Train Others to Reach Out
“Everyone that is perfectly instructed will be like his teacher.”—LUKE 6:40.
1. What did Jesus do during his ministry to train preachers who would become a large congregation?
AT THE end of his account about Jesus’ life, the apostle John wrote: “There are, in fact, many other things also which Jesus did, which, if ever they were written in full detail, I suppose, the world itself could not contain the scrolls written.” (John 21:25) Jesus worked hard in the ministry during the short time he was on earth. During that time, he needed to find men whom he could train to continue his work after he returned to heaven. In the year 33, he had trained just a small group, but it quickly grew to become a congregation of thousands of preachers.—Acts 2:41, 42; 4:4; 6:7.
2, 3. (a) Why is there a need for brothers to serve in the congregations? (b) What will we study about in this article?
2 Today, there are more than seven million people who are preaching the good news in over 100,000 congregations around the world. There is a need for brothers to take the lead in those congregations. For example, there is a great need for elders. Brothers who are “reaching out,” or trying to do more to serve others in the congregation, are “desirous of a fine work.”—1 Timothy 3:1.
3 There are things that a brother needs to do before he can qualify to have responsibilities in the congregation. Education, experience, and abilities are not what prepare a man for this work. His life must be in agreement with what the Bible requires for brothers who serve in the congregation. How can we help brothers to progress in the truth and to qualify for responsibilities? “Everyone that is perfectly instructed will be like his teacher,” said Jesus. (Luke 6:40) In this article, we will talk about some ways that Jesus trained his disciples and what we can learn from this training.
“I HAVE CALLED YOU FRIENDS”
4. How was Jesus a good friend to his disciples?
4 Jesus did not think that he was better than his disciples. They were his friends. He wanted to be with them, and he trusted them. He said to them: “All the things I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” (Read John 15:15.) Think of how happy the disciples must have been when he answered their question: “What will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things?” (Matthew 24:3, 4) He also wanted them to know what he was thinking and feeling. For example, on the night when he was arrested, Jesus took Peter, James, and John into the garden of Gethsemane. He needed to pray at that difficult time. The three apostles may not have heard what he said in his prayer, but they knew that he was suffering very much. (Mark 14:33-38) Another time, he strengthened them when “he was transfigured before them.” (Mark 9:2-8; 2 Peter 1:16-18) The strong friendship between Jesus and his disciples gave them the strength they needed to continue the important work they had to do.
5. How do elders help others?
5 Like Jesus, elders today help their brothers and sisters and want to be their friends. They love them and show them that they are sincerely interested in them. Sometimes there are situations that the elders cannot talk about. But they do talk to their brothers about the things they have learned from God’s Word. Elders trust their brothers. They never think that they are more important than a ministerial servant who is younger than they are. Elders understand that even young ministerial servants have progressed in the truth and can keep progressing. They know that these young men love Jehovah and are serving with them to care for the congregation.
“I SET THE PATTERN FOR YOU”
6, 7. How was Jesus a good example for his disciples? How did his example help them?
6 Even though Jesus’ disciples loved God’s Word, at times their thinking was affected by the way they grew up and used to live. (Matthew 19:9, 10; Luke 9:46-48; John 4:27) But Jesus never criticized them or got angry with them. He did not ask them to do anything that was too difficult for them. And he never asked them to do something that he himself would not do. Jesus taught his disciples by his good example.—Read John 13:15.
7 How was Jesus an example for his disciples? (1 Peter 2:21) He lived a simple life so that he could use his time to serve others. (Luke 9:58) Jesus taught others what he had learned from Jehovah and did not teach his own ideas. (John 5:19; 17:14, 17) He was kind, and it was easy for people to talk to him. His actions showed that he loved others. (Matthew 19:13-15; John 15:12) Jesus’ good example helped his apostles. It helped James to be courageous and to serve God until James himself was executed. (Acts 12:1, 2) And John was faithful for more than 60 years.—Revelation 1:1, 2, 9.
8. How can elders be a good example for younger men and others?
8 Elders can be a good example for younger men by being humble, by showing love, and by using their time and energy to help others. (1 Peter 5:2, 3) Also, elders are happy to be a good example so that the brothers can imitate their strong faith, the way they teach, the way they live as Christians, and how they preach.—Hebrews 13:7.
JESUS GAVE HIS DISCIPLES ORDERS AND SENT THEM OUT TO PREACH
9. How do we know that Jesus trained his disciples for the preaching work?
9 After Jesus had preached for two years, he also sent his 12 apostles out to preach. But first he gave them instructions. (Matthew 10:5-14) Another time, before Jesus fed thousands of people with only a little bit of food, he gave instructions to his disciples. He told them how to organize the people so that everyone could have food. (Luke 9:12-17) Jesus trained his disciples by telling them exactly what they should do and how they should do it. Because of the training that Jesus gave them and the help they received from the holy spirit, the apostles organized a great preaching work that began in the year 33.
10, 11. How can elders and others train men to serve in the congregation?
10 Today, we start teaching a man when we study the Bible with him. We may need to help him to learn to read well. As we continue to study with him, we also help him in other ways. When he starts to attend meetings, he will learn what he needs to do to participate in the Theocratic Ministry School and become an unbaptized publisher. After he is baptized, the brothers will give him other training. For example, they can train him to repair the Kingdom Hall. Also, the elders can help him to understand what he needs to do to be a ministerial servant.
11 When the elders give a baptized brother a responsibility in the congregation, they want to help him do it well. They explain the way that the brothers do this work in the congregations and show him clearly what he needs to do. If the work is sometimes hard for him, the elders do not immediately decide that he is not able to do it. But they kindly explain again what he needs to do and how to do it. The elders enjoy helping a brother care for his responsibilities because they know that serving others in the congregation will bring him happiness.—Acts 20:35.
“THE ONE LISTENING TO COUNSEL IS WISE”
12. Why was Jesus’ counsel helpful?
12 Another way Jesus trained his disciples was by giving them the counsel they needed at the right time. For example, when James and John wanted fire to come down from heaven to destroy some Samaritans, Jesus told them that they were wrong to want that to happen. (Luke 9:52-55) Another time, the mother of James and John asked Jesus if they could have important positions in his Kingdom. But Jesus knew that it was James and John themselves who wanted these positions, so he said to them: “This sitting down at my right hand and at my left is not mine to give, but it belongs to those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” (Matthew 20:20-23) Jesus always gave counsel that was clear and that would help people know how to act in different situations. It was always based on God’s Word. He wanted his disciples to learn to think and act in agreement with God’s Word. (Matthew 17:24-27) Jesus knew that his disciples were not perfect and that there were some things that they could not do. He gave them counsel because he loved them very much.—John 13:1.
13, 14. (a) Who needs counsel? (b) What are some examples of counsel that elders may give a brother?
13 Every brother who wants to serve others in the congregation will need counsel from the Bible at some time in his life. Proverbs 12:15 says: “The one listening to counsel is wise.” One young brother said that he used to feel that he was not good enough to serve. He said that an elder helped him to understand that he did not need to be perfect to serve.
14 If the elders notice that a brother’s conduct is preventing him from progressing, they will immediately try to help him “in a spirit of mildness.” They want him to be able to serve others in the congregation. (Galatians 6:1) At other times, elders need to give counsel to help someone adjust his attitude. For example, maybe the elders notice that a brother sometimes seems to do less than he could. They can encourage him to think about Jesus’ example. Jesus worked hard in the preaching work and told his disciples to follow his example. (Matthew 28:19, 20; Luke 8:1) Maybe a brother wants to be more important than others. The elders could explain that Jesus taught his disciples that they should not desire to be the greatest. (Luke 22:24-27) Or maybe it is difficult for a brother to forgive others. The elders could help him by using the illustration of the slave who did not want to forgive others even though others had forgiven him much. (Matthew 18:21-35) When the elders need to give counsel, they should give it as soon as possible.—Read Proverbs 27:9.
“BE TRAINING YOURSELF”
15. How can a brother’s family help him to serve others?
15 The elders make efforts to train brothers to serve in the congregation. But others can also help. For example, a brother’s own family can help him to serve. And if a brother is already an elder, his wife and children can support him as he works hard in the congregation. They understand that he must use some of his time and energy for others. It makes him happy when his family is willing to make sacrifices so that he can care well for his responsibilities. We are thankful for the sacrifices that the families of elders make.—Proverbs 15:20; 31:10, 23.
16. (a) Who needs to show that he has the desire to serve others? (b) What does a brother need to do if he desires to serve as a ministerial servant or an elder?
16 Even though others can help him, it is the brother who needs to show that he has a desire to serve others. (Read Galatians 6:5.) It is true that a brother does not need to be a ministerial servant or an elder to help others and to do his best in the preaching work. But if a brother desires to serve as a ministerial servant or an elder, he must first work hard to qualify. The Bible describes what kind of man he should try to be. (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-3) So if a brother desires to serve as a ministerial servant or an elder but is not serving as one yet, he should think about some things that he can do to qualify. What can help him? He needs to read and study the Bible regularly, meditate, and pray. And he needs to do his best in the preaching work. If he does these things, he will be following the counsel Paul gave to Timothy: “Be training yourself with godly devotion as your aim.”—1 Timothy 4:7.
17, 18. What can a brother do if he feels that he is not good enough or if he does not have the desire to serve?
17 But what if a brother feels that he is not good enough to be a ministerial servant or an elder? It is good for him to remember how much Jehovah and Jesus help us. Jehovah promises that he will carry the load for us. (Psalm 68:19) So Jehovah will help a brother to accept responsibilities in the congregation. If a brother is not a ministerial servant or an elder, it would be good for him to remember that there is a great need for brothers who can care for the congregations. It is also good for him to pray for Jehovah’s holy spirit because this will help him to have peace and self-control. It can help him to stop feeling that he is not good enough. (Luke 11:13; Galatians 5:22, 23) We can be sure that Jehovah will bless brothers who want to serve others unselfishly.
18 Maybe a brother does not have the desire to serve. What can help him? The apostle Paul wrote: “God is the one that, for the sake of his good pleasure, is acting within you in order for you both to will and to act.” (Philippians 2:13) It is God who helps a person to have the desire and the strength to serve others and to do His will. (Philippians 4:13) And a Christian can pray to God for his help to do what is right.—Psalm 25:4, 5.
19. What does it mean that Jehovah will raise up “seven shepherds, yes, eight dukes”?
19 Jehovah will bless the efforts of elders who train others. He also blesses brothers who have the desire to serve others in the congregation. The Bible shows that we can be sure that God’s people will have enough brothers to care for the congregations. It says that Jehovah will raise up “seven shepherds, yes, eight dukes of mankind.” (Micah 5:5) Today, there are many humble brothers who have the desire to serve others and who are being trained to care for the congregations. This brings praise to Jehovah and many blessings to us.
SOME WORDS EXPLAINED
▪ Serve God: Worship Jehovah and do his will
▪ Serve others: Work in the congregation and in field service as a ministerial servant or an elder
▪ Reach out: Make an effort to serve others and to meet Scriptural qualifications
WHAT ARE YOUR ANSWERS?
▪ What are some ways that Jesus trained his disciples?
▪ How can elders imitate Jesus as they help brothers to serve others in the congregation?
▪ How can a brother’s family help him to serve others in the congregation?
▪ What does a brother need to do to show that he desires to serve in the congregation?
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There is a great need for brothers who can care for the congregations
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The Bible describes what kind of man a brother should be if he desires to serve others in the congregation
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God can help a brother to have the desire and strength to serve others
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Jehovah blesses brothers who want to serve others unselfishly
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What training can you provide your Bible student as he seeks to make progress?
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How can men show that they are reaching out?