After reading some posts on this forum it seems I've realized that I don't fully understand what field service is. It seems that field service is the following (and please correct me):
- Something JW's have to do for a specific number of hours per month
Field service is something that Jehovah's Witnesses would want to do as often as opportunities to do so arise during the day, week or month, since we have been given the privilege of sharing with others the good news of how they might bless themselves by following Jesus' example as we engage in what is essentially the same "search and rescue" mission that he began some 2,000 years ago in sharing the good news of what is on the horizon that will dramatically change all of the governments of the world, and to point out to those with whom we speak the only way in which they and their family might escape Jehovah's day, the calamity about which we have learned from our study of the Bible that will ensnare all of earth's inhabitants that have not taken appropriate steps to protect themselves from what's coming upon all persons "dwelling upon the face of all the earth." (Luke 21:34, 35) What I describe in this paragraph is a relatively brief description of what field service consists.
- Can be any of the following: handing out pamphlets / flyers, phoning, writing, debating, inviting to bible study
Debating, no, but many Jehovah's Witnesses do distribute pamphlets, booklets and magazines, some might design flyers, make phone calls, and some will write cards and letters addressed to folks living in their communities. We do not seek folks out with whom we might posit arguments to score points in debating these with them, but our endeavor is to provide relief and comfort to those poor in spirit, and to release those held captive to the false religious systems of worship, to religious traditions that have so dominated mankind in falsehoods that many unknowingly walk about blindly in religious dungeons of ignorance.
Our endeavor is to provide a release to those held captive and to provide a healing to those struck with spiritual blindness so that they are able to see the truths that the Bible teaches, and to make it clear to them that God's "year of goodwill," which began almost 100 years ago back in 1914 will be immediately followed by His "day of vengeance," just as it did when God's "year of goodwill," which had begun in 29 AD when Jesus commenced his ministry, ended some 41 years later when God's "day of vengeance" brought the Jewish system of worship with the attendant sacrifices that had been offered by the Jews at their temple in Jerusalem came to an end in 70 AD. (Luke 4:18,19; Isaiah 61:1, 2)
Now while many people have read in the Bible or have heard these words from the Bible, they have read and heard them without their having any understanding of what the significance of these words meant then or what they mean now, so we search out those deserving to hear the message of the Kingdom of God that will bring to them the same peaceful relations with God through the Lord Jesus Christ that we ourselves enjoy as His servants. (Matthew 10:11-13)
So, a couple of questions:
Does this mean that JW's don't actually have to go door to door, and could theoretically write a mass spam emailing program which they run for a specific number of hours per month.
At Matthew 10:11, Jesus instructed: "Into whatever city or village you enter, search out who in it is deserving." Obviously, the internet didn't exist the, so the ability to spam folks with email wasn't available to Jesus' disciples back in the first century AD either, but their entering a "city or village" to search out who in the city or village was deserving clearly required visiting people at their homes, which is the primary approach that Jehovah's Witnesses take in searching out deserving ones, just as the apostle Paul points out at Acts 20:20 that in addition to engaging in publicly teaching fellow Christians, he also engaged in doing so "from house to house" as Jesus had instructed his followers to do.
- Have you ever gone door to door, while not actually believing the teachings of the organization?
The majority of Jehovah's Witnesses that are actively engaged in our "search and rescue" work do so believing the teachings of the Bible, for what things we have learned from our study of the Bible is what Jehovah's organization teaches, since "with the mouth one makes public declaration for salvation." (Romans 10:10) In fact, those that "live by means of the good news" are "being saved" along with those to whom we declare the good news as long as they and we "are holding it fast," otherwise, we will have become "believers to no purpose." (1 Corinthians 9:14; 15:2 )
No one can be saved by works, for anyone that goes out in field service to put on a pretense before men of their faith is just performing works, and no one can earn their salvation by works, but we are saved "owing to a hearing by faith" (Ephesians 2:8, 9; Galatians 3:5), and genuine faith will be accompanied by such godly works of faith as is demonstrated when one actively engages in the field ministry, for "faith without works is dead." (James 2:14, 26)
And, if so, did you still debate with people, or did you simply avoid questions, and say "I don't know", or "Maybe"? I'm particularly curious about this, because I wonder if there's a way to tell, when a JW comes around what their actual level of belief is... like, is there a question that you would have tried to avoid?
- If JW's have to do field service for a couple of hours at a time, would they welcome a non-religious chat... "So, how's this weather we're having today?"... or would they prefer... "Thank you, bye bye", so they can move on to the next door and hand out another flyer?
There is no requirement on any of Jehovah's Witnesses, except those that have themselves made a vow to Jehovah (like those among our ranks that we refer to as "pioneers") that they will devote a specific number of hours per month in the field ministry, to spend any number of hours in field service, so if it happens that when we arrive you had been on your computer using your browser to search for employment, and this prompts you to ask if the Witness is able to suggest a website that might provide employment opportunities in a particular field, I suppose that could be described as a "non-religious chat," or if their visit to your home should prompt you to ask whether the torture condoned by the Bush Administration should be creditted with the killing of Osama bin Laden, I suppose that this, too, could be described as a "non-religious chat."
In either case though, keep in mind that Jehovah's Witnesses come to your door with an agenda, a message of hope, and that they would more likely than not leave a magazine, a booklet or a tract for you to read and then move on to the next door, and promise to call on you at some other time if they should conclude you are not deserving to hear what we have come to share with you at that time.
We believe God's "year of goodwill" will soon come to an end, so we would much rather make a note to come back if time permits us to do so -- it's very possible that our visit to your home may be our last visit and we never get to come back -- and use our time to find those deserving, who want to hear the good news of salvation that we bring, rather than engage in non-religious chatter with folks desirous of discussing mundane things that won't matter when God's "day of judgment" arrives.