Small congregations, lots of work

by JH 6 Replies latest jw friends

  • JH

    Did you ever belong to a book study or even a congregation that had limited resources, and you had to do most of the work, like reading at the book study all the time because there was a lack of brothers, having to make more comments than the average, because no one else would have answered, or even saying the prayer more often than your turn. Did you ever feel as if your congregation or book study didn't have enough depth?

  • tinkerbell82

    well, i always felt like my congregation lacked depth, even though it was large.

    but when i was a kid my family used to work unassigned territory in Nebraska (yuck!) every summer, and the congregation there was TINY, we had to do EVERYthing!

  • metatron

    Much of what you describe is deliberate, by design.

    We used to go round and round trying to create practical book studies while those itinerant spiritual predators

    ( i.e. Circuit Overseers) fought to have them as small as possible. Reason? Busy work.

    They just want to put pressure on people to attend and go out in service.


  • rocketman

    Metatron, good point - I had never considered that, but come to think of it, when the bookstudies are kept small (ostensibly so that it can be shepherded properly) it does put more of a burden on those who are there.

    Cleaning the KH is another area where the burden is felt by just a few. I can't even begin to count the number of poor showings there were when it came time to clean, and thus at times we had two or three people from each bookstudy cleaning the hall (we rotated two and then three at a time) - and sometimes, it was just two or three folks who showed up to do the whole job.

  • rocketman

    Oh, one more thing - of course, bookstudies couldn't be made too large if being held in a private home. But 15 seemed low. From what I observed, 17-20 was a better number. You could always then have a good group even though some might not show.

  • Euphemism

    But brother, how could we plan on people not showing up for the bookstudy? Would that not be a sad lack of faith in Jehovah and confidence in our brothers?

  • willyloman

    What metatron said!

    This is precisely why the change a year or so ago to the "new" book study arrangement, where groups are limited to 15 and the conductor is now an "overseer." In the elder's "school" outlining procedures for all this, it was made perfectly clear that the BSO (that's book study overseer, in case you're confused) would review all the cards and keep the pressure on his small, manageable group so they report time, get out in service more, and never, never miss meetings. How well this has worked depends on the congo you're in, but my experience is that it's like a lot of other "make work" projects; it is widely ignored in practice, although paid much lip service theoretically.

    As for the topic of your post, yes, I was in a small congo once where there were only three elders and a couple of MS among 50-60 publishers and it was a whirlwind. You're on the platform every single week, often twice, and are giving public talks at least once a month. With three elders, two of us had to hold two of the "permanent positions" such as Secretary and School Overseer. It kept us extremely busy and looking back I have two thoughts about that:

    1. We were impatient with problems in the congregation and those who caused them (I used these terms advisedly) and a lot of mistakes were made.

    2. We learned to be quick on our feet and developed very good public speaking habits. To this day you can wake me out of a sleep and I can do a five minute talk with nothing more in my hands than a piece of lint from my pants pocket.

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