Make the Best Use of Our Magazines
1 When you approach a newsstand, what do you see? Magazines. At a corner store, what catches your eye? Magazines. What makes the mailman bend under the weight of his mailbag? Magazines. Thus, what are many people reading? Magazines. Surveys have shown that 9 out of 10 youths between the ages of 10 and 18, and the same percentage of adults, read at least one magazine every month. The world is magazine conscious.
2 Can we make honesthearted persons Watchtower and Awake! conscious? Yes, if WE are Watchtower and Awake! conscious. What can help us? Consider these suggestions:
◼ Read the Magazines: One traveling overseer reported that, on the average, only 1 publisher in 3 in his circuit reads each issue of The Watchtower and Awake! from cover to cover. Do you? As you read each article, ask yourself, ‘Who would appreciate this information—a mother, an agnostic, a businessman, a youth?’ In your personal copy, mark a point or two that you can use when presenting the magazine. Then think of how you might arouse interest in the subject in just one or two sentences.
◼ Have a Definite Magazine Order: Place a realistic order with the brother handling magazines for a definite number of copies of each issue. In this way, you and your family will have a regular and adequate supply of magazines.
◼ Schedule a Regular Magazine Day: Many congregations have set aside a designated day primarily for magazine witnessing. Can you support the congregation’s Magazine Day? If not, try to use some service time periodically for magazine street witnessing and personal distribution of the magazines, both from door to door and on magazine routes.
◼ Be “Watchtower” and “Awake!” Conscious: Carry copies of the magazines with you when traveling or shopping. Offer them when you talk to coworkers, neighbors, schoolmates, or teachers. One couple who often travel by plane use a point in one of the current magazines to strike up a conversation with the passenger seated next to them. They have enjoyed many delightful experiences. Some young people regularly bring to school articles that they feel will interest their teachers or fellow students. Carry copies with you when you run errands, and offer them to the merchants after you have finished your business. Many of us buy gasoline regularly; why not offer the magazines to the gas station attendant? Keep them handy when relatives visit, when you use public transportation, or when you are waiting for an appointment. Can you think of other appropriate occasions?
◼ Prepare a Brief Magazine Presentation: Plan to say only a little, but say it well. Be enthusiastic. Appeal to the heart. Be specific. Pick out one idea from an article, put it into a few words, and offer the magazines. The best presentation raises a question on a subject of interest and then points to an article that gives the Scriptural answer. Consider a few examples of how this might be done:
3 If you are highlighting an article on the rising crime rate, you could ask:
◼ “What will it take to make it possible for us to be able to sleep at night without fear of crime?” The householder may be pessimistic about things getting better. You can reply that many people feel the same way and add that you have some information you believe will be of interest to him. Then refer to an appropriate point in the article.
4 When offering an article on family life, you might say:
◼ “Many people find that it is a real challenge to earn a living and raise a family these days. A number of books have been written on the subject, but even the experts don’t agree on the solutions to our problems. Is there anywhere we can go to obtain reliable guidance?” Then point to a specific comment in the magazine that demonstrates the wisdom found in the Bible.
5 You might take this approach when featuring an article on a social problem:
◼ “Most people are under pressure today. God never intended for us to live this way.” Then show how the Bible-based material in the article can help us cope with life’s problems now and provide hope for a permanent solution in the future.
6 What about donations? To make appreciative ones aware of how they can assist, you could say: “Although our literature is offered without charge, we do accept modest donations for our worldwide work.”
7 Street Witnessing is effective: It was in the January 1940 issue of Informant (Our Kingdom Ministry) that publishers were encouraged for the first time to schedule a special day each week for street witnessing using the magazines. Do you engage in street witnessing from time to time? If you do, is the method you use truly effective? Some publishers have been observed standing on a busy street corner, talking to one another while scores of people passed by unnoticed. Rather than stand side by side with the magazines, it is more effective to separate and approach people. Strangers may stop and listen briefly if they are approached by only one person, but few will take the initiative to approach a group engrossed in conversation. Since we attract a lot of attention on the street, there is a special need to be well-groomed and modestly dressed as befits God’s ministers.—1 Tim. 2:9, 10.
8 Magazine Routes: Those who have a magazine route place many magazines even though the territories are being covered regularly. Magazine routes are an excellent source of potential home Bible studies.
9 When you make regular return visits to deliver the magazines, you will find that the warmth and friendliness between you and the householder will grow. The better you become acquainted, the easier it will be to converse about Scriptural topics. This can lead to starting a productive home Bible study. At calls where there is obvious appreciation for the magazines, offer a subscription. And remember, each time you contact the householder you can report a return visit.
10 One sister regularly took magazines to a woman who always accepted them but said: “I don’t believe what you’re telling me.” On a later visit, the sister found the husband at home. After a friendly talk, arrangements were made to start a Bible study. The sister made friends with the three sons who came to join in the study. Eventually, the mother and her sons dedicated their lives to Jehovah and were baptized. To date, 35 members of the family have accepted the truth. All of this because the sister followed up on her magazine route!
11 There are many ways to start a magazine route. You can start a route by simply keeping a record of your placements and arranging to return every two weeks with the latest issues. One way is to use information under the heading “In Our Next Issue.” When you return, tell the householder that you have the article you mentioned previously. Or, when making the return visit, you could say: “When I read this article, I thought it might interest you . . .” Then make a few brief comments on the article and offer it. When you have completed the call, note five simple points on your house-to-house record: (1) householder’s name, (2) householder’s address, (3) date of visit, (4) issues placed, and (5) article featured. Some publishers have been very successful in developing magazine routes, accumulating as many as 40 or more calls on their list!
12 Business Territory: Many magazines are placed by publishers who work business territory. Have you tried the store-to-store work? Reports indicate that in some congregations, participation in this feature of service is quite limited. At first, some are apprehensive about calling on businesspeople, but after they try it a few times, they find it both interesting and rewarding. Why not ask an experienced publisher or pioneer to help you get started?
13 There are several advantages to working from store to store. There are very few not-at-homes, at least during business hours! Businesspeople are usually courteous, even if they may not be particularly interested in the Bible. Get an early start; you will likely be better received. After introducing yourself, you might say that you rarely find businesspeople at home, so you are visiting them for just a few moments at their workplace to offer the latest issues of The Watchtower and Awake! Point out that many businesspeople appreciate our magazines because they need to keep up-to-date on world events but have little time to read. The magazines present thought-provoking information from a fresh perspective, without religious, political, or commercial bias. A magazine route may be developed with interested persons found in business territory.
14 Prepare as a Family: Some time may be set aside during your family study to discuss which articles in the latest magazines might be appropriate for use in your territory. Family members—including the children—can take turns practicing their presentations and overcoming common objections that are raised, such as: “I’m busy,” “We have our own religion,” or “I’m not interested.” Good cooperation can make it possible for the whole family to have a regular share in magazine distribution.
15 Book Study Conductors Can Help: Whenever practical, schedule the meetings for service on Magazine Day at the book study locations instead of having the entire congregation meet at the Kingdom Hall. Those in charge of meetings for field service should be well prepared with specific suggestions for the group. These may include a sample presentation and a point or two from the current issues that might be used to arouse interest locally. Meetings for field service—including the organizing of the group—should be brief, lasting no more than from 10 to 15 minutes. Study conductors should make sure that there is sufficient territory so that the group will be kept busy for the entire field service period.
16 Show Appreciation for the Magazines: The article “Making Good Use of The Watchtower and Awake!” that was published in the July 1993 issue of Our Kingdom Ministry made this important point: “The Watchtower and Awake! do not lose their value, even if they have not all been placed within a month or two of their issue date. The information they contain does not become less important with the passage of time . . . Allowing older magazines to accumulate and never using them shows a lack of appreciation for these valuable instruments. . . . Instead of setting aside older issues and forgetting about them, would it not be better to make a special effort to place them in the hands of interested people?”
17 Today there are many honesthearted people who are searching for the truth. The information contained in one magazine could be just what they need to lead them to the truth! Jehovah has given us a thrilling message to proclaim, and our magazines play a vital role in getting the message to others. Will you be more conscious of magazine distribution in the future? Will you apply some of these suggestions this very weekend? You will be richly blessed if you do.
◼ Read the magazines in advance, and get acquainted with the articles.
◼ Select an article that deals with something of general interest in your community.
◼ Prepare a presentation that will be appropriate for a variety of people, whether men, women, or youths. Show how the magazine relates to the householder and how the whole family will enjoy it.
◼ Plan to engage in your field service activity when most people are at home. Some congregations arrange for evening witnessing with the magazines.
◼ Keep your presentation short and to the point.
◼ Don’t talk too fast. If your listener has no interest, talking faster will not help. Try to be relaxed, and give the householder opportunity to respond.
Offering Magazines From House to House:
◼ Have a friendly smile and a kindly tone of voice.
◼ Be enthusiastic about the magazines.
◼ Speak slowly and distinctly.
◼ Speak on only one subject; briefly stimulate interest, and show its value to householder.
◼ Highlight just one article.
◼ Feature only one magazine, offering the other as a companion.
◼ Hand the magazines to the householder.
◼ Let the householder know you plan to return.
◼ Have a friendly, positive conclusion if the magazines are refused.
◼ Make notation on house-to-house record of all interest and placements.
Opportunities to Place Magazines:
◼ House-to-house witnessing
◼ Street witnessing
◼ Store-to-store work
◼ Magazine route
◼ Evening witnessing
◼ When making return visits
◼ Calling on former Bible students
◼ When traveling, shopping
◼ When talking to relatives, coworkers, neighbors, schoolmates, teachers
◼ On public transportation, in waiting rooms