I was in the city centre last week and walked past about 4 carts. I was approached by campaigners fur the EU referendum twice, people who are passionate about their message and wanted to engage people and make a difference. Not so the JWs.
Witness Carts - A Vehicle for Significant Decline
My main point was that the WT may be playing with fire here. Boring and ineffective as door to door ministry is, it has been a tried and tested method for keeping JWs active in the faith for over a hundred years. Sociologists have argued that the function of JW door to door ministry is more about maintaining commitment of existing members than about recruiting new members. See: Munters, Q. T. “Recruitment as a Vocation: The Case of Jehovah's Witnesses.” Sociologica Nearlandica 7 (1971): 88-100.
So by substituting cart witnessing for traditional door to door preaching the leadership might not only fail to gain new members. They may lower the morale and eventually the numbers of current JWs who are willing to preach and remain active. They may have underestimated how important traditional door to door ministry has been in structuring JW life, self-understanding and commitment. Over emphasis of cart witnessing threatens to undermine that.
the pronouncement to "get off my property" or conversely "We'll be going now" do not apply. - oldskool
On every occasion that I have engaged the JWs at a cart there has come a time when they offer their hand and say something like "well it's been nice to talk to you but I think we will leave it there". So I shake their hand and carry right on where I left off. Their look of frustration is priceless.
Lol you're a bloody pest!
I'm really starting to think they choose low traffic times and places on purpose so they don't have to talk.
Low traffic areas is the only places I've ever seen them.
Again, JWs are now conditioned into having low activity/contact field service. Raising the bar isn't in the flocks agenda. This is probably to the chagrin to HQ but that's the defining culture, at least in the west.
They may have underestimated how important traditional door to door ministry has been in structuring JW life, self-understanding and commitment. Over emphasis of cart witnessing threatens to undermine that.
Any thoughts on how much people doing at either broken apart? Is cart now a larger portion of the work?
Door to door is a more consistently active activity than sitting at a cart. You're typically on private property, and it is similar to territory sales. You have to be ready for anything. However, as history progressed (50s through 90s), the activity became more conventional. Probably directly correlated to born-in JWs learning it as a more cultural activity rather than converts doing it with apocalyptic passion.
Again, the one street of territory + break + 3 calls was a routine I remember well. Nothing close to the "preach the word" urgency WTS made it seem like was going on.
To get to the OP, I would say that cart witnesses has the potential to lower the bar even further. Just sitting at a cart in a boring location? I've done table events before in past jobs, including major event centers with lots of people. You have to be standing, you have to invite people in, you have to ask questions constantly. It's actually really hard to do well.
But it's also really easy to do poorly. Sit behind a table and not say much, barely anybody will approach you. And that's in a busy location. So in this light, it may be an even bigger excuse to non activity in the ministry, which although it's never verbalized, appeared to be the primary goal for most of the JWs I personally knew.
In private, I remember so many JWs saying they hated the ministry. If there was a way to cheat at it, they would. All of them dreaded to be in the car with one of those 70 year old old school Knorr Era witnesses that wanted to knock on 100 doors.
I never did the cart witnessing, but as an introvert, I can say that I detested the door to door ministry. Totally draining. I wonder if a person's personality may make the difference in whether or not the cart witnessing is enjoyable or not.
stuckinamovement - "...I'm close friends with a 21-year-old JW who has made it abundantly clear to me
how terrified every Witness is of encountering the dreaded Apostate Lies and Satanic brain meld!!"
I think it'd be really funny if every single person JWs encountered in their ministry identified themselves as an atheist, a Satanist, or an XJW...
...the resulting fear of the public ministry vs. the fear of losing status in their congregations (for avoiding the public ministry) would cause some poor JWs to have nervous breakdowns.
Bottom line... JWs don't avoid "apostates" because they think they're wrong... they're afraid of "apostates" because they're scared they're right.
Know how I know?
'Cause that was me.
'So conversations with other jws are worse than talking to non-jws? So I wonder if they will have 1st century Christians using carts?'.
The cover of the next WT will have Peter and Paul walking around Jerusalem with a cart full of the Hebrew Scriptures with Paul's notes in the margins...