Questions From Readers
◼ What does the information in the annual service report mean?
Every year a report about the preaching work is printed in the Yearbook. We are very happy to know what Jehovah’s people around the world are doing to preach God’s Kingdom and teach others about it. But to understand what the report really means, we need to understand what some of the titles and numbers refer to. Here are some examples.
Service year. A service year starts in September and ends in August. The report in the Yearbook is always about the service year before the date on the Yearbook. For example, the 2011 Yearbook contains the report for the service year from September 1, 2009, to August 31, 2010.
Peak publishers and average publishers. Publishers are baptized Witnesses and others who are approved to preach the good news of the Kingdom. The number of “peak publishers” is taken from the month of the service year with the highest number of reports. The number may include some reports that came too late to be counted the previous month. The number of “average publishers” refers to the number of publishers who normally report their time in the preaching work each month.
Total hours. The 2011 Yearbook shows that the total time that Jehovah’s Witnesses used for the preaching work was more than 1.6 billion hours. But this total does not include all the time that we use to worship Jehovah. For example, it does not include the time that the elders use to shepherd the members of the congregation, that is, to help and encourage them. It also does not include the time we use to attend meetings, to study the Bible, and to meditate about what we learn.
Money. During the 2010 service year, Jehovah’s Witnesses spent more than $155 million to care for the needs of special pioneers, missionaries, and traveling overseers. But this amount of money does not include the money needed for printing Bibles, books, and magazines. And it does not include the money needed to care for the more than 20,000 brothers and sisters who work as volunteers in Bethel homes around the world.
Memorial partakers. This is the number of all the baptized Witnesses who partake of the bread and wine at the Memorial. But this number may not be the exact number of anointed ones on earth. For example, some may have the wrong idea about going to heaven because of what they believed in the past or because they have mental or emotional problems. So it is not possible to know the exact number of anointed ones who are on earth, and we do not need to know. The Governing Body does not keep a list of the names of everyone who partakes of the bread and wine at the Memorial.*—See footnote.
What we do know is that there will be some of the anointed “slaves of our God” on earth when the great tribulation starts. (Revelation 7:1-3) While they are still on earth, the anointed are working very hard in the preaching and teaching work. The annual report tells us what Jehovah’s people around the world are doing in this most important work in human history.
For more information, see the article “The Faithful Steward and Its Governing Body,” in the June 15, 2009, issue of The Watchtower, page 24.
[Blurb on page 27]
The annual report tells us what Jehovah’s people are doing around the world