TO ALL CONGREGATIONS
Re: New Provisions Announced at Annual Meeting
At the annual meeting of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania held on October 3, 2015, several new provisions were announced.
Teach Us Book: The first provision is a new 224-page publication entitled What Can the Bible Teach Us? It is based on the book What Does the Bible Really Teach? The Teach Us book does not replace the Bible Teach book. Rather, it will be useful when studying with individuals who need to have the truth presented in a simpler manner. Besides having simplified text, the Teach Us book has the following additional features:
· At the end of every chapter is a two-page summary rather than a review box. These summaries can also be used to conduct Bible studies.
· At the end of the book, endnotes are provided rather than an appendix. The endnotes correlate closely with the glossary of the revised New World Translation. The endnotes clarify some expressions that we as Jehovah’s Witnesses use in our everyday conversation but that may not be familiar to the public.
· Some of the text and illustrations used in the Bible Teach book have been adjusted.
The Teach Us book will no doubt be a useful tool that can be used to help people gain a basic understanding of Bible truth, similar to the way the Bible Teach book is used. The Teach Us book is the same size as the Bible Teach book and is similar in appearance but has a slightly altered cover design to differentiate the two publications. Printed copies of the Teach Us book in more than 200 languages will be made available to congregations as the books become available. Electronic copies are now available in selected languages on jw.org and in the JW Library app. Sign-language editions will be made available for download and on physical discs. Web-only audio recordings will also be made available for download in due course. Please note that in due course the Teach Us book will be available for download in electronic Braille format. Requests may now be submitted for copies in embossed Braille format.
Revised Organized Book: We are also pleased to inform you that a revised edition of the book Organized to Do Jehovah’s Will has been produced. Electronic copies are now available in selected languages on jw.org and in the JW Library app. Before you can access the book in JW Library, you must first download the latest version of the application. The following disclaimer will appear on the screen: "This book is an internal publication, provided solely for use by congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and is not intended for public distribution." Because of the cost involved in producing printed publications, it is preferred that wherever possible, publishers make full use of electronic copies rather than requesting printed copies. However, a printed copy of the Organized book will be requested for any publisher who desires to receive one. The group overseers will begin to check with each publisher after the meeting to determine if printed copies are desired. Please note that the revised Organized book is also available for download in electronic Braille format and for request in embossed Braille format.
New World Translation (study edition): For the next announcement, please watch the following video. [Show 5:30 minute video.]
Electronic copies of the study edition of the book of Matthew are now available in English on jw.org. In the future, they will be available in the JW Library app.
Public edition of The Watchtower and Awake!: Beginning in January 2016, the magazines for the public will be published bi-monthly, that is, every two months. We will offer one magazine to the public each month, alternating between The Watchtower and Awake! During January, we will offer The Watchtower. During February, we will feature subjects in Awake!, and so on. This arrangement will allow us to focus on the appealing information in each magazine for the entire month. In addition, an issue date will no longer be printed on the cover. Instead, the magazines will be identified by a number followed by the year. Why is this helpful? We often would like to offer older magazines because the message is just what the householder needs. However, the date on the cover may give the impression that the information is out-of-date. That will no longer be an obstacle. We are confident that you will offer the life-giving information in the magazines with renewed enthusiasm.
Our Christian Life and Ministry Meeting: Beginning the week of January 4, 2016, congregations will have a new midweek meeting called Our Christian Life and Ministry. This one meeting will replace the three separate meetings currently being held, namely, the Congregation Bible Study, the Theocratic Ministry School, and the Service Meeting.
In connection with this change, Our Kingdom Ministry is being replaced by a new four-color, eight-page monthly publication entitled Our Christian Life and Ministry—Meeting Workbook (mwb). This publication is intended for Jehovah’s Witnesses and for those who regularly attend our meetings. It outlines the weekly meeting schedule and features artwork designed to make your personal reading of the Bible more meaningful. It is a workbook that prompts you to make personal notes. No doubt you will enjoy reviewing the January 2016 issue of the Life and Ministry Meeting Workbook when you download an electronic copy from jw.org or the JW Library app or receive a printed copy through the congregation. Since the workbook will not include a section for announcements, congregations will be informed of monthly literature offers by means of letters from the branch office.
Each Life and Ministry Meeting will begin with an opening song and prayer followed by comments from the Life and Ministry Meeting chairman. His opening comments of no more than three minutes will generate anticipation for the program to follow. Thereafter, the chairman will introduce the first section of the meeting, called Treasures From God’s Word. The first part in this section will be a ten-minute talk based on the weekly Bible reading and artwork from the work- book. When the scheduled weekly Bible reading begins a new Bible book, a brief video introducing the book will be shown at the start of this part. The second part in this section, entitled Digging for Spiritual Gems, will be an eight-minute question-and-answer consideration based on the weekly Bible reading. Questions for consideration during this part are found in the workbook, and the audience will answer these based on their research. The Treasures From God’s Word section will conclude with a brother reading an assigned portion of the weekly Bible reading.
The next section of the Life and Ministry Meeting is entitled Apply Yourself to the Field Ministry and is 15 minutes in length. Three student presentations assigned to brothers or sisters will help us develop our ability to teach on an initial call, on a return visit, and on a Bible study. During the first week of every month, in place of the three student presentations, videos of model presentations will be shown and discussed to help us prepare for the ministry that month. The printed edition of the workbook is designed so that you may write your own presentation on the front page. We encourage each of you to take full advantage of the Apply Yourself to the Field Ministry section of the meeting. Doing so will help you to become a more effective preacher and teacher of the good news.—2 Cor. 3:5; 2 Tim. 4:5.
The final section of the Life and Ministry Meeting is entitled Living as Christians. This section begins with a song. The next 15 minutes of this section will consist of one or two parts designed to help us apply God’s Word. Then there will be a 30-minute Congregation Bible Study. Thereafter, up to three minutes may be used by the chairman to review the meeting and preview material to be considered the following week. Any necessary announcements may also be made at this point. Expressions of praise to Jehovah in song and prayer will conclude the meeting.
The entire meeting will be 1 hour and 45 minutes in length. A video has been prepared to help you to become familiar with the format of the Life and Ministry Meeting. It is now available on JW Broadcasting in English. Please watch it if you are able to do so. This video will help you to become familiar with the format of the Life and Ministry Meeting. Also, please be alert to provide assistance to any publishers who may need help to download our videos and electronic copies of our publications.
We are confident that you will be eager to prepare for and participate in this new meeting. It is our prayer that the variety of teaching methods used will enable all to benefit from the ongoing education that comes from our Grand Instructor, Jehovah. (Isa. 30:20) We send our warm Christian love.