Organizing for Further Expansion
DURING the past hundred years and more, there have been significant adjustments in the operation of Jehovah’s visible organization. For example, a theocratic structure in the congregations was adopted throughout the earth in 1938, and further refinements were made in 1972. Then, to give better supervision to the Kingdom work worldwide, the Governing Body established its six committees and appointed branch committees in 1976. Since then, the peak number of publishers has risen from 2,248,390 in 1976 to 4,472,787 in 1992. And the Memorial attendance during those same years has more than doubled from 4,972,571 to 11,431,171.
So, it was the time for another step to be taken to care for the anticipated further expansion of Jehovah’s organization. Thus, the following announcement appeared in the April 15, 1992, issue of The Watchtower.
“The members of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, at present 12 in number, continue to serve faithfully in their assignments. They are always thankful to the loyal members of the increasing ‘great crowd’ for their zealous support. (Revelation 7:9, 15) In view of the tremendous increase worldwide, it seems appropriate at this time to provide the Governing Body with some additional assistance. Therefore it has been decided to invite several helpers, mainly from among the great crowd, to share in the meetings of [five] of the Governing Body Committees, that is, the Personnel, Publishing, Service, Teaching, and Writing Committees. Thus, the number attending the meetings of each of these committees will be increased to seven or eight. Under the direction of the Governing Body committee members, these assistants will take part in discussions and will carry out various assignments given them by the committee. This new arrangement goes into effect May 1, 1992.
“For many years now, the number of the remnant of anointed Witnesses has been decreasing, while the number of the great crowd has increased beyond our grandest expectations. (Isaiah 60:22) How we thank Jehovah for this marvelous expansion! When the new name, Jehovah’s Witnesses, was gratefully accepted in 1931, the peak number of Kingdom publishers was 39,372, most of whom professed to be anointed brothers of Christ. (Isaiah 43:10-12; Hebrews 2:11) Sixty years later, in 1991, the worldwide peak of publishers was 4,278,820, of whom only 8,850 professed to be of the anointed remnant. As anticipated in the light of the Scriptures, the ‘great crowd’ now outnumber the remnant of the ‘little flock’ by more than 480 to 1. (Luke 12:32; Revelation 7:4-9) In caring for the expanding Kingdom interests, the remnant surely need and appreciate the cooperation and support of the great crowd.
“As explained in this issue of The Watchtower, there is a group serving with spiritual Israel today that is comparable to the Nethinim and the sons of the servants of Solomon who returned from Babylonian exile with the Jewish remnant; those non-Israelites even outnumbered the returning Levites. (Ezra 2:40-58; 8:15-20) ‘Given ones’ from among today’s great crowd are mature Christian men who have had considerable experience as a result of caring for oversight in branches, in the traveling work, and among the 66,000 congregations now established throughout the earth.
“Recently, Kingdom Ministry Schools were held worldwide for the instruction of overseers and their assisting ministerial servants. In the United States alone, 59,420 overseers attended. These ‘older men’ were thus equipped to fulfill their responsibilities more effectively.—1 Peter 5:1-3; compare Ephesians 4:8, 11.
“At the Brooklyn headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses, some ‘given ones’ have served for a great many years. These include mature overseers from the great crowd who have gained a wealth of ability and experience. Thus, the Governing Body has selected a few of such overseers to assist in the meetings of the Governing Body’s committees. These are not necessarily the men with the longest record of service. Rather, they are mature, experienced men with qualifications that fit them for giving assistance in particular fields. Their being assigned to work with a committee does not give them a special status. As Jesus said concerning his disciples, ‘all you are brothers.’ (Matthew 23:8) However, much will be entrusted to these men, and consequently ‘much will be demanded’ of them.—Luke 12:48.
“We rejoice in the forward march of Jehovah’s organization today. Over the past ten years, there has been almost a 100 percent increase in the number of those ministering in the field, in line with the prophecy concerning the Greater David, Jesus Christ: ‘Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end.’ (Isaiah 9:7, King James Version) In the same way that the Nethinim worked alongside the priests in repairing the walls of Jerusalem, so today the prophecy concerning Jehovah’s organization is being fulfilled: ‘And foreigners will actually build your walls.’ (Isaiah 60:10; Nehemiah 3:22, 26) The modern-day Nethinim are to be commended for the zeal that they show in building up true worship, assisting ‘the priests of Jehovah’ in whatever work or service may be assigned in Jehovah’s worldwide organization.—Isaiah 61:5, 6.”
Jehovah is continuing to make our worldwide brotherhood grow, and we are deeply grateful for his blessing upon the efforts of all his servants worldwide. Further expansion can confidently be expected as Jehovah ‘speeds it up in its time.’—Isa. 60:22; 1 Cor. 3:6.
May all of us move forward together in line with our 1993 yeartext: “Instruct me, O Jehovah . . . Unify my heart to fear your name.”—Ps. 86:11.
We appreciate your works of love, and we are happy to be walking with you in the way of the truth.
Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses