Depending on the CO you could be measured against the "Standard" 10 hours or against the congregation average ...if it was higher than 10 !!! or against the National Average which was about 14 hours !
And of course we elders had to endure having our Record Card being handed out and discussed during his Friday night nit-pick session -
Never were the charitable works of any brother discussed when considering him for "the office of overseer" !
God ...its good to be Free !
I remember vividly at one circuit assembly when it came to the announcements after the songs. The feeling I had of such amazement when the announcement was ***the circuit overseers car is now almost 5-years old, we need a new one and the congregations should be encouraged to provide**
I felt this WOW!!! My vehicle I have and runs fine is 16years old and I am just fine with it, keeping it in good shape and such!!
This was one of my bug bears - complete inconsistency about how to interpret and enforce a cultural meme with no scriptural basis.
The record is pretty fictional anyway. I was congregation secretary for a few years and while a few JWs were scrupulously honest , it was obvious that many pretty much made up their figures. Often people would forget that they had already put a report in so they would accidentally put one in twice - often the figures were completely different. One brother put in an identical report every single month - 11 hours. Every single month for 3 years. Or Sister "never see her out" would always put in reports for 20 hours plus.
I had the figures on an Excel spreadsheet so it was very easy to see obvious patterns and trends. I quite enjoy data mining & occasionally ran some reports. One curious trend was that about 75% of the hour figures reported were odd figures. You would assume a 50-50 even-odd split. This always seemed a curious anomaly to me , so I asked another secretary in a much bigger city congregation if he had the same result. He had 130+ publishers and about 10 years worth of data - so over 15,000 individual hour reports. He came up with 71% odd - 29% even. It is a statistical impossibility to have that kind of variance - the only conclusion is that many publishers were coming up with something of a guess or random figure. And figures were often clustered at 11 - 13 hours , especially for elders & MS who are expected to be in double figures and know that reporting this keeps them off any hassle list.
Our reports were collected by the book study overseers and one guy in particular often used to lose the reports so I had to get him to ring around his group at the end of the month and he gave me the figures. On a couple of occasions during the next month he would suddenly find the slips at the bottom of his briefcase and give me them so that I had a written record. At least 50% of the records were different from the phoned ones - often by a big difference. Strangely the "phoned reports" were invariably higher than the written ones. I was sure there was some psychology behind that but I guess that is for another day.
The best one is the body I was on many years ago. They would take the hours of fathers of children and deduct 4-5 hrs depending on the month. The reason: those hours are the weekly study with his children so the remainder is his actual support for the ministrySeriously!?! WTF?
How times have changed. There's brother in my hall who I'm close with who has never been seen out in service in the last 3 years, and who hands in reports 6 months at a time just before the C.O.'s visit. He admitted to me that he only reports 2-4 hours a month, yet they approached him just a few weeks ago and asked him if he'd be interested in running mics and being an attendant because "they really need the help".
I know that in my day many JW's inflated their time, and I am guessing it hasn't changed, which means that in reality they are hardly knocking doors at all, especially when you consider many hours are counted standing next to a Trolley/Cart and speaking to no one !
This explains why I used to see them about once every three months in my Manor, and now once a year is rare.
The congregation I attended recently when I started to fade had their local needs. They reviewed what the CO asked them to work on. 30% - 40% of the congregation was in the 1 - 5 hour range. They also had a high number of 0, 1, or 2 RV publishers/month. This was the second time that the CO had asked them to work on this meaning that they had been like this for over a year.
We only went to the one midweek meeting and I haven't been to a meeting since. Yay! I still need to go back though so I can move our cards and hopefully fly under the radar a little easier.
It just proves that witnesses are more concerned about outward appearances rather than the motive for preaching!
Keeping the "elders" happy and "reporting" is of more concern than just living Christian lives!