Is the number of elders/servants increasing or decreasing?

by Olin Moyles Ghost 18 Replies latest jw friends

  • Olin Moyles Ghost
    Olin Moyles Ghost

    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.

  • Gordy

    Did read on JWN a while ago that its thought that there are a third less Elders than there was 10-20 years ago?

  • The Berean
    The Berean

    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.

  • undercover

    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.

  • blondie

    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.

  • OnTheWayOut

    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.

  • steve2

    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.

  • Quirky1

    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.

  • Lost-In-Translation

    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.

  • Olin Moyles Ghost
    Olin Moyles Ghost

    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.

  • gubberningbody

    I can't think of any reason why a rational, intelligent male below the age of 40 who isn't trying to beard himself as a normal heterosexual male would "reach out". It strikes me that effeminate men are becoming the rule. Sissies all I tell ya!

  • SnakesInTheTower

    The last congo I was an elder in, we lost one elder (the PO) when he went back to his old cono, tired of dealing with this bunch. I ran into him recently...he just stepped aside as an elder...his step son was DF...BOE was desperate to keep him on as an elder and didnt want to accept his resignation.

    Two other elders in there late 40s/early 50s both resigned. The older of the two I think is active but no longer will reach out, the younger I heard recently that he and his wife no longer attend anywhere. Don't know their status...far as I know he could be lurking here.

    I was deleted in Dec 2006...well, y'all know where this one is at now.."apostate".....LOL

    One elderly elder recently died. He followed whatever the next two said, but occasionally surprised us as an independent.

    The elder that replaced that elder as PO was/is in his early to mid 30s. Completely unqualified. Still there.

    His daddy, a former PO, in his late 50s/early 60s, also unqualified for many reasons...controls BOE through his son.......jack ass.

    The service overseer, mid 50s, likes to look at porn and hug young girls inappropriately. Got caught looking at porn, yet still serves as an elder.

    Two other elderly elders were transferred in from a congo that was dissolved. As useful as toothless chihuahuas.

    So of the 10 elders that were there when I was there, 1 died, 1 deleted (and is apostate ), 1 moved away (and recently stepped aside), 2 stepped aside (1 is inactive)...2 are toothless title holders.....leaving all of three "working" elders. Wonder how that's working out for them.

    As for up and coming MS.... forget about it...when I was there we had 4 .... 1 younger one has since moved away.... 1 is elderly and barely hanging on....2 others (mid 30s and mid 40s) neither want to be elders.... I heard recently they had one reappointment...probably their only hope of another elder...and not a good one at that.

    That just gives me the warm fuzzies thinking about it.

    Snakes ()

  • oompa

    Way to reach out and step up Olin, I heard you make Mini-Serve and made your fold proud. Bought time!...........oomps

    btw......i think this numbers thing is all over the place.....varies a lot from hall to hall.......when one hall is "weak" they truck in the heavyweight elders......

  • Mattieu

    My ex-cong has more ex elders and ms’s than current serving ones as well. The Australian KM has an article this month on “reaching out”.

    I will never forget when we once had an elder give a local needs talk on “reaching out”. He had all the brothers over 18 put their hand up, then he said if you are an elder or an ms – put your hand down. He then said to all those with their hand still raised “this talk is for you, why are you not serving as an ms or elder?”

    I felt like yelling out “because you are holding a grudge against me d*&^head.....”

    A trend I have noticed here in Melbourne is that brothers are being appointed at a very young age (early to mid 20’s) whereas the norm was mostly mid 30’s.


  • WTWizard

    Well, look at the cost and benefits of being a hounder. The benefits are the power and status. The cost is having all that extra work and worry, having a higher "stumbling others" standard, facing the hounder-hounder frequently when things go wrong, having to be at all the boasting sessions and even run them at times, all the getting woke up at three in the morning for a "sheep" having trouble, and the general headaches. Plus, there is no extra measure of "salvation" when Armageddon gets here--the hounders can die just as dead if they fxxx up, stumble anyone, or otherwise fall short, as the regular witless can.

  • wobble

    I think they are struggling to get enough,but I don't have proof.

    Our friend The Berean has a point,in my old Congo for years we had 10 or 11 Elders and 5 or 6 MS. The Congo. size grew,mainly by people moving in as we had a reputation for being liberal and having a great social scene,so eventually they decided to divide,as Pubs got up to 170 or so.

    On the CO visit before the split 14 new appointments were made,2 E's and the rest MS. All announced on the same night! Many of these were relatively new in,or had been rejected for years as unsuitable,but the CO pushed them through.

    I think both Congos are now down on Pub. levels and Meeting attendance is bad.



  • metatron

    One strong factor that no one is discussing is the quality of elders and ministerial servants. They're getting exactly 'what they pay for' - a bunch of burnt out, tired leaders who eagerly shirk responsibility.

    I cannot articulate fully how these men avoided work, exertion and responsibility in my body. The 'new guy' was always dumped on with running the School and anything else that other elders didn't want. The Watchtower organization is loaded with men who want to remain elders but don't want to do much of anything. I have to laugh when I look back at ARGUMENTS within the Body at who got stuck with being Secretary or who got stuck with being Account Servant ( and getting home late after meetings). Amazing how 'privileges' got transformed into burdens to be forced on whoever couldn't escape.....

    And the Circuit Overseers - who treat you like sh*t? Who get golf games and the best restaurants from Brother RichElder?

    Elders? I say fewer of them and fewer good men who care about the publishers.


  • 1914BS

    There has been a shortage of MS for over 25 years. Every MS that I ever met was a real goof

  • oompa

    lol...that was supposed to be Olin made his FOLKS proud!.........oompa

Share with others