▪ To what extent may young children of Christian parents share in the field ministry before they are recognized as unbaptized publishers?
Christian parents want their children to develop into mature, devoted servants of Jehovah. (1 Sam. 2:18, 26; Luke 2:40) Even at a very early age, children in Christian households should be able to make clear expressions in defense of their Bible-based faith. The spiritual growth of children is accelerated as they accompany their parents in the field ministry from infancy. But it is important for the young ones to be motivated from the heart if they are to enjoy the field service, desire to become unbaptized publishers, and continue sharing in the Kingdom-preaching work. Careful training by the parents is required. (1 Tim. 4:6; 2 Tim. 2:15) Other qualified publishers may assist at times if the parents are in agreement.—See Our Ministry, pages 99-100.
As well-behaved children accompany their Christian parents in the house-to-house work, they learn how to engage in the ministry. But they will not be recognized as unbaptized publishers until they have developed a measure of ability and skill of their own. Christian parents can decide to what extent a child can share in giving a witness as they work together. Children who are not yet recognized as unbaptized publishers should not make calls on their own or accompany other children in field service. Parents can prepare their children for field service and allow them to participate in various ways, such as by reading a scripture, offering a tract or a magazine, or showing the householder an illustration in one of the publications. As a child grows older, he may be able to participate to a greater degree in the discussion.
With proper training, young ones learn to appreciate the seriousness of the ministry as they respond to the direction of their parents and conduct themselves in an orderly manner. Parents should not leave their children who are not yet recognized as unbaptized publishers at the meeting for field service, expecting others to care for them. Concerned parents recognize their personal responsibility to supervise the activity of their children. Of course, other responsible publishers may be willing to help out in the training of young children in the congregation who show genuine interest in serving Jehovah in the ministry.