Your Role in Building for the Future
1 Today Christians are continuing to care for a spiritual building work that Jesus started about 1,960 years ago when he began gathering disciples. (Matt. 4:17; 7:24, 25, 28; John 7:46) Jehovah has blessed this work abundantly. (Prov. 10:22) As we go about announcing God’s Kingdom, we are also building to care for future increase.—Eccl. 11:6.
2 While many older Kingdom Halls must be renovated, additional halls are needed to accommodate new congregations that are being formed. Last year congregations in the United States increased by 244. Both finances and volunteer workers are needed for the successful completion of these construction projects. The brothers’ commendable positive attitude toward filling this need is being richly rewarded.—Ps. 41:1; Prov. 19:17; Eccl. 11:1; Luke 14:13, 14.
LOVING ASSISTANCE OFFERED BY MANY
3 We display our love for “the whole association of brothers” by contributing to the Society Kingdom Hall Fund. (1 Pet. 2:17) Contributions received in this branch have provided funds to build 766 new Kingdom Halls, accommodating over 1,140 congregations. But the need continues to grow as the ingathering work speeds up. So Jehovah is continuing to bless this arrangement, and the elders should make sure that the contribution box for the Society Kingdom Hall Fund is clearly identified and available to all. The contributions received along with funds from repayment of loans are used to construct new Kingdom Halls.
4 The Society, together with all the congregations that are benefiting from the provision, expresses deep appreciation to the multitude of individuals and families who regularly contribute to the Society Kingdom Hall Fund. Many congregations have passed resolutions to contribute to this fund. Some circuits have lovingly made similar resolutions.
5 Are you skilled in a construction trade? If so, and if you are available to assist with Kingdom Hall construction, you can make this known to the local elders and the circuit overseer. Skilled volunteer workers are needed throughout the country. Additionally, under the direction of the Society-appointed Regional Building Committees, other spiritually qualified brothers are being trained to do the required work so that more congregations can be assisted with their building projects.
THE ROLE OF REGIONAL BUILDING COMMITTEES
6 The 66 Regional Building Committees give assistance at all stages of planning and construction. These committees have Society-provided designs that lend themselves to rapid methods of construction. The brothers serving on the committees are experienced elders, and they can offer valuable suggestions for building modest and attractive Kingdom Halls as well as for saving time and money. Because of their experience, they can help local elders decide whether it would be better to remodel an existing Kingdom Hall or to build a new one, and they can help them determine before a purchase whether a proposed site for new construction is suitable. They can also help elders to estimate accurately construction costs and the market value of an existing Kingdom Hall that may be sold.
7 Well before purchasing property, it is wise to consult the Regional Building Committee. These committees are assigned to assist with Kingdom Hall construction in a designated area composed of several circuits, and they can help with property purchase. They have guidelines to help brothers avoid difficulties that could be encountered in acquiring property. Each circuit overseer is advised of the name, address, and telephone number of the committee chairman and can share this information with the local elders when there is a need.
8 When selecting property for Kingdom Hall construction in a city having more than one congregation, the local elders should discuss the matter with the Regional Building Committee, the circuit overseer(s), the city overseer, and possibly the elders from nearby congregations. This may aid the local elders in choosing a site that will benefit the congregation(s) involved in the present project and possibly relieve overcrowded conditions in neighboring Kingdom Halls, while also allowing for future growth in the area. In urban areas, a single Kingdom Hall is often used by three or more congregations. Even in less densely populated areas, a location may be selected that can serve two or more congregations.
9 Using guidelines provided by the Society, Regional Building Committees provide a valuable service as they assist local congregations with their remodeling and new construction projects. During construction, volunteers are scheduled for just the time they will actually be needed at the construction site so that they will not miss sharing in the meetings and field service activity of their congregation. One Regional Building Committee stated: “By our continued efforts to apply the Society’s guidelines, we have been helped to simplify and speed up the building procedures.”
10 The organization and skills learned on these projects have been helpful in Assembly Hall construction and in assisting the brothers rebuild after natural disasters, such as Hurricane Hugo and the earthquake in northern California in 1989. A number of volunteers have been called to work temporarily at Bethel, some helping with the work now under way at Patterson, New York. Others have joined the International Volunteer Construction Worker Program, helping with construction at branches throughout the world.
11 All can display the fruitage of kindness in cooperating with those overseeing the construction activity. In this way the needed work is “fully performed” and done “with joy and not with sighing.” (Acts 14:26; Heb. 13:17) A Regional Building Committee in Michigan was able to report: “The cooperation between the three congregations was exceptional. . . . The brothers all displayed spiritual maturity. They were a joy to work with. It was a project to remember.”
FINANCING KINGDOM HALL CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS
12 Arrangements for any needed financing should be made at the outset. (Luke 14:28-30) The elders should determine the congregation’s ability to pay the costs involved by taking a survey to determine (1) how much will be contributed in a lump sum to assist with property purchase and construction costs, (2) how much can be loaned locally and the length of time the funds will be available, and (3) how much the publishers have in mind contributing monthly to repay any needed loan in addition to caring for normal operating expenses.
13 Thereafter, elders of congregations desiring financial assistance from the Society Kingdom Hall Fund should discuss their proposed project and financial requirements with the circuit overseer, who can assist them by advising the Society of their needs and the details of the project. After information has been sent to the Society by the circuit overseer, correspondence is sent directly to the congregations involved. Financial assistance is provided progressively as funds become available and according to the need.
MAINTAIN A ZEALOUS SPIRIT
14 All are to be commended for their generosity in supporting the Society Kingdom Hall Fund. Many expressions of appreciation are received from congregations that have been assisted. An “equalizing” is taking place among the congregations. (2 Cor. 8:14, 15) Four congregations in Oregon wrote: “How appreciative we are for such a fine program, and how thankful we are to all the many generous brothers who have contributed to the Society Kingdom Hall Fund . . . Truly, outstanding Christian love has been demonstrated in our behalf. Please accept our thanks for all your help in making this Kingdom Hall project a success.”
15 During the building of a new Kingdom Hall, enthusiasm, zeal, and a positive spirit contribute to the success of the project. The same spirit should continue as we seek to bring many more persons to a knowledge of the truth and encourage them to meet with us at the Kingdom Hall. Such zeal is a manifest expression of appreciation that results in marked increases in meeting attendance and in the overall growth of the congregation.
16 As we continue to expand our ministry, exerting ourselves vigorously in the work at hand, no doubt Jehovah’s blessing will continue with us. (Luke 13:24) We do not know what growth and increase await us in the future. But we need to be ready to welcome any future influx of worshipers. That requires preparation on our part now. Thus, we pray for Jehovah’s continued blessing and direction. In building for the future, may we all be workers with Jehovah—physically, materially, and spiritually. He will certainly bless us as we take proper care of those hastening into his Kingdom organization during the final part of these last days.—Isa. 60:8, 10, 11, 22.