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CAN WE SPOT A LOST SHEEP ?......


Queen Esther
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CAN  WE  SPOT  A  LOST  SHEEP ?...... When she comes on Sunday, she is usually quite late. Is she baptized or inactive is the question for debate. Few people try to know her and some wonder and stare. No one tries to dig down deep to see who's really there. In her purse is a funeral program that is ragged around the ears. It is yellow and quite wrinkled and has been soaked with many tears. She's looked at it quite often and knows the resurrection hope. But she still mourns her daughter, and

It is not rocket science of course. Unfortunately there exist some members of the congregation who are a little "different" and because of that don't get included, and sometimes get outright ignored by the majority. A brother once told me about his wife and two sons. His wife had severe depression, but despite that, would come and sit at the back of the hall. From what he said, I gathered the friends pretty much ignored her. Maybe because they just didn't know what to say to her. Maybe because s

For whatever it is worth, when I was an elder, I kept my own personal check list of all attendees. During the course of the meeting I would discreetly (I hope) look about and place a check/no check by everyone's name. It is too easy to fall through the cracks when there are many things to occupy one's attention. To the extent possible, I wished to avoid that. I stopped serving for a variety of reasons and forgot all about my lists. Two decades later, I visited my daughter's congregation and

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3 minutes ago, TrueTomHarley said:

You would start a revolution over this? For what reason? Is it not merely to undermine the work the Governing Body takes the lead in?

 

No, it was intended as a thought experiment only for people to reflect on. I can see why it might have come across another way and I apologize for that.

People should indeed do just as their conscience dictates.

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2 hours ago, PeterR said:

I have personally seen this go both ways

People increasing their preaching by stopping reporting? Must be a bit difficult to measure unless they did very little before.

Anyway, I can't really see an issue with reporting our preaching activity. It indicates a great deal of useful information about the quality of our engagement in the preaching work as there is an easy correlation between time/placements/return vists/Bible Studies and of course numbers baptised.

If someone wants to falsify reports to make a good impression....well ignore Ananias and Sapphira if you wish (Acts 5:1-11). If someone wants to use reports as a barometer to measure the value of another Christian's motivation....well ignore the needy widow (and those who observed her) if you wish (Luke 21:1-4).

But if reporting is used a a tool to improve one's own preaching and teaching ministry, or as a spur to increase one's share in a unique and wonderful privilege, what's the problem? And if they assist in helping others too to increase their effective directing of valuable resources to achieve  better results in that ministry with obvious benefits to those teaching and those being taught, what's the problem? That's even before we start applying Proverbs 25:25.

Of course being a Christian involves more than our reaching out with the kingdom message in this critical time, but I don't see any contradiction in measuring and publicising the results of our engagement in that work in fulfillment of Ps.110:3 and Matt.24:14. I fact (for me), in these last days of counterfeit Christianity, it sits quite well with James' words at James 2:18: "Show me your faith without the works, I and I will show you my faith by my works."

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On 7/22/2017 at 10:55 AM, Eoin Joyce said:

People increasing their preaching by stopping reporting? Must be a bit difficult to measure unless they did very little before.

There you go. To you it seems that if it isn't measurable it doesn't happen. If reporting hours is all you've ever known then I can see why you might not be able to get past that.

Philip was known as "the evangelizer". Do you think for a moment it was because he accepted it as a title for doing in excess of x number of hours preaching per month? Or do you think that people simply knew him as a man who naturally preached the Gospel at every opportunity.

The latter portion of Deut 6:7 is often tied to talking about your love for Jehovah to your kids. And given the opening that would obviously be true. But when I read it the passage says 1) inculcate your love for God in your children and 2) speak about them always - to anyone, always (including incidentally yourself in meditation).

Mal 3:16 talks of those who would naturally talk about spiritual things and share faith as part of any conversation.

I actually find it a little shocking that people would so clearly reveal that they don't feel any of this would be noticed by others unless a number of "service hours" was turned in every month.

 

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If someone wants to falsify reports to make a good impression....well ignore Ananias and Sapphira if you wish (Acts 5:1-11).

Well yeah. I hadn't even considered that as part of this conversation. But if it even puts a some people under pressure some of the time, such that it could tempt them into any form of dishonesty, then there's another reason why Jesus might have warned against it.

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But if reporting is used a a tool to improve one's own preaching and teaching ministry, or as a spur to increase one's share in a unique and wonderful privilege, what's the problem?

I can perfectly see the benefit of setting personal goals. That's not what's being discussed here. They can remain personal and there is no conflict with any scriptural injunction.

 

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And if they assist in helping others too to increase their effective directing of valuable resources to achieve  better results in that ministry with obvious benefits to those teaching and those being taught, what's the problem?

I'm sorry but I don't buy that. I do have some specific experience into how this process works. Even before everything went electronic, planning for literature production was always done through the movement of literature inventory - and advance requests made for campaigns - at a congregation level. Collecting a report of member's individual hours of service performed in the previous month has no value in this regard.

 

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That's even before we start applying Proverbs 25:25.

So what would we lose that would apply from that verse? We couldn't boast about total number of hours in any given country. Does anyone actually bring that out when reviewing the annual report anyway? We just wouldn't be able to boast about 1 billion hours (or whatever it is) globally.

But isn't the real source of encouragement 1) overall growth and 2) personal experiences. Growth is pretty well measured by baptisms (minus deaths and disfellowshippings). This would be unaffected. The overall number of JWs in any given country and worldwide would still be available. I can see an argument for keeping a tally of studies too. That's encouraging. But that's not what we're talking about here which is individuals reporting how much time they spent publicly representing the organization.

 

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Of course being a Christian involves more than our reaching out with the kingdom message in this critical time, but I don't see any contradiction in measuring and publicising the results of our engagement in that work in fulfillment of Ps.110:3 and Matt.24:14. I fact (for me), in these last days of counterfeit Christianity, it sits quite well with James' words at James 2:18: "Show me your faith without the works, I and I will show you my faith by my works."

Well the fulfillment of the Psalm and the verse in Matthew will be evident regardless. As far as the James scripture I don't see the relevance unless you're somehow reading into it that faith and works would only be evident through numbers.

 

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35 minutes ago, PeterR said:

To you it seems that if it isn't measurable it doesn't happen.

I know you didn't think before you posted this. You must have measured to make the statement you did:

4 hours ago, PeterR said:

I have personally seen this go both ways. I've seen people who stop reporting, and end up increasing their Christian activity, including preaching and general Christian acts of kindness. And others who stop reporting and well ... just stop.

This alone makes me a bit distrustful of the other statements you've made 

42 minutes ago, PeterR said:

valuable resources

Seems you immediately equate this with literature??? I can see you really are a product of the system. It's a funny thing, like a world within a world. But people with your attitude only seem to reveal it outside the organisation. What kept it hidden?

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5 minutes ago, Eoin Joyce said:

I know you didn't think before you posted this. You must have measured to make the statement you did:

This alone makes me a bit distrustful of the other statements you've made 

I don't really understand your point here, but I doubt that your distrust started with what I last wrote. From our previous exchanges your distrust seems to be based upon anything I write that doesn't fit your world view. Scriptural reasoning doesn't seem to help.

 

5 minutes ago, Eoin Joyce said:

Seems you immediately equate this with literature??? I can see you really are a product of the system. It's a funny thing, like a world within a world. But people with your attitude only seem to reveal it outside the organisation. What kept it hidden?

What else did you mean then? Rather than just pretend to be astounded by adding multiple questions marks, if you truly wanted to reason on the matter you could actually just clarify what you mean by "resources". My assumption of "literature" doesn't come from nowhere. This is actually a common argument that is given from higher up the chain as to why reports are required. If your point was a different one then all you have to do is clarify.

Your concluding Ad Hominem attack is tasteless and baseless.

 

 

 

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The wisest move I ever made was to patent a certain verbal technique I developed to shoot down ignoramuses. 

The second was to strike a deal with @The Librarian (fine woman), who reports quite a few of them, to run each by me so that I might collect royalties. She has summoned me. 

3 hours ago, PeterR said:

Your concluding Ad Hominem attack is tasteless and baseless.

Hmm. Where is this so-called attack? Ah, here it is:

3 hours ago, Eoin Joyce said:

I can see you really are a product of the system. It's a funny thing, like a world within a world. But people with your attitude only seem to reveal it outside the organisation. What kept it hidden?

From Eoin? Good, noble Eoin? Can it really be? Let's look into this. Hmm. Okay, @PeterRsaid this, and then Eoin said that and then Peter said...and then Eoin said..and the Peter......hmmm. You know, I think I'll let this one slide. It doesn't qualify. That Peter was really carrying on trying to malign those who report service time. What's his problem, anyway? Dismissed.

And please do not ever report @TrueTomHarleyas some have. I've even heard he has been accused of trolling. Having looked these matters over, I can attest he has never despicably trolled. He has, however, occasionally engaged in dignified perusal of internet resources in search of fatheads to set straight.

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Fact: Christians have been tasked with preaching the good news of the kingdom in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations before the end comes...That being the case, it makes sense to me that records of both time and resources would need to be kept in order to determine where to allocate said time and resources to where they are needed most. If things didn't take place in a highly organized way ("decently and by arrangement") and everyone kept their figures to themselves as to where, how and how much effort was needed, just doing what THEY felt needed to be done, it would be an anarchy of individual perceptions. After all, who wouldn't want to spend the rest of their lives preaching/living near a beach in Hawaii? (or substitute your favourite destination here). It seems clear to me that extensive records are not just desirable, but necessary. Even corporations recognize that. HOWEVER...as has been discussed, another fact...

Fact: If the motivation for our ministry is to be noticed by man rather than love for neighbour or God then there is something wrong. Can recording hours and handing them in contribute to a mindset of just putting in hours; can it contribute to wanting to be noticed for your "works" before men? I believe that is a possibility, but not a given. It would be unfair to paint with such a wide and tainted brush. Still, and especially lately I have seen pioneers fudge their reports so as to "get their time in." And that fact doesn't go without notice from those who struggle/extend themselves to be out. These "phantom" pioneers are described as "members of the 'Secret Service'" - since only God knows how they get their time in without actually doing anything. (OK, I'm not actually encouraging that type of description or being critical or judgmental of what others do), but I know for a fact that it happens. 

So while I see and recognize that filling in reports and counting time is not a specific requirement spelled out in God's Word, I can see and appreciate why it can be useful in facilitating the preaching work we are endeavoring to do. It just should be with the right motive. Which is essentially what everyone agrees with anyway here as far as I can tell.

 

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7 hours ago, PeterR said:

astounded by adding multiple questions marks

Not astounded. Just another misreading I'm afraid. Actually I'm expressing disappointment. And believe me, I do not pretend.

Oh, and those resources? I usually equate this with the properly motivated time and energy those who love Jehovah spend in His service. Which is why I included the Psalm 110 reference.

7 hours ago, PeterR said:

Your concluding Ad Hominem attack is tasteless and baseless.

Sorry if it hurt. But I do not agree with your assessment.

You have stated your experience as expressed earlier: "The elder body I served with...".  Your critical and jaded focus on, and descriptions of, the activities of your former colleagues, along with motive assessment (elders and otherwise) are apparent in a number of your postings: (no quotes required). The level of detail. and descriptive nature of these views indicates a period of cultivation.

Also, your similarity in expression to a whole army of critics orginating from within the ranks of Jehovah's Witnesses, along with your similarly recognisable focus on a distorted view of logistics and administrative processes, confirm my impression that this kind of attitude is the product of a process that somehow does it's work within the congregational arrangement. (A world within a world). However, the manifestation of it appears from the sidelines, usually once a form of estrangement has occured.

In light of Douglas Walton's interesting perspective on the ad hominem  (Media Argumentation. Dialectic, Persuasion and Rhetoric), I agree with him that it can be legitimate device when a character critique is directly or indirect­ly related to the point being articulated. I mean, surely we can see that when looking at Jesus words expressed so clearly in his denunciation of the Pharisees and scribes in Matthew Chapter 23.

In this case, I believe that there is no difference in my assessment or method of expressing it than that demonstrated by Paul in his warning to the Ephesians in Acts 20:30.

And to ensure that this posting remains firmly connected with the original posting shared by @Queen Esther, I believe that the joyful and zealous proclamation of the kingdom good news is one clear indicator of a spiritually healthy heart. Field service reports are just one of the tools available to keep those charged before Jehovah with shepherding His sheep alert to their spiritual health and safety. Her excellent poetic reminder is much appreciated.

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On 7/22/2017 at 0:30 AM, Anna said:

Therefore I cannot agree with this statement:

On 7/21/2017 at 0:33 PM, JW Insider said:

The idea of a "pioneer" or "full-time servant" as opposed to a publisher is just another legalism based on a measure so that we are "noticed" for our gifts of mercy.

In fact, this is going the way of the sentiments of Carl Olof Jonsson, (and others) whose ideas are very similar to the rest of Christendom, and are a cop out contrary to Paul's admonition to Timothy and by extension any Christian:  "Preach the word; be at it urgently in favorable times and difficult times; reprove, reprimand, exhort, with all patience and art of teaching. For there will be a period of time when they will not put up with the wholesome teaching, but according to their own desires, they will surround themselves with teachers to have their ears tickled. They will turn away from listening to the truth and give attention to false stories.  You, though, keep your senses in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelizer, fully accomplish your ministry"-  2Tim.4:2-5

I couldn't know what motivations  @PeterR or you or anyone else might have. But I can say that what I said is (to me) merely a truism about legalism, and has nothing to do with taking it easy as you state. Also, I don't recommend that people stop reporting the types of service that help others prepare useful and appropriate publications, convention material, encouragement from circuit overseers, talks about local needs, etc. If you think you'll need 100 magazines next month in service, you should order 100 magazines; if you think you will need 10, order 10. Even in the days when we paid directly in advance for all the publications, I'd still see some Witnesses with rooms stacked with unused magazines and books. The specific need for printed material is no longer a big factor, as we are encouraged to make more use of electronic formats. (In some countries, more than others.)

Obviously, we could also take it too far and forbid the reporting of our service to others, too, but this could end up being just another form of legalism. Our motivation for reporting our time and experiences might be purely meant as an encouragement for others who have trouble finding the time, or our motivation for reporting could be out of the pure joy of reporting on experiences in our ministry that make our sacrifice of time worthwhile. (Remember the joy that Jesus expressed when the 70 evangelizers returned to tell about what kinds of experiences they had just had. Giving a good report can be a matter of encouragement or just a matter of the mouth speaking out of the "abundance of the heart" -- not just preaching, but telling fellow Christians about our experiences in preaching.)

However, the methods by which a "placement" or even a "return visit" can be counted have now made some of these reports mean less because people would be comparing Apple iPads to oranges. The differences in what some elders or family heads might count as a "Bible Study" might also be quite different from what the average pioneer will count. TTH is right that these numbers are not used in such a way that each congregation member knows who is more active than others, except by actual observation while working with others in the ministry, and by a couple of different level pioneer titles. Neither are they used at levels higher than a circuit overseer, in any form other than the aggregate. Other forms of "full-time" service might come with little or no field service, although there is overlap in the use of the "title." My brother, for example, was on a project at Bethel where Brother Wisegarver asked him if he could work 6 days a week for at least 4 months, and skip all his meetings except Sunday. I know several elders whose work on regional building committees kept them from almost anything else for several months at a time, and some have preferred it that way.

My point is that the Law included measurements and even certain threshold requirements to meet the Law correctly. We SHOULD be working purely from proper motivation, but this will not be true of everyone. This is why the Law was necessary as a tutor. But our ministry that is pure from the standpoint of 'our God and Father' MUST include a lot of ministry that is not currently counted as "sacred" service, even if Jesus counts it as "sacred" service. (Looking after orphans and widows, for example.) I do think that if proper motivation is what is explained and encouraged at all meetings, then most of us would rebalance our ministries toward the other forms of service that Jesus counts as sacred. But we would also be looking for more opportunities to buy out more effective time in all our ministries, making time count rather than looking for ways to count time.

My comments about the legalism behind the reports and titles might have sounded discouraging, but it's not so that anyone would do less, or lose their motivation. It's so that whatever we do is a JOY because of the motivation. The points about legalism include the confusion that most immature Christians have about being rewarded for "works." These legalistic ideas are really more obvious when we look at the history of the ways quotas and counting time and placements has worked since Rutherford's time. A quick reading of old Bulletins, Informants, Messengers, Kingdom Ministrys, Convention reports, etc., will make it clear what I mean by legalism in the sense that the apostle Paul spoke out so strongly against. I won't try to prove it here.

But I would agree that we have also moved toward a more sensible and balanced view of time to remove the common "burdensome" nature of counting time and placements.

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