PREACHING the good news is the most important work being done on earth today. It is an honor to represent Jehovah in this teaching work. However, at times it can be challenging for pioneers and publishers to maintain their zeal for the ministry. Why?
Some publishers find that they have very few conversations when they preach from house to house because many people are not at home. And when people are at home, they may not be interested in the Kingdom message and may even get angry with us. Other publishers have a very large and productive territory but fear that they will never be able to preach to everyone in it. Still others have been preaching for many years and have become discouraged because the end has not yet come.
There will be challenges in our ministry that can affect our zeal. We live in a world that is controlled by “the wicked one,” Satan the Devil, so we expect that it will be difficult for us to preach the good news.
No matter what challenges you personally experience in your ministry, you can be sure that Jehovah will help you to overcome them. But what can you do to increase your zeal for the ministry? Let us discuss some suggestions.
HELP NEW PUBLISHERS
Every year, thousands are baptized as Jehovah’s Witnesses. If you are newly baptized, you can learn a lot from those who have been preaching for many years. And if you have been a publisher for many years, can you help train newer ones? Doing so can be very satisfying.
Jesus knew that his disciples needed direction to become effective teachers, and he showed them how to preach. (Luke 8:1) Today, new ones need similar training to become effective ministers.
We should not think that just because a new publisher goes out in the ministry, he is actually learning how to teach. He needs personal instruction from a kind and loving trainer. The experienced publisher needs to teach him how to (1) prepare and practice what to say to a householder, (2) have a conversation with people, (3) offer literature, (4) return to visit those who are interested, and (5) start a Bible study. A new publisher can become an effective minister if he observes and imitates how the experienced publisher teaches. (Luke 6:40) And the new publisher will feel more confident knowing that someone is ready to help when needed. Giving commendation and offering suggestions can also help the new publisher.
TALK WITH YOUR PARTNER IN THE MINISTRY
Despite all your efforts to talk with householders, on some days the best conversation you will have while preaching is with your partner. Remember that Jesus sent his disciples to preach “by twos.” (Luke 10:1) As they worked together, they could encourage and motivate each other. We have a good opportunity for “an interchange of encouragement” when we work with our brothers and sisters in the ministry.
What are some things you might talk about? Has either of you recently had an encouraging experience? Have you learned an interesting point in your personal or family study? Were you encouraged by something you heard at a meeting? Sometimes you may work with a publisher whom you do not know well. Maybe you can ask him how he came into the truth. What convinced him that this is Jehovah’s organization? What privileges or experiences has he had? Perhaps you can share some of your own experiences. Whatever the response from the territory is, when you work with someone in the ministry, you have a good opportunity to keep “building one another up.”
IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF YOUR PERSONAL STUDY
To maintain our zeal for the ministry, we need to improve the quality of our personal study. “The faithful and discreet slave” publishes information on many different subjects that we can study. (Matthew 24:45) Let us discuss one example of a good subject for personal study: Why is the preaching work so important? The box “Why Maintain Your Zeal for the Ministry?” provides some of the reasons.
Examining the points listed in the box can motivate you to continue preaching with zeal. As a study project, try to list other Scriptural reasons to preach with zeal. Then meditate on these reasons. When you do this, your zeal for the ministry will be stronger.
BE WILLING TO TRY SOMETHING NEW
Jehovah’s organization regularly suggests ways to help us improve our ministry. For example, in addition to our house-to-house work, we could also try letter writing, telephone witnessing, preaching on the street or in other public places, and witnessing to people informally or when they are at their place of work. Perhaps we could also make plans to preach in areas where there are few or no Witnesses.
Are you willing to try something new? Many who have tried these suggestions have been successful. Consider three examples.
A sister named April decided to try a suggestion from one of the Kingdom Ministry articles on how to start Bible studies. She offered a study to three people she works with. April was surprised and excited when all three agreed to study and also began to attend congregation meetings.
We have also been encouraged to look for people who may be interested in specific articles in our magazines. A circuit overseer in the United States decided to offer an Awake! article on tires to the managers of all the tire stores in a certain area. He and his wife also offered a series on “Understanding Your Doctor” to over 100 doctor’s offices. He says that these visits have helped people become familiar with our preaching work and our literature. After getting to know people in the territory better, the circuit overseer and his wife have been able to make more return visits.
A sister named Judy wrote to world headquarters because she was grateful for the encouragement to do telephone witnessing. She said that her mother, who was 86 years old and had many health problems, regularly preached to people over the telephone. As a result, she began conducting a Bible study with a woman who was 92 years old!
The suggestions made in our publications really work. Try them! They can help you to maintain your joy and your zeal for the ministry.
SET REASONABLE GOALS
What makes us successful in our preaching work? It is not how many publications we place, how many Bible studies we conduct, or how many people we help to become Jehovah’s Witnesses. Think of Noah. How many people besides his family did Noah help to become Jehovah’s worshippers? Yet, he was certainly a successful preacher. What is important is that we serve Jehovah faithfully.
Many publishers realize that in order to feel excited about the preaching work, they need to set reasonable goals. What are some of these goals? A few ideas are listed in the box “Set Reasonable Goals.”
Ask Jehovah to help you make your ministry rewarding and meaningful. When you reach your goals, you will feel satisfied knowing that you are doing all you can to preach the good news.
It is true that preaching the good news can be a challenge. But there are things you can do to be zealous in your ministry. Have encouraging conversations with your preaching partner, make your personal study regular and meaningful, try the suggestions of the faithful and discreet slave, and set reasonable goals. Most important of all, remember that Jehovah God has given you the honor of preaching the good news as one of his Witnesses. (Isaiah 43:10) Yes, you will experience great joy as you continue to maintain your zeal for the ministry!