Can You Make Yourself Available?
1 An extraordinary event occurs in the year 778 B.C.E. In vision, the prophet Isaiah sees “Jehovah, sitting on a throne lofty and lifted up.” Isaiah then hears the seraphs calling attention to Jehovah’s glory, saying: “Holy, holy, holy is Jehovah of armies.” How awesome that must have been! In that setting, Jehovah poses a challenging question: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” No explanation is given as to the nature of the assignment or whether the person volunteering will gain from it. Yet, unhesitatingly, Isaiah responds: “Here I am! Send me.”—Isa. 6:1, 3, 8.
2 This spirit of willingness to do whatever Jehovah asks characterizes his people. (Ps. 110:3) And now a special call is going out to those who can make themselves available. Are you ready to respond with a willing spirit, similar to that of Isaiah?
3 There is an ongoing need for brothers to serve at Bethel. This calls for them to have an intense desire to put Kingdom interests first and to be willing to do whatever may be required to support the worldwide preaching work. (Matt. 6:33) In fact, serving as a member of the Bethel family gives one a unique opportunity to serve Jehovah in a whole-souled manner. How so?
4 The Work Being Done at Bethel: Think of all that is regularly accomplished in the three Bethel complexes located in the United States, at Brooklyn, Patterson, and Wallkill, New York. The 5,730 brothers and sisters who make up the Bethel family in these three locations have the privilege of being closely involved in supporting the faithful and discreet slave class and its Governing Body in the production of Bibles and Bible literature for use in the worldwide field and in personal study. (Matt. 24:45) For example, this past service year, 24,364,670 books, 39,813,464 booklets and brochures, 270,528,000 magazines, and 1,271,041 audiocassettes were produced and shipped as a result of the combined effort of the United States Bethel family. Tremendous effort is put into researching and selecting “delightful words and the writing of correct words of truth” for these publications. (Eccl. 12:9, 10) Direction is also provided for the more than 1,900 translators worldwide who help to produce the literature in over 300 languages. Much is done to coordinate the work accomplished in the 111 branches worldwide, including the more than 11,500 congregations here in the United States. Assistance is also given to the branches involved in the engineering and constructing of additional Bethel homes and Assembly Halls and the 15,248 Kingdom Halls presently needed in lands with limited resources. Hundreds of willing volunteers are required to care for the printing and shipping of literature, cleaning, maintenance, food preparation, purchasing, health care, and many other operations at Bethel.
5 Accomplishing all this work presents a mighty yet spiritually satisfying task. Knowing that all our strength and energy is being used to support the preaching and teaching activity results in much joy. Bethel service helps us to get to know Jehovah’s organization in much greater detail. We are reminded that the psalmist encouraged the Israelites to get to know more intimately the earthly center of theocratic rule in their day.—Ps. 48:12, 13.
6 Blessings of Bethel Service: How do those serving at Bethel feel about their privileges of service? Note the following comments from both younger and older members of the Bethel family. One Bethel family member who has enjoyed three years of Bethel service comments: “Being at Bethel has strengthened my relationship with Jehovah. The longer I serve here and the more I learn about how Bethel runs, the more it teaches me about Jehovah’s personality. Bethel service has also been an eye-opener for me to see that Jehovah uses people—all kinds of people. And you do not have to be perfect to be acceptable to him.”
7 One young brother recalls: “I remember thinking to myself, ‘How nice it will be to get to the new world and tell the faithful men of old that I served my years at Bethel, not outside making money.’”
8 A young brother reflects on the training he has received: “Learning about myself and what I need to work on and then developing those qualities has been a great blessing. I feel that now I am better able to serve Jehovah. I find that I am a little more patient, have a little more self-control, and am able to show love to a greater degree.”
9 A sister thinks about her blessings thus far: “The spiritual programs here have taught me more about Jehovah and how I can imitate him better in thought, feeling, and action. And because the training is ongoing, it is an ongoing blessing.”
10 A brother who has devoted a total of 59 years to the full-time ministry, over 43 of those years at Bethel, stated: “Bethel is not like a monastery, as some may think. We accomplish much because of our scheduled way of life. . . . There has not been a day that I have come to work and not enjoyed what I did. Why? Because when we give of ourselves whole-souled to Jehovah, we have the satisfaction of knowing that ‘we have done what we ought to have done.’”—Luke 17:10.
11 Another brother, who has served at Bethel for 62 years, said: “I firmly believe that Bethel is the best place on earth this side of the coming earthly Paradise. I have never regretted for a second having made full-time service my lifetime career. What a joy it has been to witness and to have shared in the great growth of Jehovah’s earthly organization! It is my determination, with Jehovah’s help, to continue to make Bethel my home and apply myself whole-souled to the advancing of Kingdom interests.”
12 These Bethel family members have mentioned just a few of the many blessings that you can enjoy if you make yourself available for Bethel service. But as is true of receiving any privilege of service, you must first meet the qualifications. What are some of the requirements to serve as a member of the Bethel family?
13 Requirements for Bethel Service: The basic requirements for those applying for Bethel service are shown in the accompanying box. Additionally, it is important that they be willing to work hard, not being “lovers of pleasures.” (2 Tim. 3:4; 1 Cor. 13:11) Bethel family members should be spiritual men and women who have developed good personal study habits and have trained their perceptive powers to “distinguish both right and wrong.” (Heb. 5:14) Their Christian maturity should already have been demonstrated in all areas of life, including their dress, grooming, and choice of music and entertainment. Willinghearted Bethel family members serve wherever they may be needed. Younger members are usually given assignments involving physical work, including printing, preparing and shipping literature, maintenance, housekeeping, cleaning, laundry, and food preparation. (Prov. 20:29) Unlike secular work, though, each assignment brings great satisfaction because it is sacred service that brings glory to Jehovah.—Col. 3:23.
14 The minimum stay for those invited for Bethel service is one year. This enables them to be trained to become productive workers. The hope is that they will be able to make Bethel their home. It is love for Jehovah that moves Bethel family members to put the Kingdom work ahead of personal interests, which is pleasing to Jehovah.—Matt. 16:24.
15 Current Needs: Because of the nature of the work done at Bethel, our present need is primarily for single brothers. Although not a requirement, preference is given to those who are regular pioneers, since they are already in the full-time work. At times there may be openings for single sisters and married couples from 19 to 35 years of age who may have certain skills that are needed at Bethel. Additionally, some brothers and sisters who may be a little older than 35 and who have specialized skills and training that could be used at Bethel are encouraged to apply. For example, these include dentists, doctors, certified public accountants, architects, engineers, registered nurses, automobile mechanics, or electronic technicians, to mention but a few. However, we do not encourage individuals to obtain specialized education or training with the thought that this will improve their chances of being called into Bethel. Those who have already received specialized training, perhaps before coming into the truth, may wish to write out a detailed résumé and attach it to the Bethel application.
16 If you apply and are not invited to serve at Bethel, do not be discouraged. You may consider renewing your application once each year. Some brothers with special training and skills that may be needed at Bethel have made themselves available for temporary volunteer service. They may apply to serve temporarily at Bethel for one, two, three, or four weeks or up to three months. The congregation secretary has the temporary volunteer application form for those interested in helping in this way. Additional temporary volunteer applications can be ordered on the Literature Request Form.
17 Serving Jehovah in close association with Christ’s brothers is a unique privilege for those working at Bethel. The Governing Body appreciates the self-sacrificing spirit of all who make themselves available in ministering to the needs of our worldwide brotherhood.—Phil. 2:20-22; 2 Tim. 4:11.
18 Young Ones—Prepare Yourselves Now for Bethel Service: Preparation for Bethel service starts long before the minimum requirement of 19 years of age has been reached. What can young ones do to prepare themselves for Bethel service? Jesus said: “Who of you that wants to build a tower does not first sit down and calculate the expense?” (Luke 14:28) Since preparation and planning are vital to the success of any building project, how important it is that youths give close attention to how they are building for their future in Jehovah’s service! A solid foundation must be laid early in life in order for them to achieve spiritual goals. As a youth, how well are you laying your foundation? If you would like to serve at Bethel, you will benefit by carefully considering the following.
19 “Make Room” for This Special Privilege of Service: As recorded at Matthew 19:12, Jesus encouraged his disciples to “make room” for a course of singleness. Why? Not for personal reasons, but “on account of the kingdom of the heavens.” Paul likewise encouraged such a course of being in “constant attendance upon the Lord without distraction.” (1 Cor. 7:32-35) Unfortunately, a number miss out on the privilege of serving as single men at Bethel because of pursuing marriage at an early age. We want to encourage our younger brothers to use their energies in pursuing the full-time ministry while they are still free of family responsibilities. Then, if after a period of time they decide to marry, they will be much better husbands because of having gained more experience in life and in the Christian ministry. After serving for a number of years at Bethel, some have married and have been able to continue serving there as a couple. If they later have other privileges, such as the traveling work or missionary service, they certainly do not regret the time they set aside to make room for Bethel service.
20 Do Not Be Distracted by Material Pursuits: Each young person would do well to ask: ‘Is my goal after graduating from high school to pursue a full-time secular career or is it to serve Jehovah full-time?’ Granted, taking the latter course will require sacrifices. But so will pursuing a secular career! In the end, which course will truly have a long-lasting and beneficial result? Jesus gave the clear answer. According to Matthew 6:19-21, he said: “Stop storing up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break in and steal. Rather, store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” May our hearts never lead us to pursue a worldly career or material things instead of whole-souled service to Jehovah. All of us must recognize that the only treasure worth pursuing is a good relationship with Jehovah, so that we make his heart glad. (Prov. 27:11) By putting Jehovah first in our life while young, we show where our values are and how important the Kingdom is to us. Remember, “the blessing of Jehovah—that is what makes rich, and he adds no pain with it.” (Prov. 10:22) Young ones have an excellent opportunity to show where their hearts are by giving something good back to Jehovah for all that he has given them. Bethel service affords such a wonderful opportunity for those who meet the qualifications.
21 Those Serving at Bethel Must Be Morally Clean: The psalmist asked: “How will a young man cleanse his path?” He answered: “By keeping on guard according to [Jehovah’s] word.” (Ps. 119:9) That would include avoiding anything having to do with the moral corruption of Satan’s system of things. Internet pornography, improper conduct with the opposite sex, debasing music, degrading entertainment, and underage drinking are just some of the snares that Satan uses to prevent our youth from reaching spiritual goals. A strong determination is needed to resist these tactics. As a young person, if you find yourself becoming involved in any of these things, talk to the elders in your congregation and resolve these issues before you apply for Bethel service. Having a clean conscience is vital for serving Jehovah fully.—1 Tim. 1:5.
22 Learn to Get Along With Others: An important requirement for making a success of Bethel service is learning to get along with others. The Bethel family in the United States is composed of thousands of brothers and sisters from all walks of life. While this variety of personalities adds to the beauty of Bethel, at times it can also present challenges. If you are considering Bethel service, you may do well to ask yourself: ‘Am I easily offended when others do not share my opinion? Do others find me easy to get along with?’ If you need to improve in such areas, start working on the matter now. Your doing so will help you to adjust more easily to living and working with members of the Bethel family.
23 Work hard at being a spiritual person by cultivating a close relationship with Jehovah. Develop a good program of personal study, which would include reading the Bible daily. Be active in sharing the good news with others. By putting these things into practice, you will make your spiritual advancement manifest. (1 Tim. 4:15) What wonderful prospects await those who prepare now for a career in full-time service!
24 Parents, Train Your Children: What can parents do to encourage young ones to pursue the full-time ministry? Jesus said: “Everyone that is perfectly instructed will be like his teacher.” (Luke 6:40) A thoroughly trained pupil cannot help but exhibit the fine qualities of his dedicated teacher. This principle should provide food for thought for Christian parents as they work hard in training their children “with godly devotion as [their] aim.” (1 Tim. 4:7) Since children are inclined to reflect the attitude of their parents toward spiritual things, parents do well to ask themselves: ‘Do we personally value the work being done at Bethel to promote the interests of Jehovah’s true worship? Do we recognize Jehovah’s blessing on the Bethel arrangement? Do we believe that a life in Jehovah’s service is the best career choice our children could make?’ Our own heartfelt appreciation for Bethel service and the work being done there will help us to instill a similar appreciation in our children.
25 Elkanah and Hannah had deep appreciation for true worship. They set a noteworthy example for Christian parents today. In ancient Israel, only Israelite men were required to “appear before the face of the true Lord, Jehovah” three times a year at the tabernacle. Nevertheless, Elkanah traveled some 20 miles [30 km], most likely on foot, with his entire family “year to year” to sacrifice at this center for Jehovah’s worship. (Ex. 23:17; 1 Sam. 1:3, 4, 9, 19; 2:19) It is apparent that this family head wanted his whole family to share his personal concern for spiritual things.
26 Hannah shared her husband’s interest in true worship. She keenly felt her obligation to contribute to the support of true worship at the tabernacle. Hannah vowed that if Jehovah granted her a son, she would make him available for tabernacle service. (1 Sam. 1:11) The Mosaic Law allowed a husband the right to nullify an inappropriate vow of his wife. (Num. 30:6-8) However, Elkanah apparently endorsed Hannah’s vow, showing that he too supported that expression of true worship!—1 Sam. 1:22, 23.
27 Was their son Samuel affected in a positive way by the appreciation and fine spirit displayed by his parents? Yes, indeed. As a young boy, Samuel willingly and faithfully cared for his assigned tasks and was trained for further cherished privileges in God’s service. The interest that Elkanah and Hannah showed in Samuel’s service at the tabernacle did not end after he assumed his duties there. They continued to visit him regularly to offer encouragement and support as he pursued full-time service.—1 Sam. 2:18, 19.
28 What an outstanding example Elkanah and Hannah set for Christian parents today! When our children hear our heartfelt expressions of appreciation for the privilege of Bethel service and see the spirit of self-sacrifice that we display in furthering Kingdom interests, they too will develop a heart inclined to serve others. Many parents are successfully instilling this wholesome inclination in their children. One seven-year-old wrote: “When I grow up, I want to be at Bethel, and I have a few things I would like to do there. (1) Typing up the Watchtower and Awake! magazines, (2) working in your art section, (3) folding laundry. Whichever one is available. It doesn’t matter.” How heartwarming to see such a willing spirit develop in the heart of our children!
29 Young ones, remember that “the world is passing away and so is its desire, but he that does the will of God remains forever.” (1 John 2:17) Continue to pursue spiritual goals, including the special privilege of Bethel service. Parents, imitate the example of faithful ones in the past who encouraged their children to cultivate godly devotion. (2 Pet. 3:11) And may all of us do our part to assist our young brothers and sisters to serve our Grand Creator to the fullest extent possible, as this “holds promise of the life now and that which is to come.”—1 Tim. 4:8; Eccl. 12:1.
[Box on page 4]
Basic Requirements for Bethel Service
● Baptized for at least one year
● A spiritual person with a deep love for Jehovah and his organization
● In good spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical health
● Citizen or legal permanent resident of the United States
● Able to read, write, and speak English well
● 19-35 years of age