Jehovah's Witnesses will be experiencing a special treat during their CO (Circuit Overseer) visit this season: a bona-fide pledge drive.
During the Thursday night meeting the normal CO talk will instead be a video entitled:
Building Kingdom Halls Advances True Worship
This 30-minute Advances video is well produced and explains the Watchtower Society's program to build simplified Kingdom Halls in third-world and poor countries were materials and funds are scarce.
Interviews and footage focus on South America, Africa and Eastern Europe. Interesting tidbits include:
- African JW's singing Kingdom Melodies while they work
- Time-lapse video of construction
- Visiting Society building coordinators sharing time in the ministry as well
- African JW's breaking rocks to make brick mortar
- Before and after pictures
- Interviews with local government officials
- East European interview describing freezing conditions in their old hall
- A classic scene where chickens come running out of an old open-air hall
Interspersed through the video is references to financial contributions. A scene is dedicated to the process of Society approval, showing how the congregation must pass a resolution to contribute a fixed sum to the project every month. While Advances viewers shrink in shame, the camera focuses on black hands stuffing a rustic contribution box.
Advances continues to tout the incredible progress the Society program has made. A computer graphic of the rotating planet highlights the countries involved with thousands of points indicating completed kingdom halls. Of course this was made possible only by the donations from wealthier JWs, as Advances continually reminds the viewer.
All pretense is lost when the video stops to display 2 Corinthians 8:14:
But that by means of an equalizing YOUR surplus just now might offset their deficiency, in order that their surplus might also come to offset YOUR deficiency, that an equalizing might take place.
The rest of Advances is a montage of thank-yous from around the world. While educational and moving at times, Advances is a transparent wallet-miner that will undoubtebly send millions of dollars into Societies coffers. UNICEF and Sally Struthers take notice: there's a new begging bowl on the block.
No word yet on a general release of this video.