Table of Contents
1. The instructions in this document will assist all who have a part on the Our Christian Life and Ministry meeting. Such ones should review the instructions for their part as outlined in the Life and Ministry Meeting Workbook and in this document before preparing their part. All publishers should be invited to make themselves available to present student assignments. Others who are actively associating with the congregation may participate if they agree with the teachings of the Bible and their life is in harmony with Christian principles. The Life and Ministry Meeting overseer should discuss the requirements for enrollment with anyone who is not a publisher and expresses a desire to enroll and then let the person know if he qualifies. This should be done in the presence of the one who is conducting a Bible study with him (or in the presence of a believing parent). The requirements are the same as those for a person to become an unbaptized publisher.—od chap. 8 par. 8.
2. One minute. Each week, after the opening song and prayer, the Life and Ministry Meeting chairman will generate anticipation for the program to follow. The chairman should focus on points that will benefit the congregation the most.
TREASURES FROM GOD’S WORD
3. Talk: Ten minutes. The theme and an outline of two or three main points are provided in the Life and Ministry Meeting Workbook. This talk is to be assigned to an elder or a qualified ministerial servant. When a new Bible book is scheduled in the weekly Bible reading, a video will be played to introduce it. The speaker may draw parallels between the video and the theme. However, he should be sure to cover the points outlined in the workbook. Also, as time allows, he should make good use of the artwork, which is designed to complement the material to be covered. He may include other reference material as long as it contributes to the development of the points in the outline.
4. Spiritual Gems: Ten minutes. This is a question-and-answer part without an introduction or a conclusion. It is to be handled by an elder or a qualified ministerial servant. The speaker should ask the audience both questions. Also, he may determine whether or not the cited verses need to be read. Those called on should offer comments of 30 seconds or less.
5. Bible Reading: Four minutes. This student assignment is to be handled by a male student. The student should read the assigned material without giving an introduction or a conclusion. The meeting chairman will be especially interested in helping students to read with accuracy, understanding, fluency, proper sense stress, modulation, appropriate pausing, and naturalness. Because some Bible reading assignments are shorter and others are longer, the Life and Ministry Meeting overseer should take into account the abilities of the students when making these assignments.
APPLY YOURSELF TO THE FIELD MINISTRY
6. Fifteen minutes. This section of the meeting is designed to give all the opportunity to practice for the ministry and to improve in their conversation skills and ability to preach and teach. As necessary, elders may receive student assignments. Each student should work on the study point from either the Teaching or Love People brochure that appears in parentheses next to the assignment in the Life and Ministry Meeting Workbook. At times, a part designated as a discussion will be scheduled. Such a part is to be handled by an elder or a qualified ministerial servant.—See paragraph 15 regarding how to handle discussion parts.
7. Starting a Conversation: This student assignment may be handled by a male or a female student. The assistant should be of the same gender or should be a family member. The student and the assistant may sit or stand.—For more information on the content and setting for this assignment, see paragraphs 12 and 13.
8. Following Up: This student assignment may be handled by a male or a female student. The assistant should be of the same gender. (km 5/97 p. 2) The student and the assistant may sit or stand. The student should demonstrate what to say when following up on a previous conversation.—For more information on the content and setting for this assignment, see paragraphs 12 and 13.
9. Making Disciples: This student assignment may be handled by a male or a female student. The assistant should be of the same gender. (km 5/97 p. 2) The student and the assistant may sit or stand. This part should demonstrate a segment of a Bible study already in progress. There is no need for an introduction or a conclusion unless the student is specifically working on one of these study points. It is not necessary to have all of the assigned material read aloud, although this may be done.
10. Explaining Your Beliefs: When designated as a talk, this student assignment should be handled by a male student. When designated as a demonstration, it may be handled by a male or a female student. The assistant should be of the same gender or should be a family member. The student should provide a clear and tactful answer to the theme question using the information in the reference provided. The student may decide whether or not to refer to the referenced publication during his part.
11. Talk: This student assignment is to be handled by a male student and given as a talk to the congregation. When the talk is based on a point from appendix A of the Love People brochure, the student should highlight how the verse(s) can be used in the ministry. For example, he may explain when a verse may be used, the meaning of the verse, and how to reason on it with a person. When the talk is based on a point from one of the lessons in the Love People brochure, the student should focus on how to apply the point in the ministry. He may highlight the example featured in point 1 of the lesson or highlight any of the supplementary verses included in the lesson, if helpful.
12. Content: The material in this paragraph and the following one applies to the “Starting a Conversation” and “Following Up” assignments. Unless otherwise noted, the student’s goal is to share a simple Bible truth that is relevant to the person he is speaking with and to lay the groundwork for a future conversation. The student should select a topic that is timely and effective locally. He may decide whether or not to introduce a publication or video from our Teaching Toolbox. Rather than demonstrate a memorized presentation, students should practice conversation skills, such as showing personal interest and displaying naturalness.
13. Settings: The student should apply the assigned general setting to local circumstances. For example:
(1) House to House: This setting includes preaching from door to door—whether in person, by phone, or by letter—and following up on a previous conversation with a person contacted in the house-to-house ministry.
(2) Informal Witnessing: This setting describes taking advantage of opportunities to turn an ordinary conversation into a witness. It may include sharing a Scriptural thought with those you meet at work, in school, in your neighborhood, on public transportation, or elsewhere while going about your daily activities.
(3) Public Witnessing: This setting may include cart witnessing, calling on people at places of business, street witnessing, or witnessing in parks, parking lots, or wherever people can be found.
14. Use of Videos and Literature: Depending on the circumstances, a student may decide to feature a video or literature. If a student assignment includes a video or if a student chooses to feature one, he should introduce and discuss the video but not play it.
LIVING AS CHRISTIANS
15. After a song, the next 15 minutes of this section will consist of one or two parts designed to help the audience apply God’s Word. Unless otherwise indicated, these parts may be assigned to elders or qualified ministerial servants, with the exception of a local needs part, which is to be handled by an elder. When a part is designated as a discussion, the speaker may ask questions throughout the part in addition to the ones provided. He should keep his introduction brief to allow for sufficient time to cover the main points and for audience participation. If an interview is called for, it is preferable for the one being interviewed to give his comments from the stage rather than from his seat, if possible.
16. Congregation Bible Study: Thirty minutes. This part is to be assigned to a qualified elder. (Where the number of elders is limited, qualified ministerial servants may be assigned, as needed.) The body of elders should determine who is qualified to conduct the Congregation Bible Study. Those approved should be able to preside in a meaningful way so as to keep the study on time, emphasize the key scriptures, and assist everyone to appreciate the practical value of the points covered. Those approved will benefit by reviewing published direction regarding how to conduct question-and-answer parts. (w23.04 p. 24, box) After the assigned material for the week has been thoroughly covered, there is no need to prolong the study. Where possible, different conductors and readers should be used each week. If the Life and Ministry Meeting chairman directs that the study be abbreviated, then the conductor will have to decide how to abbreviate the study. He may choose to have the reading of some paragraphs omitted.
17. Three minutes. The Life and Ministry Meeting chairman will review particularly helpful points from the meeting. He should also preview the material for the next week. He may announce the names of the students who are assigned to give parts the next week, provided there is time for this. Unless otherwise indicated, any necessary announcements should be made and any necessary letters should be read to the congregation by the chairman during his concluding comments. Routine information, such as normal field service arrangements and cleaning schedules, should not be announced from the platform but should be posted on the information board. If any announcements cannot be made or any letters cannot be read in the time allotted for the concluding comments, the chairman should ask the brothers handling parts on the Living as Christians section of the meeting to abbreviate their parts as necessary. (See paragraphs 16 and 19.) The meeting will conclude with song and prayer.
COMMENDATION AND COUNSEL
18. Following each of the student assignments, the Life and Ministry Meeting chairman has approximately one minute to provide commendation and counsel based on the assigned study point. When the chairman introduces a student’s assignment, he will not announce the study point. However, when the student’s assignment is finished and after some appropriate words of commendation, the chairman may announce the study point and state why the student did well on that point or kindly explain why and how the student should give that particular point further attention. The chairman may also comment on other aspects of the demonstration if he feels that this would benefit the student or the audience. Additional constructive counsel based on the Love People brochure, the Teaching brochure, or the Ministry School book may be given privately after the meeting or at another time, either on the assigned study point or on another study point.—For more information regarding the role of the Life and Ministry Meeting chairman and the role of the auxiliary counselor, see paragraphs 19, 24, and 25.
19. No part should go overtime, nor should the remarks of the Life and Ministry Meeting chairman. Although the Life and Ministry Meeting Workbook specifies the timing for each part, if the material is adequately covered, there is no need to add information simply to use all of the allotted time. If parts go overtime, private counsel should be given by the Life and Ministry Meeting chairman or the auxiliary counselor. (See paragraphs 24 and 25.) The entire meeting, including songs and prayers, should last 1 hour and 45 minutes.
VISIT OF CIRCUIT OVERSEER
20. When the congregation has the visit of the circuit overseer, the program should proceed as described in the Life and Ministry Meeting Workbook with the following exceptions: The Congregation Bible Study portion of the Living as Christians section will be replaced with a 30-minute service talk given by the circuit overseer. Prior to the service talk, the Life and Ministry Meeting chairman will review the program just held, preview the next week’s program, make any necessary announcements, read any necessary letters, and then introduce the circuit overseer. After the service talk, the circuit overseer will conclude the meeting with a song of his choice. He may invite another brother to conclude with prayer. No auxiliary classes in the language of the congregation should be held during the visit of the circuit overseer. A group may hold its meetings even when the circuit overseer is visiting the host congregation. However, the group should rejoin the host congregation for the circuit overseer’s service talk.
WEEK OF AN ASSEMBLY OR A CONVENTION
21. During the week of an assembly or a convention, no congregation meetings are held. The congregation should be reminded that the material scheduled for meetings during such weeks should be considered individually or as a family.
WEEK OF THE MEMORIAL
22. When the Memorial falls on a weekday, no Life and Ministry Meeting will be scheduled.
LIFE AND MINISTRY MEETING OVERSEER
23. An elder selected by the body of elders will serve as the Life and Ministry Meeting overseer. He is responsible for ensuring that this meeting is well organized and handled according to these instructions. He should maintain good communication with the auxiliary counselor. As soon as the Life and Ministry Meeting Workbook becomes available, the Life and Ministry Meeting overseer will assign all the midweek-meeting parts for the two-month period. This includes the nonstudent assignments and the midweek-meeting chairmen from among those approved by the body of elders, as well as the student assignments. (See paragraphs 3-16 and 24.) When making student assignments, he should take into consideration the student’s age, experience, and freeness of speech on the matter being discussed. He should use similar judgment when assigning the other parts of the meeting. Each of the assignments should be distributed at least three weeks prior to the date of the assignment. The Our Christian Life and Ministry Meeting Assignment (S-89) form should be used for the student assignments. The Life and Ministry Meeting overseer should ensure that a copy of the assignment schedule for the entire meeting is posted on the information board. The body of elders may assign another elder or a ministerial servant to assist him. However, only elders should be used to assign nonstudent parts.
LIFE AND MINISTRY MEETING CHAIRMAN
24. Each week, one elder will serve as the chairman for the duration of the Life and Ministry Meeting. (Where the number of elders is limited, qualified ministerial servants may be assigned as needed.) He is responsible for preparing the introductory and concluding comments. He also introduces all the parts, and depending on the size of the body of elders, he may be responsible for handling other parts on the meeting, especially parts that simply call for a video to be shown without additional discussion. Comments between parts should be very brief. The body of elders will determine which elders are qualified to fill this role. The qualified elders are assigned as chairmen periodically. Depending on local circumstances, the Life and Ministry Meeting overseer may be used as chairman more frequently than the other qualified elders. If an elder is qualified to conduct the Congregation Bible Study, likely he is qualified to serve as the meeting chairman. Please keep in mind, however, that the elder who serves as chairman is required to offer loving and helpful commendation and, as needed, counsel to those who have student assignments. The chairman is also responsible for ensuring that the meeting concludes on time. (See paragraphs 17 and 19.) If the chairman wishes and if there is adequate space, a standing microphone may be positioned on the platform so that he can introduce each ensuing part while the brother giving the part is taking his position at the speaker stand. Likewise, the chairman may wish to sit at a table on stage during the student Bible reading assignment and the Apply Yourself to the Field Ministry section of the meeting. This may conserve time.
25. Whenever possible, it is good to use an elder who is an experienced speaker to fill this role. The auxiliary counselor’s responsibility is to give private counsel, if needed, to elders and ministerial servants regarding any speaking assignments they may handle, including parts on the Life and Ministry Meeting, public talks, and conducting or reading at the Watchtower Study or Congregation Bible Study. (See paragraph 19.) If there are a number of elders in the congregation who are capable speakers and teachers, then a different qualified elder may serve as the auxiliary counselor each year. It is not necessary for the auxiliary counselor to offer counsel after each assignment.
26. Depending on the number of students, congregations may hold auxiliary classes for the student assignments. Each auxiliary class should have a qualified counselor, preferably an elder. Where necessary, a well-qualified ministerial servant may be assigned. The body of elders should decide who may serve in this capacity and whether the assignment should rotate. The counselor should follow the procedure described in paragraph 18. If an auxiliary class is held, students should be asked to go to the auxiliary classroom following the Spiritual Gems portion of the Treasures From God’s Word section of the meeting. They should rejoin the rest of the congregation following the last student assignment on the meeting.
27. Selected videos will be used in connection with this meeting. The videos for the midweek meeting will be available via the JW Library® app and accessible using a variety of devices.
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