Witness Carts - A Vehicle for Significant Decline

by slimboyfat 70 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • slimboyfat

    I was stalking to a JW today about her recent experience on the carts and with being a JW generally. Until this conversation I considered the carts as just an ineffective preaching method and a harmless waste of time. But now I wonder if the effect of the carts might be to produce noticeable decline in JW numbers.

    This sister has been a JW for over 30 years and pioneered at various points. In the last couple of years she has done a lot of cart witnessing. She enjoyed it at first because it was easy and she could chat with other JWs. Over time it practically replaced door to door ministry and return visits. More recently she got bored cart witnessing because there is a complete lack of response from the public and she fell out with some of her witnessing partners, perhaps partly due to with the stress of standing for hours with no results. So she's stopped doing cart witnessing and is less regular at the meetings. And she's not gone back to regular witnessing either. For the first time in 30 years she had no time to report for the month of May.

    If this experience is in any way replicated elsewhere, the carts may not simply be a mind-bogglingly ineffective preaching method. They may actually contribute significantly to reduced morale, activity, and overall JW numbers.

    Has anyone else heard similar experiences?

  • Darkknight757

    Since the introduction of table witnessing at my old hall, publisher hours and placements slowly declined. I think your on to something here. Nobody wants anything to do with the trash they are trying to sell and so the witlesses are becoming less active. As with the doors, they see for themselves the sheer number of people who are just not interested in the message.

    For myself, before it was over I seen no reason to preach. It was a waste of time. Nobody cares what those stupid magazines or books say. And most people by now realise that the dumbs are a cult.

  • humblepotato

    I agree with the decreased morale for sure!

    When it first started in our congregation, everyone was excited and wanted to do it. Selfies and pics all over Instagram! Well, time and time again of 0 results ... it's like pulling teeth now to get someone to do cart witnessing because the friends don't enjoy it anymore.

  • Stealth

    I have not seen or spoken with anyone who has cart witnessed, however I do agree that this could backfire.

    When I think about the door to door ministry prior to the carts, we could knock on hundreds if not thousands of doors before we would come across someone who would directly challenge the message or JW belief system.

    Now with cart witnessing, a JW really has a big target on them for any who wish to challenge them. They are a sitting duck for apostates and it's not as easy for them to get away as it is in their own home.

    It would be interesting to know if the JW sister of 30 years has had any direct confrontations with apostates while cart witnessing. Maybe something they said hit home and the reason for her drop off in service.

    Good topic SBF, and glad to see you posting back here again.

  • blondie

    So conversations with other jws are worse than talking to non-jws? So I wonder if they will have 1st century Christians using carts?

  • steve2

    SBF, your opening sentence caught my eye ("I was stalking to a JW today...") and it sounded so unlike you...to stalk, that is. I'm assuming it's a typo ( fat fingers?).

    Back to topic: I think there is merit in your observations - and for the very reasons you outline. In my locality, the cart is set up in an area of limited foot traffic and the JWs stand well back from the pavement in an alcoved area. With the display stand a little bit closer to the public view. You have to be eagle-eyed like me to notice any humans are present. Typically, no passersby even notice - except me, and given it's where my practise/clinic is located, I am the height of discretion.

    I've noticed they have not been as regular with the cart work in more recent months. They also have a table set up at a local market - but, again, it's not set up as regularly.

    Given these details, you could legitimately wonder whether I'm stalking the local JWs.

  • Crazyguy

    I read a survey once that said 16% of people only 16% actually change thier religious affiliation most actually just leave religion altogether 3% are the only ones that actually change to another religion of course of the 3% how many would actually want to join a cult like a Jehovah's Witnesses

  • DesirousOfChange

    The style of door-to-door witnessing that is done here is actually easier than cart witnessing.

    Here, most of the territory is rural so you drive house-to-house, vs all that walking. Imagine 4 (or more) publishers in the vehicle, they make a quick RV at a home near the Hall to "start their time", but then drive 10-15 minutes to the territory (this is known as "windshielding"), where it's common to drive a mile or more from one house to the next house, two get out of the car and slowly walk to the door, while the others chit chat and gossip, no one is at home, the two get back in the car and all drive another mile or so to the next house, Repeat.

    After stopping at 6 or 8 or 10 homes in 45 minutes, it's time for a "break" and they windshield for 15 minutes back to McDonalds or Starbucks or Panera where break is really breakfast for at least 30 minutes, but more typically 45 minutes. Everyone loads back into the car (mini-van) and they all decide they need to catch a couple RVs that weren't home yesterday. So they do some "star-witnessing". You know how you draw a star with 5-lines?

    Imagine an RV at each point. They drive from Point A to Point B to Point C, from one end of the territory to the other and after no more than 5 RV stops, the morning is over. Time to go to lunch. What a FUN day in service. The only literature "placed" was what was left at Not-At-Homes.

    Much more fun than standing on your feet for 3 hours in the heat or cold alongside some damn cart.


  • joe134cd

    I to have wondered if the carts have set them up to be more vulnerable to apostate attacks. With the D2D ministry they would just record your house number that you were an apostate. However in a public setting this is much harder to do, and much harder to get away from if you are been challenged.

    For me (if i was still in)- because I hated the D2D work. I think I would prefer the cart work. Purely because I didn't have to engage with anybody. I would make sure I was well away from the cart so not to be recognized or associated with it.

    Obviously for this 30 year jw who's ministry was defined by engagement with the public. When this was gone she lost her drive and perhaps saw it for what it was as a complete waste of time.

  • Londo111

    JWs...in particular pioneers...learn the fine art of "getting time in", that is, in essense, wasting it with nonproductive work.

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