Show Fellow Feeling in Your Ministry

– posted by Nobleman

[From ws 3/19 p.20 Study Article 13: May 27- June 2, 2019]

 “He was moved with pity for them . . . And he started to teach them many things.” - JOB 27:5

The preview to this article says “when we show fellow feeling we can increase our joy,  we will consider what we can learn from Jesus’ example , as well as four specific ways that we can show fellow feeling for those whom we meet in the preaching work.

What does it mean to have fellow feeling?

The Cambridge Dictionary defines it as “an understanding or sympathy that you feel for another person because you have a shared experience”.

To be able to show fellow feeling in the ministry the person preaching should be able to identify with the people he or she is preaching to. There must be some kind of shared experience.

Paragraph 2 asks what enabled Jesus to be merciful and compassionate in his dealings with sinful humans.

  • Jesus loved people.

  • “That love for people moved him to become thoroughly acquainted with the way humans think”

  • Jesus had tender feelings for others. People sensed his love for them and responded favorably to the Kingdom message.”

These are very good points.  However, do Jehovah’s Witnesses become thoroughly acquainted with the way that other people think?

That would require them to spend time with non-witnesses, read secular and other religious literature. It would also require the Witnesses to understand their values, aspirations and feelings about a number of issues ranging from politics to culture and maybe even education. They may need to hear what others think of Jehovah’s Witnesses even if what they have to say is not favourable.

How many Witnesses could honestly say they can engage fully on any of those topics?

Paragraph 3 says that if we have fellow feeling we will view the ministry as more than just an obligation. We will want to prove that we care about people and are eager to help them. What the paragraph does not say is, who we would be proving this to? Would it be Jehovah and Jesus? Or would it be the Elders and the Governing Body?

If our motive for preaching is love, then we do not need to prove anything. Our preaching would already be a demonstration of the love we have for people and Jehovah.

In Acts 20:35, Paul was not just speaking about the ministry; he was referring to all the sacrifices he had made on behalf of the congregation.

We do not find any evidence that the number of hours he spent preaching were recorded nor any mention of monthly averages and targets that needed to be met by publishers.


Paragraph 6 says “Jesus was concerned about others, and he felt moved to bring them a message of comfort.”  If we imitate Jesus’ example we will also be moved to comfort others, even doing so in informal discussions.


The four ways to show fellow feeling are good advice:

Paragraph 8  “Consider the needs of each individual

The analogy of a doctor is also very applicable. A doctor always asks questions and examines the patient before prescribing treatment.  The paragraph then goes on “we should not try to use the same approach with everyone we meet in our ministry. Rather, we take into consideration the specific circumstances and viewpoints of each individual.”

What would most people say about the approach of Witnesses in the ministry? Do they really consider other viewpoints with the intention of potentially adjusting their views where the evidence indicates that they should? Or rather are they quick to give an answer to the questions and viewpoints by using through their publications whether written or videos? What about the literature used to study with individuals? Do they seek information from different sources and most relevant to the Individual they are studying with or do they use the same prescribed books before someone can be baptised?

Most witnesses would openly acknowledge that they would never accept any viewpoint which contrasts their literature.

Paragraph 10 - 12  Try to imagine what their life may be like” and  “Be patient with those whom you teach”

The advice provided in the paragraphs can ironically be applied in relation to our relatives and friends who are Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Generally Jehovah’s Witnesses have a strong emotional connection to not just their beliefs but also the Governing Body. This makes it difficult to address problematic doctrinal issues. When it comes to religious views uniting families, this is more of an issue among Witnesses than in other traditional Christian denominations.

Jehovah’s Witnesses are taught that anyone who holds a different view to the Governing Body is an apostate and should therefore not be associated with, even if this is a beloved family member.

The words in paragraph 14: “If we are patient with people in the ministry, we will not expect them to understand or accept Bible truth the first time they hear it. Rather, fellow feeling moves us to help them reason on the Scriptures over a period of time”, are even more applicable to our friends and relatives who are Jehovah’s Witnesses.

When demonstrating flaws in JW doctrine it may require patience, particularly because Witnesses are taught to believe that the Governing Body are Jehovah’s only channel of dispensing spiritual food on earth.

Paragraph 15

For a more detailed discussion regarding humans living on a paradise earth refer to the following series of articles: Mankind’s hope for the Future, Where will it be?

Paragraph 16  “Look for practical ways to show consideration”

Sound and practical advice is offered in this paragraph regarding helping those we preach to with errands and other tasks. Jesus said that love would be the indentifying mark of true Christians (John 13:35). When we extend a helping hand to others their hearts become more receptive to our message.


The Governing Body should apply the advice given to publishers in paragraph 17. The person preaching is not the most important person when it comes to the preaching work. Jehovah is the one who draws people. If that is the case, why does the Organisation place such great emphasis on unquestioned loyalty to them or to a person accepting JW doctrine before getting baptised?

Overall the advice offered in this article is practical. Notwithstanding, a few paragraphs with JW doctrine, we can benefit from applying the four suggested ways of showing fellow feeling in our ministry.

Perhaps a fifth point to be added in showing fellow feeling in the ministry would be to be yielding on matters of conscience. Where the Bible is not explicit on a doctrinal issue, we would never want to undermine the beliefs of others whom we come across in our ministry or insist on our viewpoints.

Archived Comments

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  • Comment by Rufus on 2019-05-26 18:11:07

    "Be Shallow in Your Ministry" is the sub-text for this study article. If we cannot examine our own beliefs in light of the Bible (or history or science), how can we possibly understand the thinking and viewpoints of those we preach to?

  • Comment by Chet on 2019-05-26 19:08:34

    Most of these articles seem like reruns. The approach may differ slightly, but I can remember reading very similar articles in the past, over and over. Sometimes it’s almost as if they use a rotation of topics, reword an old article and run it again. How did I deal with this for 30 years? :)

  • Comment by messenger on 2019-05-27 04:32:34

    "When we show fellow feeling we increase our joy." From the article's preview posted in the article above.

    While I was a brainwashed JW I bought into accepting that self serving use of terminology from Watchtower, without giving it a second thought as to its appropriateness. But years before I left I saw that speech as spiritually flawed.

    Sure scripture state there is more happiness in giving than receiving. But WT has been using this claim and incentive to make yourself FEEL GOOD by serving God in some fashion as long as I've been around it. Do this for your benefit is what keeps dripping out of WT, even when you're already a Christian. And of course it was at the center of our preaching message too. It was our preaching message.

    My point is if a person doesn't find joy in serving God, he is not a Christian. At least not one that Holy Spirit knows as a Christian. WT has to tell its people that you'll have happiness if you serve God? Wake up WT. WT do you feel you are leading Christians or training animals, as if giving a dog a milk bone to roll over.

    As for the constantly rotating information that it rolls out. It happens because of how WT is organized. The writers research previous WT teachings to make sure what they offer is compatible with previous teachings, so they dish out much of the same stuff.

    But this constant serve Jehovah through whatever means WT is pushing at that time to find personal joy and satisfaction I found disgusting years before I left. However, while I was totally brainwashed and a good little servant I didn't.

    It takes being removed from the brainwashing to see what WT really is. Because until that happens you don't really think. Oh, you think you're thinking. But really until that happens you just follow, because you believe WT is what it says it is, and you feel safe if you follow. Safe and happy in that safe space. In your comfort zone.

    Here's a thought for you then. Russell claimed not to have come up with new ideas on his own, but WT writings say he piecemealed his theology from various denominational theological ideas already in existence while he and his little group were reading the Bible. But Christ said Holy Spirit will lead his followers into all truth. Let me qualify that by adding ALL TRUTH necessary for salvation.

    So, why would Russell have to incorporate ideas from denominations he later came to believe were apostate, if Holy Spirit led him? Would Holy Spirit need him to get info from anywhere else but scriptures, if he started the ONLY TRUE religion and he was Spirit directed?

  • Comment by Leonardo Josephus on 2019-05-28 14:00:00

    Well summarised, Nobleman. Most witnesses cannot cope with any sort of challenge to their beliefs - writing them off as "Their heart is not right". Think of the most obvious challenges :-
    You people break up families, or
    You don't celebrate birthdays, or
    You think only a limited number go to heaven, or
    You would allow your children to die

    How much evidence would most witnesses offer ? One scripture if you are lucky.

    Jesus, on the other hand, demonstrated flaws in the teachings of well planned questions from religious leaders. JWs go from house to house claiming to know their Bible, but all they usually know is what they have been taught, and because they trust that what they were taught is truth, just cannot reason on it. Mind you, if they could, they might be here with us.

    God bless all here

  • Comment by Mara Fayde on 2019-05-29 12:16:29

    “why does the Organisation place such great emphasis on unquestioned loyalty to them or to a person accepting JW doctrine before getting baptized?”

    That comment reminded me of the account of high priest Eli’s sons. How they would intercept the sacrifice before it could be offered up to Jehovah on the altar, consuming the best parts.

    In the same way, the leaders of the Organization intercept what belongs to Jehovah: loyalty, obedience, accountability. They stand between the one offering and Jehovah, greedily claiming such sacrifices for themselves. And we all know how Jehovah felt about Hophni and Phineas...

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