Preach and Give a Thorough Witness
1 As “a leader and commander,” Jesus prepared his disciples for the vast preaching work that lay ahead. (Isa. 55:4; Luke 10:1-12; Acts 1:8) The apostle Peter described the commission Jesus gave them in these words: “He ordered us to preach to the people and to give a thorough witness that this is the One decreed by God to be judge of the living and the dead.” (Acts 10:42) What is involved in giving a thorough witness?
2 We can learn much from considering the example of the apostle Paul. When meeting with the older men from the congregation in Ephesus, he reminded them: “I did not hold back from telling you any of the things that were profitable nor from teaching you publicly and from house to house. But I thoroughly bore witness both to Jews and to Greeks about repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus.” Despite facing trials himself, Paul sought to reach as many as possible with the good news. He was not content to share just basic truths with his listeners, but he sought to impart “all the counsel of God.” To accomplish this, he was willing to exert himself and make sacrifices. He further stated: “I do not make my soul of any account as dear to me, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received of the Lord Jesus, to bear thorough witness to the good news of the undeserved kindness of God.”—Acts 20:20, 21, 24, 27.
3 How can we imitate Paul’s example today? (1 Cor. 11:1) By searching for deserving households even when we ourselves are facing trials, by striving to reach people of all ethnic groups and languages with the good news, and by diligently cultivating the interest we find. (Matt. 10:12, 13) This requires time, effort, and love for people.
4 Can You Serve as an Auxiliary Pioneer? March and April could be a fine opportunity for you to give a thorough witness by auxiliary pioneering. How encouraging it was last year to see so many make a special effort to auxiliary pioneer!
5 An 80-year-old sister with many health problems was stirred by the encouragement provided by Jehovah’s organization. She wrote: “It set on fire the spark I’ve had in my heart for a long time, and it made me feel that I just had to auxiliary pioneer at least one more time.” She decided to aim for March. “The first thing I did,” she said, “was to sit down and count the cost. I talked it over with my daughter because I would need her help. She surprised me by getting an application for herself.” During the month, the elderly sister spent 52 hours in the ministry. “Many times I prayed to Jehovah to renew my strength when I felt it was giving out. At the end of the month, I was very happy and satisfied, and I have thanked Jehovah many times for helping me. I would like to try it again.” Her happy experience may encourage others who really want to auxiliary pioneer in spite of serious health concerns.
6 A brother who was unexpectedly laid off from his secular employment took advantage of the situation to auxiliary pioneer. As the month progressed, he became infused with zeal for the preaching work, and by the end of the month, he had started a new Bible study. Reflecting on the experience, he said: “What a month!” How elated he was for having Jehovah’s help! Yes, Jehovah emptied out a rich blessing upon him for the extra effort the brother put forth in the ministry, and he will do the same for you.—Mal. 3:10.
7 For many, auxiliary pioneering is not easy. Nevertheless, despite secular and family responsibilities as well as personal challenges, a good number of brothers and sisters have been able to do so. Giving a thorough witness often involves a sacrifice of our precious time and energy, but the blessings are without equal.—Prov. 10:22.
8 March and April are ideal times to auxiliary pioneer. There are five weekends during March. Taking advantage of these and making good use of the evening hours may allow some who work full-time to auxiliary pioneer. In addition, you may be able to take advantage of the holidays during the month of April. Some may have time off from school and secular work, which can help them to meet the 50-hour requirement. In order to schedule 50 hours in the ministry during March or April, can you use one of the sample auxiliary pioneer schedules included with this article? Discuss your schedule with others; some will no doubt be encouraged to join you in the ministry. If you are not able to auxiliary pioneer, set a specific goal for these months, and support those who are able to pioneer. Make your plans now for increased service during March and April.
9 Show Appreciation for the Memorial: Each year during the Memorial season, gratitude for the ransom moves thousands to ‘buy out the time’ to be auxiliary pioneers. (Eph. 5:15, 16) In the United States last year, there were 126,378 auxiliary pioneers in March and 51,217 in April. That makes an average of 88,797 for each of these two months. Compare that with the average number of 21,505 who auxiliary pioneered during each of the previous months of the service year. This Memorial season is another fine opportunity to show our sincere appreciation for Christ’s ransom sacrifice by increasing our activity in the field ministry.
10 As April 16 approaches, contemplate what the Memorial means to you. Think about the events leading up to Christ’s death and the thoughts that weighed heavily on his mind and heart. Reflect, too, on the joy that was set before Jesus and how it helped him to endure such mistreatment. Ponder over his present position as Head of the congregation, overseeing the preaching and disciple-making work. (1 Cor. 11:3; Heb. 12:2; Rev. 14:14-16) Then demonstrate your appreciation for all that Christ has done by having as full a share in the preaching work as your circumstances allow.
11 Encourage Others to Be Thorough: By participating in the auxiliary pioneer service, elders and ministerial servants are in a good position to encourage others. When working with publishers in the field ministry and when making shepherding calls, they have fine opportunities personally to help others to have a full share in this special activity. May all of us make this a matter of prayer, thus adding force to our united efforts in giving a thorough witness.
12 While all elders and ministerial servants will cooperate with congregation arrangements for increased activity during the months of March and April, the service overseer in particular should be concerned with coordinating the evangelizing work. He should organize field service locations, days, and times that are convenient for the majority of the publishers and have these announced regularly. Arrangements may be made to meet at a number of different times during the day, giving all in the congregation an opportunity to share in various forms of witnessing. These might include working business territory, witnessing on the street, calling from house to house, making return visits, and witnessing by telephone. In addition, he should arrange for an ample supply of literature, magazines, and territory to be available during those months.
13 The offer for March will be the Knowledge book, with the goal of starting Bible studies. Fine suggestions for offering the Knowledge book appeared in the January 2002 Our Kingdom Ministry insert. April’s offer will be the Watchtower and Awake! magazines. Try to utilize the suggested presentations appearing in “What to Say About the Magazines.” All should take time to prepare well so as to give a thorough witness.
14 How blessed we are to work under the direction of the Head of the congregation, Christ Jesus, and have the privilege of sharing the good news with others! As the months of March and April approach, let us once again strive to make them our best months ever as we obey Christ’s order to preach and give a thorough witness.
[Box on page 4]
Various Ways to Auxiliary Pioneer in March and April 2003
Monday 1 2 — — 2 —
Tuesday 1 — 3 — — —
Wednesday 1 2 — 5 — —
Thursday 1 — 3 — — —
Friday 1 2 — — — —
Saturday 5 4 3 5 6 7
Sunday 2 2 3 2 2 3
March 56 56 54 55 50 50
April 50 50 51 53 — —
Will one of these schedules work for you?