Looking to Jehovah in All We Undertake
1 We need God’s blessing on all we undertake. The wisdom of our realizing this is well stated at Psalm 127:1: “Unless Jehovah himself builds the house, it is to no avail that its builders have worked hard on it. Unless Jehovah himself guards the city, it is to no avail that the guard has kept awake.” Thus, we should make sure that we consider the Creator in all our activity.
2 Observed by Others: Today, those acquainted with construction methods are greatly impressed with what Jehovah’s Witnesses are accomplishing in erecting quickly built Kingdom Halls. For example, in one area a local newspaper commented: “It was an invasion of the Jehovah[’s] Witness Volunteer labor force who came for the three-day ‘Kingdom Hall Building Project,’ and a three-day project it was. . . . In three days the Kingdom Hall Building Committee had come and gone, but what they accomplished will long be remembered.”
3 Another newspaper observed: “You haven’t seen a pile of brick and lumber become a building until you’ve watched a group of Jehovah[’s] Witnesses swing a hammer. Before your very eyes, a building constructed by the Witnesses goes from a simple concrete slab to studded walls, room partitions and a roof in less time than it would take a couple of ordinary carpenters to get their supplies and tools together.”
4 In Montana, where someone likened the project to a barn raising, a reporter observed: “Barn raising? Maybe—but barn raising elevated to the precision of a moon mission launch and the efficiency of an Indianapolis 500 pit-stop crew.”
5 It is gratifying to see that tens of thousands of volunteers have offered to assist with these Kingdom Hall construction projects. Such a willing spirit is indeed commendable and is in harmony with the statement at Psalm 110:3: “Your people will offer themselves willingly.” One city overseer noted: “We are one big family working together to build a Kingdom Hall.” However, more and more skilled and general workers are needed as the construction of new Kingdom Halls throughout the country continues. It is as the headlines of one newspaper stated, “Many hands make for light work.”
6 What a memorable experience it is to share in such a project! One Witness commented: “It is really difficult to put into words exactly how it felt to see our own Kingdom Hall being built. I think this project of working together made us feel like a family, knowing that each one did his part, whether it was picking up nails or fastening the shingles. Our unity and organization surely proved that we have Jehovah’s backing. This is a summer we will all remember as being special.” After working on a Kingdom Hall project, someone wrote, “I’m still studying in the United in Worship book. This project was a superb demonstration of the unity that is described in the book. There are no arguments. Working side by side this way with the brothers has made me feel a lot closer to them. I really feel a part of this organization. There’s no other way of life. No one can walk away from such an experience and feel alone. Jehovah’s spirit is here!”
7 One newspaper openly admitted: “Jehovah’s Witnesses’ success in the ‘quick build’ of their places of worship is found not only in cooperation, but dedication.” A faculty member of a university visited a nearby building project and commented: “This is wonderful! As I drove up, I saw license plates from all over Nebraska and several other states. You know they can talk all they want to about their formal religion, but this is a true Christian spirit.”—Neh. 2:18.
8 Others may even be moved to express support, as did a businessman in the neighborhood where a new Kingdom Hall was built. After the building was finished, he came over before a Sunday meeting and, saying that he wanted to be a good neighbor, made a contribution to help out with the project.
9 Designing and Locating Kingdom Halls: So that dedicated resources may be used wisely, careful consideration must be given to Kingdom Hall design and location. The buildings should be modest. The Our Ministry book emphasizes on page 61 that “the Kingdom Hall, as a place of worship, should not be a pretentious building designed to impress others. . . . Its purpose is functional. (Compare Acts 17:24.) It should be a comfortable and convenient place for conducting Christian meetings that help us to grow spiritually and to learn about Jehovah, and that encourage us to share in his Kingdom service.” Experience has shown that generally the publishers are best served by a Kingdom Hall when it is located as close as possible to where they live.
10 It is usually preferable to have two separate Kingdom Halls in different locations rather than a double-auditorium Kingdom Hall. Each of these may accommodate two or more congregations if their location is wisely chosen. However, in some situations two Kingdom Halls have been built on the same site. The high cost of property in some densely populated urban areas has made this necessary.
11 Several factors should be considered before undertaking the construction of a multiple-auditorium facility: How far removed from the territory of each congregation is the building? Is the facility easily accessible? Would Bible students and other newly interested ones attend meetings at the Kingdom Hall when it is not close to where they live? Might the initial enthusiasm of the publishers wane because of the extra travel time and expense over a prolonged period of time? What impact would a multiple-auditorium Kingdom Hall have on the surrounding community? As more congregations use a Kingdom Hall, more traffic is generated for the area. Would this cause difficulties with the neighbors, especially in residential areas? Would it cause traffic or parking problems? Careful consideration needs to be given to these and other pertinent factors from the outset if congregations are considering the possibility of constructing a Kingdom Hall with more than one auditorium.
12 What Has Been Accomplished: Since the Society Kingdom Hall Fund was established nine years ago, funds have been made available to assist in constructing 1,129 new Kingdom Halls in this country. These Kingdom Halls accommodate 1,675 congregations. What an outstanding expression of Christian love! Each year about 200 new Kingdom Halls are built, and another 200 existing Kingdom Halls are remodeled. Thousands of brothers and sisters lovingly give of themselves to assist congregations with their Kingdom Hall construction projects. (Phil. 2:4) Many of these volunteers also help with district convention and circuit assembly work, and some brothers are on other special assignments from the Society, such as Hospital Liaison Committees and Assembly Hall Committees.
13 Those serving on the Regional Building Committees are certainly to be commended for their generous and willing spirit in helping meet the massive building needs within Jehovah’s expanding organization. “Their willing spirit affects all of us,” reported one local building committee, “but Jehovah’s loving provision of skilled direction and decisive leadership through the appointment of Regional Building Committees has proved to be invaluable. As a local committee, we would like to express our heartfelt thanks to the Society for making such a provision. Without this provision and the help of Jehovah’s holy spirit, this project would never have succeeded.” Such sentiments expressed about the leadership of a Regional Building Committee are certainly felt by many, many more.
14 More Volunteers Needed: With the continuing increase in congregations, there is a need for more Kingdom Halls. Additional finances and workers are needed to meet this demand. During the last service year, the number of congregations in the United States increased by 261, and more Kingdom Halls are required to accommodate these new congregations.
15 While many brothers and sisters continue to assist with Kingdom Hall construction, giving freely of their time and effort, there is a call for more help just as there is a need for more workers in the harvest field. (Matt. 9:37, 38) Most regional committees report that having additional willing workers available for Kingdom Hall projects will lighten the load of those who have been carrying this responsibility for years.—Isa. 6:8; Gal. 6:2.
16 Brothers who apply for this avenue of theocratic service should be mindful of following through with their commitment. (Matt. 5:37; Col. 3:23, 24) Department overseers make direct contact with the volunteers to let them know when they are scheduled on a construction site. Plans are made depending upon the stated availability of the volunteers. Thus, it is important that all report as agreed upon, since each department needs to care for its work at a set time so that other departments can keep their work on schedule. Scheduling the work in this manner makes it possible for workers to return to their families and home congregations just as soon as their portion of the work is completed.
17 Each Regional Building Committee schedules the workers within its assigned area. This works well, since the responsible brothers are careful to schedule workers so that they are not burdened or imposed upon. Workers are not asked to help out in another committee’s area except by special arrangement through the Society and upon request from a regional committee that is temporarily overloaded. If another nearby regional committee has a light load at the time, the Society may ask it to assist.
18 Who Qualify: Whenever a Kingdom Hall building project is undertaken, volunteers from the congregation(s) that will use the new or renovated facility and from nearby congregations provide the general labor force. Some of these become trained and thereafter qualify as experienced or even skilled workers so that they can submit Kingdom Hall Construction Worker Questionnaires.
19 Those specifically needed by the Regional Building Committees month by month are those who have experience in the construction trades and who volunteer to assist with needed Kingdom Hall construction. These must be in good standing in the congregation and approved by the local body of elders. If you are in this category, could you arrange your affairs to assist with this feature of Jehovah’s service? (Neh. 4:6) If so, obtain a Kingdom Hall Construction Worker Questionnaire from the presiding overseer or secretary in your congregation and submit it right away.
20 Additionally, there are spiritually mature brothers who are serving as elders and ministerial servants and who have potential for oversight. Although their construction experience may be limited, these also may submit questionnaires. Many in this category help with nonconstruction departments. Others are trained so that they can be used more extensively in the future. Elders and ministerial servants are encouraged to consider seriously whether they can make themselves available for this work that brings praise to our Father, Jehovah.—Compare 1 Samuel 3:8; Matthew 4:20.
21 All Can Have a Share: All can show a fine spirit toward this essential activity by taking up the slack in the congregation when some are working on a Kingdom Hall project for a portion of a weekend. Certainly none of us would want to discourage these volunteer workers in any way by intimating that their labors of love in Kingdom Hall construction are not sacred service. (Prov. 24:10; Heb. 6:10) Of course, balance is needed, and that is why the Regional Building Committees are thorough in working out schedules so that volunteers are not away unduly from their home congregations.
22 Even if circumstances may not permit our volunteering in connection with actual construction work, there is one vital aspect of the matter in which all may share. What is that? Honoring Jehovah with our “valuable things.” (Prov. 3:9) We can be confident that Jehovah is highly pleased when we give loving financial support toward more Kingdom Hall construction. The contributions to the Society Kingdom Hall Fund are very much appreciated, and as more congregations are formed, the need for new and improved facilities continues. (Acts 20:35; 2 Cor. 9:6, 7) In the first century, when a need arose, the apostle Paul encouraged the Corinthians: “Nevertheless, just as you are abounding in everything, in faith and word and knowledge and all earnestness and in this love of ours to you, may you also abound in this kind giving.”—2 Cor. 8:7.
23 Far-Reaching Benefits: Since Regional Building Committees are provided with guidelines from the Society and additional training, congregations building or renovating Kingdom Halls can benefit by seeking advice from these committees. Elders are wise to contact the Regional Building Committee before purchasing property and then work closely with these experienced brothers throughout the project.—Prov. 15:22.
24 Truly, Jehovah is greatly helping us to erect many houses of worship to his praise. Brothers and sisters are being moved by a self-sacrificing love. This is exactly the type of love that Jesus said would clearly identify his genuine followers. (John 13:34, 35) Just as Jesus put the interests of others ahead of his own, so do they. Very likely, the willingness and increasing skill of Jehovah’s servants will be employed with even greater benefit in God’s new world.
25 Yes, those who share in constructing buildings for the worship of Jehovah find Psalm 127:1 to be true. Though skilled workers volunteer their time and effort for the quick erection of fine Kingdom Halls, it is Jehovah’s blessing that guarantees success. Today, even more Kingdom Halls are needed. Since its inception, the Society Kingdom Hall Fund has been able to assist many congregations with their Kingdom Hall projects. May all of us continue to give freely of our time and “valuable things” as we look to Jehovah to bless our efforts.—Prov. 3:9.
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Columbus, Kansas—Renovated athletic club
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Contributions to the Society Kingdom Hall Fund assisted with construction costs for all the Kingdom Halls pictured in this insert
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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Double-auditorium Kingdom Hall
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Fort Worth, Texas