◼ When is it appropriate to form a foreign-language group?
When a congregation’s territory includes a sizable foreign-language population, the elders should do what they can to organize the preaching work in that language. (km 7/02 p. 1; km 2/98 pp. 3-4) It may be that the foreign-language community is widely scattered throughout the territories of two or more neighboring congregations. In such a case, the circuit overseer(s) will provide needed direction, thus helping the congregations involved to cooperate in the preaching activity. Periodically, a public talk or Watchtower Study may be arranged to determine the extent of support for the meetings in the foreign language.
A foreign-language group can be formed when the following requirements are met: (1) There are publishers or interested ones who best understand the good news in the foreign language. (2) A qualified elder or ministerial servant is available to take the lead and conduct at least one weekly meeting. (3) A body of elders is willing to sponsor the group. When these requirements have been met, the elders should inform the branch office so that the group can be formally recognized and further instructions can be given.
Most groups begin by holding the Congregation Book Study on a weekly basis. Later, the elders may approve of adding other meetings, such as the Public Meeting and the Watchtower Study. Assignments No. 2, 3, and 4 on the Theocratic Ministry School may be presented in an auxiliary classroom if a qualified elder or ministerial servant conversant in the language can serve as the counselor. However, the group will join the congregation for the speech-quality talk, instruction talk, Bible highlights, and Service Meeting. Meetings for field service may also be arranged for the group.
All in the group work closely under the oversight of the body of elders. The elders should provide balanced direction and show initiative in caring for the needs of the group. When the circuit overseer visits the sponsoring congregation, he will also arrange to work with the group in order to build it up spiritually. With Jehovah’s blessing, the foreign-language group may in time become a congregation.