue pioneer service for the present time, they should inform the Society to this effect by submitting the appropriate form. Only in situations where the elders are uncertain as to the application of what is stated in that insert would there be a need for the Congregation Service Committee to write the Society for more information. They should be sure to provide full details of the problem, including a record of the pioneer’s field service hours for the current service year.
19 At the end of each service year, when listing the names of all regular pioneers and their total field service hours for the year on the back of the Congregation Analysis Report, the Congregation Service Committee should write a brief letter giving the reasons why any pioneers failed to meet the hour requirement for the year. Comment should be made on what the pioneer’s prospects are for improvement during the new service year. No reply will be made to such comments unless the Society feels there is a need.
20 We are also asking circuit overseers to give more attention to the needs of the pioneers. The circuit overseer’s visit with the congregation is brief and may not permit him to spend a great deal of time with each pioneer. However, as a result of his checking the records, meeting with the pioneers, and working with them in field service, he will see where there is a need for help and encouragement. He should work in the field ministry with as many pioneers and publishers as his schedule will allow. Where there are many pioneers, he may be able to work with some during one visit and others on his next visit. He will inform the elders of any observations he may have on those needing assistance and suggest what they might do to help the pioneers improve.
DO YOU QUALIFY FOR REGULAR PIONEER SERVICE?
21 In order to qualify for the regular pioneer service, an individual must be baptized at least six months and be a regular publisher. He should be in a position to meet the yearly field service quota of 1,000 hours. It is also important that he have good morals and that he has shown himself to be exemplary as a Christian. (om pp. 113-14) What does this include? What qualities should the elders look for in a pioneer applicant?
22 Exemplary conduct means being clean in body and spirit. A person approved for pioneer service must have a reputation for fine Christian conduct inside and outside the congregation. He is one who is wholehearted and fully devoted to Jehovah. The fruitage of God’s spirit must be evident in his life. A pioneer’s chief interest should be the Kingdom-witnessing and disciple-making work. He should be able to use the Bible effectively at the doors, make return visits on those who show interest, and start and conduct home Bible studies. Pioneers are to cooperate fully with the body of elders in field service and meeting arrangements.
23 A full year must have passed from the time a judicial reproof was given or since reinstatement following disfellowshipping before one could be considered for auxiliary or regular pioneer service. Furthermore, a person who is currently under any restrictions by a judicial committee would not qualify for such pioneer service privileges until all restrictions are removed.
24 Are several months of auxiliary pioneering required before one can be recommended as a regular pioneer? No. However, keeping the schedule of a regular pioneer is usually easier if one has served as an auxiliary pioneer first. Elders will want to have a reasonable assurance that the one applying can consistently report 90 hours each month and be able to meet the requirement of 1,000 hours by the end of the service year. Requirements that have not been specified by the Society should not be imposed.
25 When a member of the congregation fills out an Application for Regular Pioneer Service and presents it to the presiding overseer for approval, the Congregation Service Committee should give it prompt consideration. The application should not be delayed to wait for one of the elders on the committee who may be away for a week or two. Another elder can substitute for him in his absence. If the Congregation Service Committee approves the application, the body of elders should be informed before the application is mailed so they can consider any further observations other elders may have.
26 The revised Application for Regular Pioneer Service form requires that the elders give the individual’s average field service activity for the past six months. Elders should be reasonably sure that the applicant can meet the hour requirement on a regular basis. A publisher’s six-month average may not give a true indication of what he can do on a long-range basis. If one or two months were considerably higher than the others because of an extraordinary effort put forth during those months, this should be considered. In other words, the elders should take an overall view of the prospective pioneer’s field activity for six months. The person may have a high hour average, but if he is accomplishing little in the ministry, the elders may suggest he work on the aspects of his ministry that need improvement before being enrolled as a pioneer. If the elders cannot approve the application at the time they receive it, they should be sure to let him know that they are not sending in the application and explain the reasons why. The elders should explain what he needs to work on in order to qualify. If later the elders feel that they can approve the application and the original application is used, the requested starting date should be changed accordingly.
FORWARD WITH ZEAL!
27 It was in 1962 that the adjustment was made to bring regular pioneers under the local congregation arrangement. Has that move been blessed by Jehovah? If our growing from a monthly worldwide average of 33,560 regular and “vacation” pioneers in 1962 to 322,821 regular and auxiliary pioneers during the 1985 service year is an indication, there is only one obvious conclusion to be drawn. Yes, Jehovah has richly blessed arrangements designed to help the pioneers and further Kingdom interests. Now we are confident that he will bless the further adjustments we have discussed in the preceding paragraphs. Jesus said: “Wisdom is proved righteous by its works.” (Matt. 11:19) How true this has been with respect to the progressive simplification of organizational arrangements and procedures over the years to accommodate the rapidly increasing “great crowd” gathering to Jehovah’s pure worship.—Rev. 7:9; Isa. 54:2.
28 Zealous pioneers truly are a blessing to the congregations. They are a splendid part of the answer to our heartfelt prayers to “the Master of the harvest” for more workers in these last days when the harvest is great. (Matt. 9:37, 38; John 4:35, 36) May each one loyally do what is within his power to strengthen the hands of all who have adjusted their circumstances in order to serve in the pioneer ranks. (Prov. 3:27) What happiness this will continue to bring us as we unitedly glorify our heavenly Father by ‘bearing much fruit and thus proving ourselves Christ’s disciples’!—John 15:8.