1. Meetings for field service have what purpose?
1 On one occasion, Jesus met with 70 of his disciples before they went on a preaching campaign. (Luke 10:1-11) He gave encouragement by reminding them that they would not be alone and that they were being directed by “the Master of the harvest,” Jehovah. He also gave them instructions that equipped them to do the work, and he organized them “by twos.” Today, the meetings we have prior to going out in the ministry serve a similar purpose—to encourage, equip, and organize us.
2. How long should a meeting for field service be?
2 Currently, a meeting for field service lasts from 10 to 15 minutes, which includes organizing the groups, assigning territory, and saying a prayer. This is now being adjusted. Beginning in April, a meeting for field service will last from five to seven minutes. However, when it follows another congregation meeting, it should be even shorter, since those attending have already enjoyed a fine Scriptural discussion. Having brief meetings for field service will enable all to spend more time in the ministry. In addition, if pioneers or publishers have begun their preaching before the meeting for field service, only a brief interruption of their activity will be necessary.
3. How may meetings for field service be arranged so that they are most helpful to the publishers?
3 Meetings for field service should be arranged so that they will be most helpful to the publishers. In many congregations it is advantageous for field service groups to meet separately rather than to combine at one location. This may make it easier for publishers to travel to the meeting for field service and perhaps to the territory. Publishers can be quickly organized, and it may be easier for group overseers to give close attention to those in their care. The body of elders can consider local circumstances and determine what is best. Before ending the meeting with a brief prayer, all should know where and with whom they are going to work.
4. Why should meetings for field service not be viewed as less important than other meetings?
4 Not Less Important Than Other Congregation Meetings: Because meetings for field service are held for the benefit of those who are going out in the ministry, they may not be attended by the entire congregation. However, this does not mean that they should be taken lightly or viewed as less important than other congregation meetings. Like all our meetings, meetings for field service are a provision from Jehovah that enables us to incite one another to love and fine works. (Heb. 10:24, 25) Therefore, the conductor should be well-prepared so that the discussion will honor Jehovah and benefit those in attendance. If it is practical to do so, publishers who are going out in the ministry should make an effort to attend.
Meetings for field service should not be taken lightly or viewed as less important than other congregation meetings
5. (a) What is the service overseer’s role in arranging meetings for field service? (b) How should a sister conduct a meeting for field service?
5 Preparation by the Conductor: In order for someone to be well-prepared to present a meeting part, he needs to receive the assignment in advance. This is no less true with regard to meetings for field service. Of course, when field service groups meet separately, group overseers or their assistants conduct the meeting for their group. However, when the congregation will have a combined meeting for field service, the service overseer will assign someone to conduct. Some service overseers give a schedule to all the conductors and post a copy of it on the information board. The service overseer should use good judgment when assigning conductors, keeping in mind that the quality of these meetings will also depend on the teaching and organizing ability of those conducting. If no elder, ministerial servant, or other qualified baptized brother is available to be assigned on some days, the service overseer should assign a capable baptized sister to conduct.—See the article “When a Sister Must Conduct.”
6. Why is it important for the assigned conductor to prepare well?
6 When we receive an assignment for the Theocratic Ministry School or Service Meeting, we take it seriously and prepare well. Few of us would wait until we are traveling to the meeting to begin thinking about what we will say. An assignment to conduct a meeting for field service should be viewed the same way. Now that the meeting for field service will be shorter, good preparation is especially important so that the meeting will be meaningful and end on time. Good preparation also includes obtaining territory in advance.
7. What are some things that the conductor could discuss?
7 What to Discuss: Since circumstances vary from territory to territory, the faithful slave has not provided an outline for each meeting for field service. The box “During a Meeting for Field Service, You Might Consider” outlines some possibilities. Generally, the meeting will be handled as a discussion. On occasion, it may include a well-prepared demonstration or an appropriate video from jw.org. When preparing for a meeting for field service, the conductor should think about what will encourage and equip those going out in the ministry that day.
When preparing for a meeting for field service, the conductor should think about what will encourage and equip those going out in the ministry that day
8. What might be most beneficial to discuss during meetings for field service on Saturdays and Sundays?
8 On Saturdays, for example, most publishers offer The Watchtower and Awake! Many who share in the ministry on Saturdays do not go out during the week, so they may have difficulty remembering the presentation they practiced during their Family Worship evening. Therefore, it may be beneficial for the conductor to review one of the sample presentations from the back of Our Kingdom Ministry. Other options include discussing how to incorporate a local news item, event, or holiday into a magazine presentation or how to lay the groundwork for the next visit if the magazines are accepted. If some at the meeting for field service have already been using the particular magazines being offered, the conductor could ask them to share some brief suggestions or relate encouraging experiences. On Sundays, the conductor might choose to do something similar with regard to the offer for the month. Study publications, such as the Good News and Listen to God brochures and the Bible Teach book may be offered any day, so the conductor could briefly consider how one of these publications may be offered.
9. What could be discussed on the weekend when engaged in a special campaign?
9 If the congregation is engaged in a special campaign on the weekend, the conductor might consider how to offer the current magazines along with the invitation or the tract, or he could discuss what to do if interest is shown. Another option would be to share experiences that highlight the value of such campaigns.
10, 11. Why is preparation by the publishers important for the success of a meeting for field service?
10 Preparation by Publishers: Publishers also have a part in making a meeting for field service successful. By preparing in advance for service, perhaps during their family worship, they will have something to share with other publishers. Good preparation also includes obtaining magazines and literature supplies before arriving at the meeting for field service so that all can leave for the territory without unnecessary delay.
11 It is also important to plan to arrive at the meeting for field service a few minutes before it begins. Of course, we endeavor to be on time for all congregation meetings. However, it can be especially disruptive when we arrive late for a meeting for field service. How so? The brother taking the lead considers a number of factors before organizing the group. If few publishers are present, he may choose to send everyone to a territory that has been partially worked. If some walked to the meeting for field service and the territory is a distance away, he may pair these publishers with those who drove vehicles. If the territory is in a high-crime area, he may assign brothers to work with or near groups of sisters. Infirm publishers might be assigned to work a street that is level or that has homes with fewer stairs. Newer publishers might be assigned to work with more experienced ones. But, if publishers arrive late, the arrangements will often have to be revised or redone in order to accommodate the latecomers. Of course, we may on occasion have a legitimate reason for being late. However, if we are habitually late, we might ask ourselves if it is because we lack appreciation for meetings for field service or because we fail to organize our affairs in advance.
12. If you generally make your own service arrangements, what might you consider?
12 Publishers who meet for service can choose to make their own arrangements before the meeting begins, or they can have a partner assigned to them. If you generally make your own arrangements, could you “widen out” by working with a variety of publishers rather than with the same close friends each time? (2 Cor. 6:11-13, ftn.) Could you occasionally arrange to work with a newer publisher to help him make advancement in his teaching ability? (1 Cor. 10:24; 1 Tim. 4:13, 15) Listen carefully to any instructions that you are given, including direction regarding where you are to begin preaching. When the meeting concludes, avoid changing the arrangements and depart for the territory promptly.
13. If all involved are conscientious and do their part, how will meetings for field service benefit us?
13 After preaching, the 70 whom Jesus organized for the ministry “returned with joy.” (Luke 10:17) No doubt, Jesus’ meeting with them before they began preaching helped them to be successful. Today, meetings for field service can have a similar benefit. If all involved are conscientious and do their part, meetings for field service will encourage, equip, and organize us to accomplish our commission to give “a witness to all the nations.”—Matt. 24:14.