Pioneer Service—Is It for You?
1 “I can’t imagine doing anything else. I certainly can’t imagine anything that would bring the same joy.” Who said this? One of hundreds of thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses who have made the full-time ministry their joyous career in life. Have you prayerfully considered whether the pioneer service is for you? Having made an unreserved dedication of ourselves to Jehovah, we certainly ought to consider whether we might have a fuller share in spreading the good news of the Kingdom. To that end, please consider some questions that many ask about the pioneer service.
QUESTION 1: “Some say pioneering is not for everyone. How do I know if it is for me?”
2 The answer depends upon your circumstances and Scriptural obligations. There are many whose health or current situation in life does not allow them to devote 90 hours a month to the ministry. Take as one example the many faithful sisters who are Christian wives and mothers. They share in the ministry as often as they can to the extent that their circumstances permit. As opportunity affords, they auxiliary pioneer a month or more each year, reaping the joys that come from enlarging their share in the service. (Gal. 6:9) Although their circumstances may not permit them to serve as full-time pioneers at present, they promote the pioneer spirit and are a blessing to the congregation as zealous publishers of the good news.
3 On the other hand, many brothers and sisters who are relatively free of obligations have made room for the pioneer service by adjusting their priorities. What about you? Are you a youth who has completed your secular schooling? Are you a wife whose husband is able to provide adequately for the family? Are you married with no dependent children? Have you retired from your secular occupation? To pioneer or not to pioneer is a decision each person must make for himself. The question is, Can you make room in your life for pioneering?
4 Satan uses his worldly system of things to fill our lives with distractions and to engulf us in a selfish way of life. If we are determined to remain no part of the world, Jehovah will help us to keep Kingdom interests first and to reach out and embrace all the privileges of theocratic service that are available to us. If you can adjust your circumstances so as to serve as a pioneer, why not do so?
QUESTION 2: “How can I be sure that I will be able to get along financially in full-time service?”
5 It is true that in many lands the hours of secular work required each week to obtain what are viewed as the necessities of life have increased over the years. Nevertheless, many have pioneered for decades, and Jehovah continues to sustain them. To succeed as a pioneer, faith and the spirit of self-sacrifice are needed. (Matt. 17:20) We have the assurance at Psalm 34:10 that ‘those seeking Jehovah will not lack anything good.’ Anyone entering pioneer service should do so with full confidence that Jehovah will provide for him. He is doing just that for faithful pioneers everywhere! (Ps. 37:25) Of course, in harmony with the principles in 2 Thessalonians 3:8, 10, and 1 Timothy 5:8, pioneers do not expect others to support them financially.
6 Anyone contemplating pioneer service should do as Jesus stated: “First sit down and calculate the expense.” (Luke 14:28) Doing this shows practical wisdom. Talk to those who have pioneered successfully for a number of years. Ask how Jehovah has sustained them. Your circuit overseer is an experienced pioneer who will be happy to offer suggestions on how to succeed in the full-time ministry.
7 A person may never fully experience the truthfulness of Jesus’ promise at Matthew 6:33 until he puts himself in Jehovah’s hands. A faithful pioneer related: “When my partner and I arrived in a new assignment as pioneers, we had only a few vegetables, a packet of margarine, and no money. We finished up the food for supper and said, ‘Now we have nothing for tomorrow.’ We prayed about it, and went to bed. Early next morning a local Witness called and introduced herself, saying, ‘I prayed that Jehovah would send pioneers. Now I can accompany you most of the day, but since I live out in the country, I will have to eat lunch with you, so I have brought this food along for all of us.’ It was a large quantity of beef and vegetables.” No wonder Jesus assured us that we could ‘stop being anxious about our souls’! He then added: “Who of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his life span?”—Matt. 6:25, 27.
8 The world around us is becoming more and more materialistic. Increasing pressure is being brought to bear on us to conform. However, having a humble appreciation for the full-time ministry makes us content with less materially. (1 Tim. 6:8) Pioneers who keep their lives simple and uncluttered have more time for the service and gain greater joy and spiritual strength from teaching others the truth. Although not trying to live an ascetic life, their balanced approach to their economic situation has enabled them to enjoy the blessings of pioneering.
9 If you keenly sense that we are living in the last days and that time is running out for this wicked world, you will be spiritually motivated to make the sacrifices needed to preach the good news at every opportunity. By taking a fresh look at your economic situation and by placing the matter in Jehovah’s hands, you may realize that you can serve him full-time. Even if you have to forgo certain material wants in order to pioneer, you will enjoy Jehovah’s rich blessings.—Ps. 145:16.
QUESTION 3: “As a teenager, why should I consider the pioneer service as a career choice?”
10 While finishing your last few years of schooling, you naturally think about the future. You want it to be secure, happy, and fulfilling. School guidance counselors may try to steer you into a lucrative career that requires years of college education. Your well-trained Christian conscience tells you that you should prepare to serve Jehovah as fully as possible. (Eccl. 12:1) You may also think about eventually marrying and having a family. What will you do?
11 The decisions you make at this time in your life may shape your entire future. If you are already a dedicated, baptized Witness of Jehovah, you have given yourself whole-souled to Jehovah. (Heb. 10:7) The first opportunity you have, try auxiliary pioneering for one or more months. This will give you a taste of the joys and responsibilities that come with regular pioneering, and your view of what you should do with your life will no doubt become clearer. Then, rather than filling the vacuum with a full-time secular job after finishing school, why not start regular pioneering? Some who waited until later in life to enjoy the pioneer service regret that they did not start sooner.
12 As a young person, take advantage of your opportunities to pursue singleness, and enjoy the benefits it affords in the full-time preaching activity. If it is your desire to get married someday, no better foundation for marriage could be laid than serving first in the regular pioneer work. As you grow in maturity and spirituality, you may choose to make pioneering your career with a like-minded marriage partner. Some couples who have pioneered together have gone into circuit work or the missionary field. A truly satisfying way of life!
13 Regardless of how long you continue pioneering, you will have rounded out your education and received invaluable training that no other occupation on earth can provide. Pioneering teaches discipline, personal organization, how to deal with people, dependence on Jehovah, and how to develop patience and kindness—qualities that will equip you to take on greater responsibilities.
14 Life has never been more uncertain for mankind. Few things are truly permanent, aside from what Jehovah has promised. Since your future is wide open before you, what better time than now could there be to give serious thought to what you will do with your life in the coming years? Weigh carefully the privilege of pioneering. You will never regret choosing pioneer service as your career.
QUESTION 4: “Isn’t it a constant pressure to meet the hour requirement? What if I get behind in my time?”
15 When you fill out a regular pioneer application, you must answer the question: “Have you organized your personal affairs so that you can reasonably expect to reach the yearly requirement of 1,000 hours?” To reach it, you need to average about three hours a day in the service. Obviously, this requires good scheduling and self-discipline. Most pioneers develop a practical, workable routine within a few months.
16 However, Ecclesiastes 9:11 truthfully says, ‘Time and unforeseen occurrence befall us all.’ Serious illness or other unforeseen circumstances can cause a pioneer to fall behind. If the problem is not one of long duration and occurs early in the service year, a stepped-up schedule may be all that is needed to redeem the lost time. But what if a serious problem arises with only a few months left in the service year and the pioneer cannot catch up?
17 If you are temporarily ill for a few months or for some other urgent reason beyond your control you cannot meet the required hours, you can approach a member of the Congregation Service Committee and explain the problem. If these elders think that it would be advisable to allow you to continue in the pioneer service without worrying about making up the lost time, they can make that decision. The secretary will mark the Congregation’s Publisher Record card to show that you are not required to make up the lost time. This is not a leave of absence but, rather, special consideration for your circumstances.—See August 1986 Our Kingdom Ministry insert, paragraph 18.
18 Experienced pioneers build up a reserve of hours early in the service year. Their pioneer service takes priority, so they sometimes find that it is necessary to curtail nonessential activities. If a pioneer gets behind because of a poor schedule or lack of self-discipline in sticking to it, he should feel that it is his responsibility to make up the lost time and not expect special consideration.
19 There are times when a pioneer experiences an unavoidable change in his circumstances. He may find that he cannot meet the hour requirement over a long period of time because of an ongoing health problem, increased family responsibility, and so forth. In this case, the course of wisdom would be to return to the publisher ranks and share whenever possible in the auxiliary pioneer service. There is no regular provision to allow someone to stay on the pioneer list if his circumstances no longer allow him to meet the hour requirement.
20 We hope that the provision of giving special consideration to those who qualify will encourage more to enroll in the pioneer service without worrying needlessly. It should also encourage those already in full-time service to continue pioneering. We want pioneers to succeed in their full-time service.
QUESTION 5: “I want to accomplish something and be happy doing it. Will pioneer service satisfy me?”
21 True happiness is largely contingent upon having a close, personal relationship with Jehovah and conviction that we are serving him faithfully. Jesus endured a torture stake “for the joy that was set before him.” (Heb. 12:2) His happiness came from doing God’s will. (Ps. 40:8) In the present system of things, we can enjoy true happiness if most of our life’s activities are related to our worship of Jehovah. Spiritual pursuits give us a sense of purpose because deep down we know that we are doing what is right. Happiness comes from giving, and we know of no finer way to give of ourselves than to teach others how to gain everlasting life in God’s new world.—Acts 20:35.
22 The pioneer quoted in the opening paragraph explained it this way: “Can there be any greater joy than seeing someone with whom you study become an active praiser of Jehovah? It is exciting and faith-strengthening to see how powerful God’s Word is in motivating people to make changes in their lives in order to please Jehovah.” (See the October 15, 1997, Watchtower, pages 18-23.) So, what brings you happiness? If, rather than the temporary enjoyment offered by the world, you value permanent, worthwhile endeavors, pioneering will give you a wonderful sense of accomplishment that will make you truly happy.
QUESTION 6: “If it’s not required for everlasting life, isn’t it my business whether I pioneer or not?”
23 True, the decision to pioneer must be yours. Only Jehovah can judge your personal circumstances of life. (Rom. 14:4) He rightly expects you to serve him with your whole heart, soul, mind, and strength. (Mark 12:30; Gal. 6:4, 5) He loves a cheerful giver, one who serves him joyfully, not grudgingly or under compulsion. (2 Cor. 9:7; Col. 3:23) Your reason for serving full-time must be that you love Jehovah and the people in the territory. (Matt. 9:36-38; Mark 12:30, 31) If this is how you feel, then the pioneer service merits your serious consideration.
24 We hope that what has been outlined here will help you weigh your prospects for pioneering. Can you adjust your circumstances to regular pioneer? Printed below is a calendar entitled “My Weekly Pioneer Service Schedule.” See if you can fill in a practical schedule for yourself that will allow you to average about 23 hours each week in the ministry. Then, put your full faith and trust in Jehovah. With his help you can succeed! He has promised: “I shall . . . actually empty out upon you a blessing until there is no more want.”—Mal. 3:10.
25 So we ask, “Pioneer service—is it for you?” If you can say “Yes,” set a date to start regular pioneering soon and be assured that Jehovah will bless you with a joyful life!
[Chart on page 6]
(For fully formatted text, see publication)
My Weekly Pioneer Service Schedule
MONDAY: Morning field service
TUESDAY: Morning field service
WEDNESDAY: Morning field service
THURSDAY: Morning field service
FRIDAY: Morning field service
SATURDAY: Morning field service
SUNDAY: Morning field service
MONDAY: Afternoon field service
TUESDAY: Afternoon field service
WEDNESDAY: Afternoon field service
THURSDAY: Afternoon field service
FRIDAY: Afternoon field service
SATURDAY: Afternoon field service
SUNDAY: Afternoon field service
MONDAY: Evening field service
TUESDAY: Evening field service
WEDNESDAY: Evening field service
THURSDAY: Evening field service
FRIDAY: Evening field service
SATURDAY: Evening field service
SUNDAY: Evening field service
Use pencil to record your schedule for each day of the week.
Schedule a total of about 23 hours each week in field service.
Total weekly hours scheduled ․․․․․․․․․․․․․․․․․․․․