A School Whose Graduates Benefit People Worldwide
IN OVER 98,000 congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses in more than 200 lands, people from all walks of life are being taught by God. The main textbook is the Bible, and the objective of this education is to help individuals advance spiritually by learning what God’s will is and how to live in accord with it. Those who accept this education are greatly benefited. What they learn, they also share with others, in harmony with Jesus Christ’s instruction to make disciples.—Matthew 28:19, 20.
In addition to the ongoing teaching program in their congregations, Jehovah’s Witnesses have established a number of specialized schools. One of these is the Ministerial Training School. It was inaugurated in October 1987 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. The first class was composed of 24 English-speaking students. Courses have since been held in 21 languages in 43 lands. So far, single elders and ministerial servants from more than 90 countries have been enrolled. Upon completion of the eight-week course, graduates are assigned to serve where there is a need, either in their own country or abroad. By the end of 2005, over 22,000 Christian ministers had completed the course. Their humble efforts to promote Kingdom interests and benefit others have been richly blessed.—Proverbs 10:22; 1 Peter 5:5.
Arranging to Attend
In order to attend the Ministerial Training School, most students have to request time off from their part-time or full-time secular work. This sometimes presents a challenge. In Hawaii, two Christian men who were invited to attend the school had to ask for time away from their work as schoolteachers. In faith, they submitted their requests, explaining why they wanted to attend and how they would benefit. Both were granted time off.
In a number of cases, Witnesses who asked for time away from work were told that they would have no employment upon their return. They chose to receive training from Jehovah’s organization, even though it meant losing their jobs. Some of these individuals later received invitations from their employers to return to work upon completion of the school. Such determination to attend the school might be summed up in this way: Submit your request, pray for Jehovah’s help, and let him do the rest.—Psalm 37:5.
“Taught by Jehovah”
The school’s eight-week course features an in-depth study of the Bible. Students learn how Jehovah’s people are organized to do God’s will and how they can personally use the Bible more effectively in their field ministry, at congregation meetings, and at assemblies.
One appreciative graduate wrote this to a student who had not yet attended: “Believe me, you are in for the best educational experience you’ve ever had. The scripture that mentions being ‘taught by Jehovah’ really takes on added meaning. The whole experience is a molding, shaping, and refining of the heart and personality to conform more closely to the example of Christ Jesus. You are in for the greatest experience of your life.”—Isaiah 54:13.
Evangelizers, Shepherds, and Teachers
Ministerial Training School graduates presently serve in 117 lands. These include islands in the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Pacific areas as well as most of the countries where there are branch offices of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Branches report that the fine training received by the students is reflected in their evangelizing, shepherding, and teaching activities. Their training equips them to make better use of the Bible in the field ministry. (2 Timothy 2:15) When answering householders’ questions, they also make frequent reference to the book Reasoning From the Scriptures * and train other Kingdom publishers to do the same. The zeal of the graduates is contagious, and their activities strengthen congregations.
Congregation elders are privileged to “shepherd the flock,” helping to care for the spiritual needs of others. (1 Peter 5:2, 3) One elder said regarding the arrangement: “We appreciate that the branch office sends out well-trained brothers to help us carry the load of shepherding the flock of God.” A branch in the Far East similarly observed: “The graduates are very compassionate. They work hard and earn the respect of the congregation. Their humility, warmth, and eagerness are well-known and highly appreciated. They willingly sacrifice themselves and gladly move to congregations that need shepherds.” (Philippians 2:4) Such men refresh their fellow believers and deserve commendation.—1 Corinthians 16:18.
Among other things, Ministerial Training School instructors help students to improve their skills as public speakers. By applying suggestions and counsel that they receive, many of the graduates can soon be used on circuit assembly and district convention programs. One circuit overseer observed that the graduates give “excellent talks and apply the material by using good reasoning.”—1 Timothy 4:13.
The quality of teaching at congregation meetings greatly improved in an African country after the Ministerial Training School was conducted there and graduates were assigned to the field. Elders sent out from the school render assistance in evangelizing, shepherding, and teaching, thereby building up the congregations spiritually.—Ephesians 4:8, 11, 12.
Improved Congregation Oversight
In numerous places, there is a need for more elders and ministerial servants. Some congregations would have no elders at all if a Ministerial Training School graduate had not been sent to them. Many graduates are therefore assigned to serve where such needs exist.
A number of branches report that these men “know organizational arrangements well,” “take their responsibilities seriously,” “help others to appreciate and respect Jehovah’s organization,” and “contribute to the warmth and spirituality of their congregations.” This is because the graduates of the school follow what is written in God’s Word and do not rely upon their own understanding or become wise in their own eyes. (Proverbs 3:5-7) Such men become spiritual blessings in the congregations to which they are assigned.
Serving in Isolated Territories
Some graduates appointed as special pioneers assist isolated groups to become congregations. Expressing appreciation for their help, an elder in a remote area of Guatemala said: “For 20 years I worried about how this huge territory would be cared for. I often prayed about the matter. The brothers from the Ministerial Training School are well-trained in speaking as well as in organizational matters, and I am grateful to see that the area is now receiving loving attention.”
Graduates have learned to be effective in territories where they must travel long distances over mountainous terrain to reach scattered hamlets. There they quickly establish and organize isolated groups, even when others have been unable to do so. For instance, an elder in Niger requested the help of graduates because he felt that they could do excellent work in the area where he lived. Especially in remote areas, it may be easier for unmarried men to serve as special pioneers and circuit overseers. Like the apostle Paul, they must deal with ‘dangers from rivers and highwaymen, dangers in the wilderness,’ and personal discomforts as well as anxiety for the congregations they serve.—2 Corinthians 11:26-28.
The Scriptures urge young people to remember their Creator. (Ecclesiastes 12:1) Zealous Ministerial Training School graduates are fine examples for Christian youths. After two graduates arrived at one congregation in the United States, the total amount of time that the brothers spent in the ministry doubled. Moreover, the number of regular pioneers, or full-time Kingdom proclaimers, increased from 2 to 11. This is typical of what has happened in many congregations.
Graduates also encourage younger men to consider attending the Ministerial Training School. This has motivated some who are not yet serving as ministerial servants to reach out for that privilege. The Netherlands branch calls Ministerial Training School graduates “living examples for younger men who are contemplating what to do with their lives.”
Serving in Foreign-Language Congregations
In many lands, efforts to preach the good news to people in their native tongue are gaining momentum. Ministerial Training School graduates often learn other languages and serve in territories where there are large immigrant populations. In Belgium, for example, there is a need for more Kingdom preachers in the Albanian, Persian, and Russian fields.
Foreign-language congregations and groups in Britain, Germany, Italy, Mexico, the United States, and other lands already benefit greatly from traveling overseers, elders, and ministerial servants who are Ministerial Training School graduates. The branch in Korea reports that “more than 200 graduates are playing a prominent role in helping foreign-language congregations and groups.”
Serving Humbly in Other Capacities
In addition to serving with foreign-language groups and congregations, those who have graduated from the Ministerial Training School serve as elders, ministerial servants, and traveling overseers. Some take up assignments in other lands, perhaps filling urgent needs in the Service Department at a branch. Those who have acquired construction skills may share in the Kingdom Hall building program.
The worldwide increase in the number of congregations and circuits means that more traveling overseers are constantly required. To help fill this need, selected graduates of the Ministerial Training School receive ten weeks of training in the traveling work and then serve as substitute or regular circuit overseers. About 1,300 graduates presently serve as traveling overseers in 97 countries. In one African land, 55 percent of the traveling overseers have graduated from the Ministerial Training School. In another African country, the figure is 70 percent.
In Australia, Canada, Europe, the Far East, and the United States, hundreds of graduates of the school have been sent out to fill specific needs in other lands. In this way, benefits from the school have extended worldwide.
Through his Son, Jesus Christ, Jehovah has raised up evangelizers, shepherds, teachers, and others who promote Kingdom interests in these last days. Are there prospects for yet further increase in the ranks of God’s people? Definitely! So there is an ever-increasing need for dedicated men to reach out for greater responsibility. (Isaiah 60:22; 1 Timothy 3:1, 13) The Ministerial Training School affords elders and ministerial servants an opportunity to become equipped to widen out in their ministry, with great benefit to themselves and others in the worldwide field.
^ par. 11 Published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
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The Ministerial Training School is promoting Kingdom interests worldwide
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Do you hope to enroll in the Ministerial Training School and benefit others?