1969—A Year of Praise
Jehovah’s Christian witnesses enjoyed their finest year in these last days of this wicked system of things in the 1969 service year. So many things occurred that were outstanding in comparison with previous years, and this can be appreciated by reading this summary of the work accomplished.
Probably the quickest way of saying that 1969 was a year of praise on the part of Jehovah’s witnesses is by pointing out that 120,905 persons dedicated their lives to do the will of Jehovah God and were baptized during the service year. This, we might say, is a result of Jehovah’s witnesses world wide praising God. They have convinced many persons that the Bible is a book to be studied and that it is the course of wisdom to follow its teachings. Because of the knowledge gained in such study they are now praising Jehovah God along with hundreds of thousands of others who are doing the same thing. This is the story in brief:
The 1968 service year concluded with an average 1,155,826 regular publishers of the Kingdom preaching the good news every month. At the end of the 1969 service year the worldwide report showed that there were 1,256,784 publishers regularly declaring the good news of God’s kingdom each month. This was an increase over the previous year of more than 100,000 publishers who engaged in the house-to-house, back-call and Bible-study activity. This is truly outstanding! There are people in Babylon the Great who are heeding God’s message to flee so that they will not be sharers in her plagues and her destruction. They have sought refuge under Jehovah’s care and in Jehovah’s organization.
This tremendous increase, of course, makes Jehovah’s witnesses very happy, and when we look at the new peak in publishers for the 1969 service year we find that the final count came to 1,336,112. This means that that many persons have shared in the field ministry sometime during the past twelve months. That means that 114,608 more publishers shared in the work than at any time heretofore.
All of this is evidence that more than 100,000 persons took up the preaching work, as well as dedicated their lives to do Jehovah’s will in the future. So we can expect that 1970 will prove to be another grand year in declaring the Kingdom good news. Of these 1,336,112 publishers of the Kingdom, there were, on an average, 76,515 pioneers engaging in the field ministry. Every month throughout the year those who were regular pioneers endeavored to spend 100 or more hours in preaching the good news. Many were vacation pioneers who were able to spend only a month or two in such service, but we are very happy to see their diligence in wanting to spread the Kingdom good news. The majority of those serving were regular pioneers, and of the total number of pioneers, 12,612 were special pioneers, which means they spent 150 or more hours each month preaching the good news. The overall special-pioneer number of 12,612 also includes the missionaries working in foreign fields around the world. And the total of 63,903 other pioneers includes those in the circuit and district work world wide. There were 2,252 in the circuit work and 292 in the district work. These spend from 85 to 100 or more hours in the field service each month.
The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society gives financial assistance to the circuit and district servants, special pioneers and missionaries around the world. Last year the Society spent $6,265,364.28 helping these brothers and sisters to stay in these fields of full-time service. To assist the special pioneers and missionaries world wide the Society spent $5,478,221.51 and the balance of $787,142.77 was used to assist the circuit and district servants for their travels to visit and encourage the Lord’s people in the congregations. We very much appreciate the assistance that the congregation publishers gave the traveling representatives of the Society by entertaining them in their homes wherever possible. Of course, the expenses of housing and providing meals in this manner by local publishers are not included in the above outlay of funds.
The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society is very grateful to the brothers throughout the world for their contributions, making it possible to enroll many more special pioneers this year and to add more persons to do the missionary work.
Let us for a moment look at the witness that was given by the congregation publishers, the vacation, regular and special pioneers as well as the missionaries and those sharing in the circuit and district work. Let us consider first of all the total number of hours that were spent by all of these persons in preaching the Kingdom good news. The final figure came to 239,769,076. In the time spent preaching we include hours used in going from house to house, making back-calls and conducting home Bible studies, as well as time spent in incidental witnessing. The total number of back-calls came to 106,883,499. What really had an effect upon the newly interested persons was the teaching work done in the Bible-study activity. As we well know, we are doing a twofold work, that of giving the witness concerning the Kingdom good news, as outlined in Matthew 24:14, and, secondly, making disciples of people of all the nations, as Jesus outlined in Matthew 28:19, 20. This teaching work has moved forward steadily during the past year because weekly Jehovah’s witnesses were conducting 1,097,237 home Bible studies. As was already pointed out, more than 120,000 of these persons with whom Jehovah’s Christian witnesses have been conducting home Bible studies were baptized during the year, and they declared themselves as wanting to do the will of God. They have proved it by going out in the field service and walking in the footsteps of Christ Jesus, doing the same kind of work that he did.
The preaching work done by Jehovah’s witnesses is, of course, enhanced by the use of the Bible. All of Jehovah’s witnesses in all lands use the Bible in their home Bible studies. In addition to that, in carrying forward their witnessing work and their teaching work around the world they use other publications that the Society prints, such as bound books, which were placed with the people in the world to the number of 14,474,862 copies. They also distributed 11,111,743 booklets.
One of the principal publications that Jehovah’s witnesses today use in helping people appreciate the Word of God are magazines, The Watchtower and Awake! They distribute these magazines individually and also obtain subscriptions for them. During the past year the witnesses of Jehovah obtained 2,131,667 new subscriptions and distributed 186,257,878 individual copies of these magazines from house to house, from store to store and on the streets.
It is readily seen that a marvelous witness was given by the printed page, and Jehovah’s witnesses enjoy placing this literature. It shows persons what their responsibilities are in reading and following what the Scriptures teach. People need to know about Jehovah’s vengeance against this wicked system of things and the glorious good news concerning his kingdom, which will bring blessings to all families of the earth.
In addition to the wide distribution of literature, Jehovah’s witnesses also conducted Bible discourses in their Kingdom Halls world wide to the number of 1,053,316.
Jehovah’s witnesses are organized into congregations just as was done in the early days of Christianity. Around the earth there are 25,694 congregations and these, in turn, make up 2,252 circuits and 292 districts. The congregations that make up a circuit have two circuit assemblies each year, and then each year there is a district assembly. However, during the 1969 service year the outstanding feature was the “Peace on Earth” International Assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses, reported on in detail in the earlier part of this publication. The “Peace on Earth” International Assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses certainly stimulated the activity of Jehovah’s witnesses. This is shown by what happened in August, the very last month of the service year. This is a month that usually does not produce new peaks in publishers. But we are very happy to report that many countries did reach new peaks in publishers in August, the last month of the 1969 service year. Without doubt we will start off the 1970 service year with some very fine field service reports.
The reason why Jehovah’s witnesses are so determined to carry on their preaching activity is that they are strengthened by regular meetings together. This encouragement to press on with the work at hand comes from a study of the Bible along with aids such as the magazine The Watchtower. They also regularly attend the Theocratic Ministry School and the service meeting. All of these meetings held in the congregations build up their spirituality and appreciation for God’s Word. Jehovah’s witnesses feel their responsibility, and at the “Peace on Earth” International Assembly one could clearly see the joy and happiness of these servants of the Most High.
Jehovah’s witnesses have established printing plants around the world, the principal one being in Brooklyn, New York. There is another large printing plant in Germany where bound books are produced. In many countries, such as Canada, England, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, South Africa and Australia, the Watchtower and Awake! magazines are printed. In combining the total printing activity in the various branches it is noted that during the 1969 service year 27,936,033 bound books were printed world wide in addition to 13,267,952 booklets. These publications are used by Jehovah’s witnesses in all parts of the earth to give a witness concerning God’s kingdom and to start Bible studies. These Bible studies in the homes of the people are definitely on the increase. That is how people really learn and decide in their hearts and minds what they will personally do about serving Jehovah God. The total printing of magazines during the past service year gives evidence of the great demand for these publications. There were 159,395,598 Watchtower magazines printed and 166,356,756 Awake! magazines, or a total of 325,752,354 magazines in the Society’s printing plants. The Watchtower magazine is printed in 72 languages and the Awake! in 26 languages.
It is with real anticipation that Jehovah’s witnesses world wide look to the 1970 service year. They have in mind their yeartext, which is found in Matthew 28:19, 20: “Go therefore and make disciples . . . baptizing them.” We feel sure that with this theme in mind throughout the year there will be an even greater witness given concerning God’s kingdom. We also feel that there will be a greater teaching program conducted in the private homes of people in all parts of the earth.
Following the “Peace on Earth” International Assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses it seems as though all of Jehovah’s Christian witnesses are going to be more zealous in their activity, recognizing the urgency of the times. While the witness will continue to be given concerning God’s kingdom with even more impetus, still we are confident that the teaching work will also increase, and improve. It may be that even more persons will be baptized, expressing themselves as having dedicated their lives to do Jehovah’s will.
We have every reason to rejoice in the work that was done during the past year. We fully appreciate that this could not be done without Jehovah’s blessing and direction upon his people. It is our hope through our preaching and teaching efforts that many more men and women and children will join themselves to Jehovah’s people and become believers and prove that they truly believe God’s Word by being baptized and taking up the ministry. This will require a diligent effort on the part of everyone already dedicated. Due to the fact that so many have associated themselves with Jehovah’s witnesses during the past year it means that a heavy responsibility falls upon those who have been in the truth longer to help the new ones to grow to maturity so that they will gain a full appreciation of what Jehovah wants of all of those serving him.
Jehovah’s witnesses feel just like the psalmist in saying: “Happy is the people whose God is Jehovah!” (Ps. 144:15) While we are a happy people, we must keep in mind that this old world of gloom and discontent is not pleased with our happiness. It will bring trials and persecutions upon those who are telling forth the good news. All of us in time will meet up with some trials and opposition. But remember: “Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you meet with various trials.” (Jas. 1:2) Also remember what the apostle Peter said: “But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are happy.” “If you are being reproached for the name of Christ, you are happy, because the spirit of glory, even the spirit of God, is resting upon you.” (1 Pet. 3:14; 4:14) By Jehovah’s undeserved kindness we will press on during the coming years, preaching this good news and helping those who desire to learn. In all we do we want to bring glory and honor to our Father. Even as 1969 was a year of praise, 1970, too, will be a year of praise. We will let the words of Jesus ring in our ears: “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.”—Matt. 28:19, 20.
The branch servants, in submitting their annual reports of activity to the office of the President, concluded with the request that the warm love and greetings of the brothers in their countries be passed along to the brothers and sisters everywhere in the earth. They also expressed their gratitude for your generous gifts in making it possible for the branch servants, missionaries, older members of Bethel families and some circuit and district servants and special pioneers to get to one of the great international conventions. They were very appreciative of the love of the brothers, and I want to pass this information on to every one of you because all of you together have made this fine contribution to help these brothers get to a convention and also to advance the work in foreign fields.
Above all, it is the love of our brothers world wide for one another that keeps us closely knitted together. It was Jesus who made a plea for unity and oneness in his prayer to his heavenly Father on the last night he was with his disciples. He said: “I make request, not concerning these only, but also concerning those putting faith in me through their word; in order that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in union with me and I am in union with you, that they also may be in union with us, in order that the world may believe that you sent me forth.” (John 17:20, 21) So we will continue together declaring the great name of Jehovah God and telling the people about his beloved Son, Christ Jesus. We will let the world know that Jehovah through his Son has established a Kingdom for the blessing of mankind.
I would also like to send my warm love and greetings to all of you and to let you know, too, that I rejoice with you in this grand work that Jehovah God is accomplishing through his Christian witnesses in these “last days.” “May the God who gives peace be with all of you.”—Rom. 15:33.
Your fellow servant,
N. H. Knorr, President
Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania