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


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20 hours ago, Eoin Joyce said:

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.

 

Curiosity is getting the better of me so I'll follow this up.

You wrote " And if they assist in helping others too to increase their effective directing of valuable resources to achieve  better results ... "

I assumed that you were talking about printing publication simply because that's a line I've heard several times before. 

Then after coming down hard on my assumption you wrote " 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."

I'm prepared to accept that I have a really big blind spot here, but could you explain how making a declaration to the elders of the number of hours you put in last month helps "increase their effective directing of valuable resources".

I'm genuinely interested.

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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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44 minutes ago, PeterR said:

"increase their effective directing of valuable resources"

By the way, I am not saying this helps elders in directing effective resources primarily. I am saying that primarily it helps the individual who does the reporting. Or maybe that's what you understood?  Anyway, I'll get back on the detail when I have more opportunity. Glad to engage.  :)

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1 hour ago, TrueTomHarley said:

All is well. It caused me to scratch my head in non-recognition - a name, apparently a villainous one, and I never did get around to figuring out who it was. 

That was my fault I'm afraid. I shouldn't mention names in that context, especially not villainous ones. I will try not to do it again.

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20 hours ago, JW Insider said:

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.

I guess I was asking for this (your long post - just kidding! :D)

Sorry, I always seem get suspicious when people start objecting to reporting field service.  Thank you for explaining.  It would be dishonest of me to claim that there is never a problem such as you or Peter have mentioned. I think we are all aware that there are those who just go out to count hours etc. But I have never known a pioneer to last more than a few years just counting hours. If that was the only motivation. Because naturally there cannot be any JOY just counting hours. But to view field service as a Christian duty, and if time and circumstances permit, to do that duty full time, then I don’t see that as a problem. There are duty bound instructions in the Greek scriptures ; you must love your wife as your own body, (even if you can’ stand the sight of her, and hate your body), you must love your neighbour (even if you couldn’t care less about anyone because you are a hermit by nature). Although Jesus instructions to make disciples is not prefixed by a must, it is evidently a command. But it’s not easy for some to come out of their comfort zone and talk to complete strangers.

I think we are unnecessarily placing too much importance on the question of “legality” because really, when we get down to the grass roots, if someone is only concerned with doing things to the “letter” but his doing so is not linked to faith, then that person will eventually fail and will end up with no faith.  However, if we view “legality” as a means of keeping order, and not something that robs one of “Christian freedom” or as per Galatians 3, then we have the right attitude. This will separate the “free riders” from those who are genuine. The term “free rider” I have from an interesting article written by two non-Witnesses in the Journal of Contemporary Religion. Essentially, free riders eventually become nominal Witnesses at best, or totally inactive or disfellowshipped at worst. The authors make a good but obvious point: If free riders were not screened out, then we would have essentially the same situation that exists in all of Christendom’s religions, we would all end up nominal Witnesses (my words).  In any case, what I am trying to say is if we have a proper view of “legality” then this should not interfere with our whole souled service for the right reasons because we would have the "law" written on our hearts.

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14 minutes ago, Anna said:

Thank you for explaining.

A full explanation (aka, a REALLY long post) would probably appear like a pendulum swinging between the extremes of never reporting and reporting everything we are asked to report and then some. (Matthew 23:3) "Therefore, all the things they tell you, do and observe. . ."

Similar to what @PeterR said, my opinions are expressed here as a "thought experiment" for anyone to consider and respond to.

33 minutes ago, Anna said:

However, if we view “legality” as a means of keeping order, and not something that robs one of “Christian freedom” or as per Galatians 3, then we have the right attitude.

Yes, it's possible for "legalism" to exist side-by-side with proper motivation. Jesus dealt with this situation as a necessity during his own ministry when the legalism had not yet been nailed to the stake. Jesus put it this way:

(Matthew 23:23) 23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you give the tenth of the mint and the dill and the cumin, but you have disregarded the weightier matters of the Law, namely, justice and mercy and faithfulness. These things it was necessary to do, yet not to disregard the other things.

Of course, when the Law is written on your hearts, this refers to the total primacy of the heart-felt motivation: "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." But all of us need a bit of tutoring in our motivation, just as the Law was a tutor. But the Law showed us where we came up short, and therefore took away most of the joy.

(Galatians 3:19) Why, then, the Law? It was added to make transgressions manifest, until the offspring should arrive. . .

41 minutes ago, Anna said:

But I have never known a pioneer to last more than a few years just counting hours. If that was the only motivation. Because naturally there cannot be any JOY just counting hours.

This is quite true, but counting hours is not the only motivation in keeping up the "status" of being a pioneer. It's the accolades from men that go with the title. The same could also be said of appointed elders, and ministerial servants, and the various types of overseers in the organization, and yet the terms are Biblical -- and these are privileges to be reached out for. Paul spoke of various thresholds of qualification for those "titles."

But one of the legalistic problems with the various pioneer titles is that when considering something to be "full-time" service, there is no such thing as saying one person is in full-time service and another is not. 400 hours a month might not be full-time to one person, and yet 5 hours a month might be full-time for another. (Remember the widow's "mite.") In truth, all Christians must be full-time; that's what whole-souled means.

(Matthew 22:37-40) . . .“‘You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 The second, like it, is this: ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments the whole Law hangs, . . .

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9 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

But one of the legalistic problems with the various pioneer titles is that when considering something to be "full-time" service, there is no such thing as saying one person is in full-time service and another is not. 400 hours a month might not be full-time to one person, and yet 5 hours a month might be full-time for another. (Remember the widow's "mite.") In truth, all Christians must be full-time; that's what whole-souled means.

 

I would love to have more time for this subject! 

In the way we are accustomed, is nonsense today. Even worse, I think it goes against the biblical spirit. I do not say it is not useful, but it is not biblical. I think it is a remnant of times when we were forced more or less directly to meet goals, reach objectives / numbers.


It also provides a misleading sense of "flock knowledge" to shepherds: many hours = all good; Few = something wrong. But sometimes, the opposite is true!


I have witnessed (as secretary) the brother's embarrassment when delivering a very low report, only that month had problems.


This same week, when recommending the C.O. a new ministerial servant, this brought to light that the hours were "a little scarce". In fact, if the elders know the brothers, we do not need cards. We know if he comes to meetings to preach, if he made arrangements with others... Anyway, I'm not saying that some members with special jobs in our organization should not report. But not for all brotherhood. For you to see how obedient I am, of course, I also report!


By the way, to put gasoline on fire:

(2 Samuel 24:1-3) "The anger of Jehovah again blazed against Israel when one incited David against them, saying: “Go, take a count of Israel and Judah.” So the king said to Joʹab the chief of the army who was with him: “Please go through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beʹer-sheʹba, and register the people, so that I may know the number of the people.” But Joʹab said to the king: “May Jehovah your God multiply the people 100 times, and may the eyes of my lord the king see it, but why does my lord the king want to do such a thing?”
 

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