Helping Inactive Ones
1 One of Jesus’ parables is about a shepherd’s leaving 99 sheep to go in search of one that was lost. Do you recall his statement as to what would result from finding the one that was lost? “And if he happens to find it, I certainly tell you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that have not strayed.” (Matt. 18:13) Such joyfulness has been experienced by many congregations when inactive ones have returned to the flock of God.
2 In the past few years, additional attention has been given to assisting those who have become inactive. Overseers have the responsibility to pay attention to all the flock. (Acts 20:28) For this reason, they have taken the initiative to visit inactive ones. As a result, many have responded to these loving efforts and have become active Kingdom proclaimers again. Are there still some in your congregation who have become inactive in recent years? What can be done to help them?
WHAT CAN BE DONE
3 The service overseer and the secretary take the lead in coordinating efforts to care for inactive persons. The elders should arrange their affairs to make the initial visit. In some cases, it may be that the inactive one would appreciate having someone conduct a Bible study with him. If so, the service overseer would determine who should be assigned to conduct the study. Perhaps the one who originally studied with the person or someone he has known and respected would be in a good position to help. If an entire family is involved, it may be that an elder or a qualified ministerial servant could be asked to study with them. An inactive sister may be assisted by an experienced sister. A young person may respond to a young ministerial servant or a capable pioneer. The service overseer may recommend that certain subjects or an entire publication be studied. The objective is to give needed help. The service overseer may use whoever is in the best position to do that.
4 Some elders have found it beneficial on the initial call to review the article “Return to the Shepherd of Your Souls” in the May 1, 1982, Watchtower. Jehovah’s mercy can be highlighted and upbuilding experiences about those who have returned to Jehovah can be shared. In the case of a youth who has become inactive, the article entitled “Bring Your Heart Back to Jehovah” that appeared in the October 1, 1982, Watchtower may be helpful. Thereafter, a regular Bible study may be arranged.
5 Publishers who are given the responsibility and privilege to conduct such studies should take a personal interest in these individuals. Develop a friendship with them. Highlight the importance of regaining their spiritual strength. Help them to appreciate that Jehovah, out of his love and concern for them, has arranged for this personal assistance through his organization.
6 Although certain publishers will be asked to assist inactive ones, this does not mean that others cannot help also. All can take the initiative to greet these persons when they come to the Kingdom Hall and engage in upbuilding conversation with them. Show that we are happy to have them with us and that we hope they will continue progressing. This loving interest should continue to be shown as they make spiritual progress. Positive results have been obtained by such united efforts.—Eph. 4:16.
7 Yes, we certainly rejoice to see formerly inactive ones associating with us again. This is especially true for those who have been able to render some personal assistance. It is our prayer that Jehovah will richly bless our efforts to “work what is good” toward those inactive ones who are “related to us in the faith.”—Gal. 6:10.