[From ws15/04 p. 3 for June 1-7]
“There is an appointed time for everything.” – Eccl. 3:1
A friend who is still serving as an elder was complaining to me that more than half his elder body is too old or infirm to function as overseers. Of the few remaining, all are in their sixties. The amount of work he is called upon to do, what with preparing parts and handling all the paperwork and administrative duties that the Organization imposes, has stripped him of all joy. He feels overburdened and tired all the time, and would like to resign from his position, but can’t because that would just add to the burden of the others. They have many younger ones, but none are reaching out. All keep their hours down to the point where they are just at or under the congregation average so that they will not even be considered when the circuit overseer comes. Another friend who is getting close to 70 complained that his annual convention assignment is getting more and more difficult to fulfill, yet no one wants to take over for him and it’s becoming increasingly harder to get volunteers to help out. I remember a time when we were all eager to volunteer to work at the conventions, and when such overseer assignments as my friend has were esteemed. Now he’s looking to offload it but can find no takers.
As I have traveled from congregation to congregation, I’ve taken note of who the elders are and find this situation is common. The elder bodies are aging and fewer and fewer young ones are stepping up to the plate.
Based on the May broadcast, donations are declining. Now we find evidence that enrollment in areas of service is also declining. What is happening?
The two opening articles in this month’s study edition of The Watchtower are an attempt to reverse this trend. This is going to seem glib, but I’m afraid that this is the Organizational equivalent of “Take two Aspirin and call me in the morning.” The problem isn’t a lack of adequate training. The problem is a lack of spirit!
At Ps 110:3 the Bible prophesies:
“Your people will offer themselves willingly on the day of your military force.
In the splendors of holiness, from the womb of the dawn,
You have your company of young men just like dewdrops.” (Ps 110:3)
God’s holy spirit and a steady diet of Bible truth are what cause young men and women to willingly offer themselves for service to the Lord. (John 4:23) If the spirit is lacking, if the food consists of a mixture of truth and falsehood, then no amount of spiritual training will help.
Jesus was the best teacher who ever walked this earth, but people didn’t follow him for his training abilities. They followed him because he loved them and they felt the love. They wanted to be like him. Those who succeeded, learned how to love others as he did. They became filled with the holy spirit.
This week’s article encourages elders to want to train others. If the holy spirit is in a man, then he will manifest that first fruit of the spirit: Love! (Ga 5:22) Willingness to train others will follow as night follows day.
There are elders who are full of the spirit, but in my experience, having worked with them at all levels of the Organization and in several countries and branches, these spiritual men are in an ever-shrinking minority. When I look back over the past 40 years and reflect on every case I’ve seen where elders (and others) were mistreated, it is always—and I say this without exaggeration—those who were the most faithful, loyal, and loving. Those who were persecuted were the exemplary ones, the ones who stood up for what was right. If you really wanted training, they were the ones the “learner” would be drawn to. If the student feels little or no respect for the teacher, it is very difficult to learn from him and almost impossible to imitate him.
So the issue isn’t lack of training. The rank and file are not sitting on the sidelines waiting for someone to train them. Having received a steady barrage of organizational indoctrination, repeated calls for loyalty and obedience to men, and a steady McDiet of ‘food at the proper time’, the evidence is now plain for all to see that this people is not offering themselves willingly on the day of Jehovah’s military force.
Jehovah’s word cannot fail to come true, so the Governing Body must look to themselves and the food they are dispensing to explain why the offerings, both of time and money, are now declining.
Im a one of jehovah witness , im deaf.
@John boy ndala, you can’t hear with your ears but your on this site because your heart has heard something, welcome.
Just think how “valueless” all those publications from 1919 onward have been; outdated and discarded by the GB. Books collecting dust in many KH libraries.
In contrast, the Bible never becomes valueless nor outdated. Why? It contains the TRUTH. And the truth never changes. How about WT publications? They are perhaps the GREATEST SOURCE of unending revisions, adjustments, and corrections that are purportedly done with the help of God’s spirit. By comparison, we now know where the truth truly belongs. 🙂
Do you think the following stated position of the Watchtower Society, builds respect for the bible, God’s Holy Word or insidiously destroys it. *** w08 4/15 p. 7 par. 19 Repudiate “Valueless Things” *** “A sound rule is found in the words of the apostle Paul: “Do not go beyond the things that are written.” (1 Cor. 4:6) Elders do not go beyond the things that are written in the Bible. And by extension, they do not go beyond the Bible-based counsel written in the publications of the faithful and discreet slave.” Now, you can address the question of whether… Read more »
They want brothers to be trained by following along from an outline while the Elder gives a public talk. For what? So he can learn how to sling the same hash that’s been doled out over the last few years? Nothing original; nothing spiritually refreshing. I remember back in the sixties and into the seventies when brothers, (and some exceptionally gifted), would put together their own talks. The GB put a stop to that for whatever reason.
I may be old school, but how I envy the simple, uncomplicated life of the first century Christians. I think having an organization has brought with it a corporate mentality that allows human reasoning and spiritual “profits” to dominate. This perverted form of so-called Christianity has caused some of our finest Elders to lose their joy, and it shows. The GB are not helping these men do what Jesus did-help those that are toiling and loaded down. So glad I’m no longer a part of this madness.
They used to have a strange view of 1 john 5 v 3 in our congregation . They used to use the verse to show that all we did on behalf of the religion could not be a burden . So if we were finding it so . There was something wrong with our attitude !!! It must have been our fault perhaps we were spending too much time making a living or relaxing . . The theme of the article is true .There is an appointed time for everything but only if it involves serving the organisation .!! .… Read more »
@Bobcat & Mailman, yes isn’t it amazing that the GB are blind to the idea that THEY are the problem along with their atrocious doctrines and procedures.
The other problem which gets back to the actual spiritual diet,it isn’t a diet at all, without real truth the problems just become self perpetuating and around it all goes again.So all these new young elders and COs are going to go through their cognitive dissonance in the future , in the meantime the only ones who suffer are the faithful who think they are following Jehovah,the whole thing stinks.
Meleti, your words: “When I look back over the past 40 years and reflect on every case I’ve seen where elders (and others) were mistreated, it is always—and I say this without exaggeration—those who were the most faithful, loyal, and loving. Those who were persecuted were the exemplary ones, the ones who stood up for what was right.” This is what happened to my husband who served as an elder for many years – persecuted by the elder body in serious ways, yet searched out by the congregation members for his understanding and attention to their needs. Many cannot fit… Read more »
Hello everyone When I saw the title of this study, I was in two minds whether to simply read it and think about it rather than copy it like I usually do. I opted for the latter in the hope that there would be, as usual, some thoughts that would come to form my responses to the ‘questions’. Mind you, most of the time, I wouldn’t answer with too much connection to the spirit of the question let alone what the GB would probably want. In saying this, could I just share a thought I had during the study .… Read more »
Following reading the poem called ‘Apology’ (thank you), I found another poem about the Chariots of Heaven.
And I share with you a sentiment expressed – that the Truth is a most very precious find.
Much much love to you all.
In all these comments it seems right to quote our Master’s own words in Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
I’m no longer serving as an Elder due to health reasons and matters of conscience. However, I can bear witness to the fact that the workload is overwhelming. I now watch the brothers from the sidelines struggle to keep pace with the organization and am so glad I’m no longer part of this spiritually exhausting rat race. I find brothers come to me for counsel because they feel, as I’ve been told, I can be more objective in understanding their situation. My comments, based on many solid scriptural reasonings from this website, push the envelope to the limit during the… Read more »
The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the seat of Moses. Therefore, all the things they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds, for they say but they do not practice what they say. They bind up heavy loads and put them on the shoulders of men, but they themselves are not willing to budge them with their finger. (Mt23:2-4)
Think they are making the article for the congregation because of the brothers present that are not reaching out, and perhaps the wives of some that may not want their husbands to have the responsibility and less time spent with them, just a thought. Also down under there are many very young elders, seems they are becoming younger as the years have past, some in their mid twenties, many in their thirties, I know from talk among sisters that they find would be difficult to go to a much younger elder for advice, think some of the older brothers not… Read more »
In our congregation it was like as if there was a policy to keep us permenantly under staffed .There were quite a few fine brothers that i felt could have come on board but were knocked back by some crazy reasoning . Even though we couldnt cope to do all the things asked of us . .most of us had to go to work as well . It was like having 2 jobs . And then got moaned at because we hadnt worked hard enough . we had missed out this or that .!! That seems to be the gist… Read more »
Just this weekend past I was in field service with our congregation coordinater, all he talked about was his work load and how he was struggling even to sleep ,he wanted me to requalify as an elder,I just looked at him with compassion and said ” Ime going 4wd driving with the family in the snow next weekend wish I could help.”
I remember years ago a CO talking about keeping our spirituality alive & all that we need to do. He said that if we are prestudying for all the meetings, attending all the meetings, commenting at the meetings, personal study, family study, the weekly Bible reading, daily text, keeping up with reading all the magazines & other publications & having a meaningful share in field service then we are just keeping our head above the water. [My wife still brings this up at times when she wants to guilt trip me into DOING more for Jehovah] He said that we… Read more »
The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the seat of Moses. 3 Therefore, all the things they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds, for they say but they do not practice what they say.a 4 They bind up heavy loads and put them on the shoulders of men,b but they themselves are not willing to budge them with their finger.
Ray B, You asked, “How many brothers really want to take on more burdens for the sake of so called privileges in the congregations? “Matthew 17:24-27: “After they arrived in Capernaum the men collecting the two drachmas [tax] approached Peter and said: “Does YOUR teacher not pay the two drachmas [tax]?” 25 He said: “Yes.” However, when he entered the house Jesus got ahead of him by saying: “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth receive duties or head tax? From their sons or from the strangers?” 26 When he said: “From the strangers,” Jesus said… Read more »
I noticed that the elders without empathy usually last longer than the empathetic ones. I suspect that it is because not many turn to the ones without empathy. Whereas the ones with empathy attract a lot more individuals who need to pour out their pains. And that can take its toll after a while.
about rolled outta my chair on the “McDiet” statement …one can’t marginalize the above truth ever …my own digress is here ..which in this case is the “apology” one makes for one’s own error and attempts to “cover” the errors of “the system” of abuse ..this piece fully reinforces this “sunday talk ”
I think your poem expresses sentiments we all share these days. Thank you.
What can I add? For how many decades I served, loyally putting heart and soul into my ministry. Now that I’ve seen the mistaken doctrines and attitudes I once preached and taught, from which I now repent, there are those who believe that mere silence accuses the GB of their own lack of repentance. Whether my repentance bears any consequence on them is of no consequence to me, but for the sake of my own conscience and all others being marginalized in the wake of this current organizational rejuvenation, I now see more clearly that silence speaks louder than any… Read more »
Sorry, this was a mis-post meant for another thread.
Now, regarding the article, I’m somewhat mystified how anointing my car with oil to prevent it coming to a grinding halt has anything to do with Samuel anointing Saul to become king. And let’s bear in mind that Samuel was an appointed judge who was specifically told by Jehovah to anoint him. Can we really be so presumptuous?
Elders how do you feel about training others . The article seems to be saying that the problem lies with the attitude of the elders toward other younger brothers in the congregation as the reason why many are not reaching out . ! I know when my son was approached about reaching out he declined and said no hes quite happy as he is . The reason he cited was he had seen how overworked and stressed i was !! one elder in our congregation had a nervous breakdown and i was close .! The yoke is supposed to be… Read more »
It’s funny that, while acknowledging that elders are often stretched thin as it is, the article doesn’t even hint at any plans to alleviate their burdens. Instead, elders are asked to stretch their time even more to include teaching the next generation. Now that reminds me of a scripture I once read….
I hope there would be a site or a separate forum aligned to this site where privileged brothers – active and former DO’s, CO’s and overseers, can be invited to participate, air freely their TRUE concerns about their responsibilities outside of the claws of the GB.
I seem to recall reading in a WT article back in the 70s, a statement from a clergyman who admired the tenacity of the witnesses for their preaching work and asked “why cant our people be so eager to share their faith.” WT answer: Their spiritual diet was lacking. In other words, it was the churches who were at fault because they served up non nutritious spiritual junk food. Well, well, well, NOW look whose serving up the McDiet menu and reaping lethargic Christians.
I was recommended to become an elder 3x but turned it down also 3x. Since waking up early 2013, it dawned on me it would be a nightmare to accept that privilege. Still clinging though to being an MS since then. Serving God is different from giving into all the whims of the Organization, the Governing Body. Being a YES man to every organizational command is very far from the truth.
I still recall with awe (awe-inspiring in the sense of picking my jaw off the floor after I read about it) that some elder made a statement to the circuit overseer to the effect that because of the verse in Acts (“we must obey God as ruler rather than men) he reserved the right not to obey a GB directive if he sincerely believed it to be unscriptural. Not that he ever did disobey, but he felt had the right and obligation not to obey an unscriptural request, even if it came from the GB. The story ends with this… Read more »
I told a CO that I trust God and Christ, everybody else (including the “faithful slave” had to ‘sign the paper.’
I was trying to quote a DO from a few years before who told the audience at a CA that ‘we trust God and Christ; everyone else had to put it in writing.’ So my ‘quote’ was a little less than perfect. Nevertheless, the CO wasn’t impressed. He wanted to arrange a meeting with a couple of elders and report me to the Society.
So I don’t doubt the story you heard.
They wanted to “report you”? You mean, the same way that informants “report” to the Communist Party about the activities of their neighbors and “friends”?
Truly, more is required of us than to simply ‘wake up’. We must finish ‘waking’ and start ‘walking’.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Aren’t these brothers – DO’s. CO’s, local elders – supposed to be “gifts in men”? Or every time there’s a “divergent” in the organization, they transform into “burdens in men”?
To Mailman below: Ephesians 4:8 says (in the nwt) “when he ascended on high he carried away captives; he gave gifts in men.” Every other translation I have says (in slightly different ways), “he gave gifts TO men.” Not a big difference, and yet the meaning carries such a greatly different connotation.
I made some comments and links to posts on the DTT site with regard to how this mis-rendering of Eph 4:8 affects their explanation of the parable of the talents. (See comments and links in the third paragraph under the title “The Parable of the Slaves Entrusted with a Lot of Money,” here; See this post for why “people” is preferable to “men” in that verse.)
To TruthSeeker: Ephesians 4:8 is a quote from Psalms 68:18. The interlinear I found online has this literally saying, “you have received gifts among men”. I suspect that perhaps no one has translated this correctly, and in any case, using this verse to somehow give scriptural support to the provision of elders and MS’s in the WT organization is going beyond what is written. Whatever Ephesians and Psalms is discussing, that isn’t it.
Good observations, Meleti. But if the new convention brochure, the one that purports to hold a hand out to the ‘lost sheep,’ is any indication, there will be no return to reality for the GB. If you’ve left or faded (according to the brochure), it was because of some spiritual or moral fault on your own part. It is not imaginable to the GB that someone backed away due to trying to keep a good conscience toward God. It appears (to me) that they cannot fathom such a possibility. And for any ‘fader,’ trying to come back, to admit to… Read more »
I tend to agree.
I neglected to add Acts 23:1, 2 to my post:
Looking intently at the San′he·drin Paul said: “Men, brothers, I have behaved before God with a perfectly clear conscience down to this day.” 2 At this the high priest An·a·ni′as ordered those standing by him to strike him on the mouth. (NWT)
The WT is not dissimilar to the religious leaders here. Paul was struck because, from the point of view of the Sanhedrin, it was not possible to be a Christian AND have a “perfectly clear conscience” toward God.