Is the number of elders/servants increasing or decreasing?
Over the last few years, I have noticed an increase in the number of pleas from the platform for brothers to "reach out" for "privileges of service." It has even been said that there are not enough elders and servants in the congregations. This could be a local phenomenon, but I suspect it is more widespread.
Does anyone on this board know the total number of elders and ministerial servants in the organization (or in their country)? If so, do you know whether this is more or less than in years past? Any information would be enlightening.
Did read on JWN a while ago that its thought that there are a third less Elders than there was 10-20 years ago?
From my experience the number of elders appointed depends on need rather than desire to "reach out.".
In 1972 the congregation I belonged two initially appointed 12 elders. Today, some 27 years later ... although the faces are different, I understand that the the number is still 12.
I believe it is a sliding scale. When men are desperately needed to run the show, their qualifications are not looked upon as critically and they get the job. Conversely, when there is a sufficient number of leaders already in place ... minor flaws are magnified and it is much tougher for "wannabes"to qualify for the appointment. I think you will find this to be common.
Well, I don't have any official numbers or anything. I can only go by what I've witnessed personally. And I've only been to five meetings in the last five years....all Memorials.
But I did notice at this year's memorial, the elders were all my generation and older. No one under 45. I don't know about MSs. It's hard to tell on Memorial. There were the same old usual suspects directing traffic and counting heads and keeping the back rows empty for parents. It's amazing how many MSs that never make elder. Some of them are in their late 50s, still an MS but never made elder. There might have been a couple of young gun MSs, but they were 'born-ins' that I've seen grow up.
A few years ago, the elder bodies were told that the attrition rate for elders was 25% a year. In the congregations around here few young male jws become MS so there are few MS and less likelihood that there will be any future elders. Interestingly, many congregations have more ex-elders than elders.
I know that the cong. I walked away from lost me, another 2 elders went back to their English congs. and left the foreign lang. cong.
The cong. split so that each half had enough elders. Only one new elder moved in, as far as I knew. No MS's were appointed elders yet.
That's a loss of 3 and a gain of 1. And the strain is on after the split because they were counting on all three of us before they planned this.
But I think that a couple of MS's might be close. Still, I knew of nobody behind them to step into positions of responsibility. There are plenty of brothers that don't want the job, though.
I heard from family who are still "in" that fewer younger men are even reaching out for MS positions which is often a "testing" position for elderdom. This could be a local phenomenon, but the publisher figures in New Zealand have been declining for a number of years, although I think last year saw a slight increase in peak publishers.
I think a better indication of the state of JW elderdom is the frequency and intensity of platform-talks about the need to reach out for these positions.
When I stepped down their was only one other MS and he was demoted to a job he took that required him to be out of town too much. They had 8 elders but two moved away and another stepped down. I don't know what they have there now.
There is always a need for elders and ministerial servants. At the District Convention and during the visit of the Circuit Overseer they stress over-and-over that brothers need to "reach out" for more responsibilities. They discourage that mindset when it comes to secular employment, but when it comes to the Organization you are viewed as spiritually weak if you do not get appointed as an elder or ministerial servant. The WTBS constantly pushed brothers to take on more responsibilities - volunteer for work at the District Convention, help with the Regional Building Work, or assist with the Hospital Liaison Committee.
It is true that appointments of elders and ms's all depends on how the elders of a particular congregation views a brother. Some are appointed simply because they are well liked - and when the announcement is made that brother So-in-So is now an MS or and elder most are wondering how that happened. Some elder bodies are overly strict of whom they recommend a brother to be an elder - a brother has to be super-super-super "spiritual" and be way old enough in age to be viewed as a "proper" elder.
Most elders that are deleted from their position is due to their family. Most of the deletions result from children getting into trouble - getting involved with immorality, drugs, or wanting to not be a JW anymore. Others are being deleted due to their wives - some wives become spiritually weak - not attending meetings regularly, not reporting any field service for an entire month, and in extreme cases getting involved in immoral conduct with someone in the congregation or with a non-witness at work. If an elder can't take care of his family - how could he handle a congregation.
I concur with the statement about some congregations having more ex-elders than elders. In one hall I attended, we had almost twice as many ex-elders as compared to currently-serving elders. I've seen a similar phenomenon with Ministerial Servants, too.