Preaching Slowdown

by cornish 46 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • AnnOMaly

    So true!

    Remember when pioneering was 120 hours per month? Then 90? Now 70. Now the infirm can even count 15 mins!!! All so that they can feel they've 'accomplished something' in the org's eyes. It's crazy!

    It's God's eyes we need to concern ourselves with. Only He knows whether we've done it out of a genuine heart. How many go out in Service, have a wonderful 'report', but it's just going through the motions or their personal life is far from Christian?

    I haven't counted hours for months. It's pointless. Sure I've been out in the formal 'ministry' and informal, but I make a reasonable estimate and put it on the slip (only for the sake of convention). Hours are irrelevant.

    It would be fascinating to see, if reporting was ever dispensed with, how many would carry on going door-to-door and how many new converts there would be in years to come.

  • Room 215
    Room 215

    The requirement to count field service and to turn in a report slip is the ``bubblegum and baling wire" that holds the creaking field service program together, if barely... Remove this requirement, and step aside so as not to be trampled by the stampede out the door!

  • Country Girl
    Country Girl

    In the rural territories, it's even worse. I've lived at my house for five years. I live in a fairly isolated part of Texas, with the closest congregation being 20 miles away. They've been here ONCE in those five years. Luckily for them, I wasn't home. They just left an old Awake near the door. I am home 90% of the time, but this time I was off getting groceries. I used the Awake to line the bird cages. I hope I didn't terrify them, as parrots are terribly intelligent.


  • iiz2cool

    The last congregation I was associated with had 14 regular pioneers when I moved in yet there were a number of territories (not locked buildings) that hadn't been touched in 2 years. My first congregation covered it's territories about every 3 months. There's definitely a slowdown in the preaching work. Yet they still say the work is speeding up, and that hours worldwide are increasing.


  • joelbear

    I remember when I was a pioneer it was exhausting work. I worked Monday and Friday at a bank, so I had to get all my hours on the other days. That meant days of 6 or 7 hours sometimes in the South Georgia heat. My pioneer partners rarely made it past lunch, so I have no idea how they got their hours in. We had one older lady pioneer and it was great to have her in the car group because she would always get hooked at a door which meant you could sit in the car and chat, listen to the radio or nap while she witnesses and the other 3 or 4 of us could count easy time. The rules for counting time are so funny. But even so, we covered the territory of our congregation many many times over the years I was a pioneer. I have had witnesses at my door once when I was home in the last 6 years and only twice in 15 years that I have lived in Atlanta. If any of them have any notion that they are preaching the good news worldwide before the end comes, they are mistaken. I think there was more awareness of witnesses 20 years ago than there is now.

  • stillajwexelder

    Two sisters I know went/still go shopping for clothes -- and counted the time because they left a tract in the pocket of one of the items of clothing -- I kid you not

  • Elsewhere

    I wonder if a brother could count time at a strip club by slipping a tract in the stripper's string thong?

  • stillajwexelder

    Well elsewhereI will give it a try as I still count my phoney time

  • Gamaliel

    The preaching work is probably a smaller factor than JWs realize. In one sense, I think they get their increases in spite of the preaching work, not because of it. In another sense, the preaching work is very valuable, but not because it directly creates converts, but only because it creates a tangible uniqueness that gets milked for all it's worth. ("We are the only religion preaching the good news," etc.) Of course, it's a lot smarter than trying a world-wide foot washing service.

    After the end of this month, the WTS will add it all up again to run the report for the "2003 Service Year" (which is really Sept 1 2002 through Aug 30 2003). This gives them enough time to tally all the numbers internationally in time for the 1/1/04 WT and the 2004 Yearbook. The 2003 Yearbook was really the first one to get the impact of any "religion/fear revival" based on the terrorism in the USA that started 9/11/01.

    This year, terrorism fears worldwide have remained higher than usual (pre-9/11/01). And, of course, wars and related fears have driven many to believe that only God can take care of this "system of things." Although I've heard all the talk of lower JW visibility and lower hours in preaching, I wouldn't be surprised if the 2004 report only shows a very slight reduction in the USA. Are they printing month by month publishing stats in the KM like they used to? It would be interesting to know what some major countries have been reporting from month to month this year -- and what the memorial attendance announcements were.

    I'm still guessing that without 9/11/01 and subsequent high profile wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and other nations threatened, the JWs would likely have seen a 2% or more drop. I was hoping for that this year, but I'm guessing the media has only helped the JWs in the USA and Europe for the past couple years (from the Matthew 24 perspective).

    The USA is still a very fundamentalist religious society, in some ways much more so than Iran and Iraq, and I don't think the JWs should have any trouble finding a few more million people for this niche religion in the USA. The truth is, it has a psychological appeal that works even better as people get depressed about repetitious bad news. It helps people rationalize the world's problems, and gives them a purpose, makes them feel important again in the scheme of things. And ironically, it offers a very simple, "materialistic spirituality."

    I like that idea that they have a "tiger by the tail" precisely because they have created a "measurable spirituality" that could backfire if they stopped requiring the reports -- or if the reports themselves began producing their own disappointments. I suspect that a even two or three years of disappointing reports will begin to produce their "inertia."

    But something like 1 out of every 100 or better are already JWs in those exact areas where their increases will obviously keep coming from. In some cities it's like 1 out of 50. Kids in these areas have JWs in most of their classes or as school friends, and they will learn more about the JWs as they invite them to parties, etc. If these kids or their parents start to get interested in religion, or get tired of mainstream religions, JWs will be a very viable sounding choice for a lot of them.

    I'm sorry if these musings sound disappointing, but if there's a decrease, I think it will based on the availability of anti-JW information on the Internet, pedophile scandals, UN and political scandals, etc.. So the people who will continue to convert (or remain in there), will be those who don't (and won't) look around, those who prefer the pseudo-rational JW life to the truly rational, examined life. The latter are more noble-minded, but there's always more of the former than the latter.


  • willyloman

    Very insightful posts here.

    As a former Secretary in the Congregation who used to collect time over the phone, I can assure you the hours are as phony as a $3 bill. Publishers turn in time the way some householders accept literature, the ones who take the magazines just to get rid of you. When you come back, it's obvious they not only haven't read the magazine, they don't even remember your earlier conversation. Taking literature is just a polite way of saying, "Now go away."

    Collecting time from the 30-40% of the congregation that does not proactively turn it in on schedule is a lot like that. You call, they make up some numbers, you go away.

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