The Christian Greek Scriptures make frequent mention of Barnabas and the apostle Paul. These men served as traveling overseers, visiting the early congregations. Why? They were genuinely concerned about the welfare of their spiritual brothers. Paul said that he wanted to “return and visit the brothers” to see how they were. He was willing to cover hundreds of miles (or kilometers) in order to go and strengthen them. (Acts 15:36) That is the desire that our traveling overseers have today.
They come to encourage us. Each circuit overseer makes the rounds of 20 or so congregations, spending a week with each one twice a year. We can benefit greatly from the experience of these brothers and if they are married, that of their wives. They endeavor to get to know young and old alike, and they are eager to accompany us in the field ministry and on our Bible studies. These overseers make shepherding calls with the elders, and to strengthen us, they give encouraging talks at meetings and assemblies.—Acts 15:35.
They show an interest in all. Circuit overseers are keenly interested in the spiritual condition of the congregations. They meet with the elders and ministerial servants to review the progress made and to give them practical advice in handling their responsibilities. They help the pioneers to make a success of their ministry, and they enjoy getting to know newly associated ones and hearing about their spiritual progress. Each of these brothers freely gives of himself as “a fellow worker for [our] interests.” (2 Corinthians 8:23) We should imitate their faith and devotion to God.—Hebrews 13:7.
For what purpose do circuit overseers visit the congregations?