UNIT 1 (b)

Loving Overseers Working
With the Congregation

As overseers work with the congregation, they should
make it their goal always to imitate the loving ways of the
Supreme Overseer, Jehovah. In the same manner as Jehovah
has shown consideration for the disadvantaged and needy, so
also overseers should be sensitive to the needs of the aged, the
sick, the new ones, the young, and those who need material
assistance. Even as our heavenly Father has shown interest in
the spiritual growth and advancement of all of his intelligent
creatures, so overseers today ought to demonstrate a constant
interest in the spiritual well-being and advancement of all in
the congregation. (Ps. 146:7-9) No doubt you would like to
be of even greater assistance to your brothers in these matters.

What Kind of Overseer Are You?

Very likely you are a busy person, leading a full life with
many responsibilities.

If you are married, you have a wife and most likely
children to care for spiritually, physically, and emotion-

Caring for this primary responsibility requires time and
thought. (w8611/1 p. 22)

Your secular employment can be very demanding of your
energy, time, and emotions.

Other important matters involving Kingdom interests,
such as personal study, preparation for meetings, field
service, and helping and encouraging publishers in many
ways, tax your time.

Maintenance and cleaning of' the Kingdom Hall need to
be scheduled and carried out, and at times your help
may be needed when new Kingdom Halls are built.

You also need rest and relaxation.

Elders can learn to become proficient and to keep balance
so that all necessary matters receive proper attention.


At 2 Corinthians 11:24-27, the apostle Paul mentioned
some of the great pressures that he faced, and yet he said
in verse 28 that from day to day, there was also rushing
in on him "anxiety for all the congregations."

You, as a loving overseer, feel a similar concern for all the
brothers and sisters in your congregation.

Paul wrote to Timothy: "I am grateful to Christ Jesus our
Lord, who imparted power to me, because he considered
me faithful by assigning me to a ministry." (I Tim.
1: 12)

Appreciation for the loving-kindness and mercy shown us
by Jehovah and his Son, as well as our love for them and
for our brothers, moves us to serve the congregation as
fully as possible, despite other responsibilities.

Therefore, do not rely on your own wisdom and

Always petition Jehovah for his wisdom to direct
you in doing his work, especially when problems or
circumstances arise that you have never experienced
or handled before. (Jas. 1:5 )

Pray for holy spirit. It can provide power beyond
what is normal. (Luke 11:13; 2 Cor. 4:7, 8, 16)

The congregation prays that Jehovah will bless your
efforts to serve him and his people as a loving overseer.

Working With
Individuals Who Have Special Needs

At I Peter 2:17, we are encouraged not only to "honor
men of all sorts," including secular rulers (vs. 13), but
also to have "love for the whole association of brothers."

By taking personal interest in your brothers and sisters,
you stay awake to their needs and are in a position to show
them appropriate love and honor.

All the flock of God need to feel the loving shepherding of
the elders.

The aged and the sickly often need special attention. ( w87 6/1 pp. 10-12)

These may need assistance in practical ways.

"Pay Attention to Yourselves and to All the Flock"


They may need someone to cook for them, wash and
iron their clothes, clean their homes, run errands.

They often need encouragement and reassurance that
the elders cane about them and are interested in them.
(1 Thess. 5:14)

They may need someone to help them get to the meetings,
read to them, or in other ways help them to stay spiritually

Consider ways that you can provide such practical

Other brothers and sisters can help you carry the load.

Invite them to volunteer.

Make definite arrangements as to how they can

It is important to check periodically to see that someone
is following through on arrangements made to give

Your being alert to such needs and providing the appropri-
ate assistance will mark you as a loving overseer.

You may be sure that this is well pleasing to Jehovah.
(Heb. 13:1, 16)

Individuals with medical problems who are facing the
blood issue need special assistance.

Even before they enter the hospital, some may need help
in making sure that medical and legal papers are fitting and
that the necessary medical personnel have been spoken
to in order to avoid a transfusion (g91 3/8 pp 3-8;
11/90 pp 3.-6 )

Visit the patient in the hospital.

Pray with, strengthen, and comfort the patient, also
relatives, such as the parents of a sick child. (Jas. 5:13 )

If the patient is faced with the blood issue, elders can do
much to keep the situation calm and to reason with
doctors and unbelieving relatives.

On rare occasions a situation requires a 24-hour watch.

UNIT 1(b)


The Hospital Liaison Committee should be called only
when the patient needs a cooperative doctor, when a
confrontation develops, or when a threat to force blood
on the patient is unresolved.

All elders should have a copy of the list showing names
and telephone numbers of committee members. Keep it
in an accessible file with appropriate references, such as
"Questions From Readers" in The Watchtower, June 1, 1990, pages 30-1, and March 1, 1989, pages 30-1; the brochure How Can Blood Save Your Life?; the booklet Jehovah's Witnesses and the Question of Blood; and Our Kingdom Ministry, November 1990, pages 3-6.

Committee members can help by:

Finding cooperative doctors, hospitals, and so forth.

Reasoning with physicians on alternatives to blood.

Discretion should be used in determining what, if any,
assistance might be given on a humanitarian basis to those
not having a good standing in the congregation.

For example, if a disfellowshipped one takes a firm
stand on the blood issue, local elders or the Hospital
Liaison Committee could share information with the
family out of consideration for those faithful ones.

In major cities some elders are especially assigned as mem-
bers of Patient Visitation Groups to visit hospitals regularly
to assist Witness patients.

This arrangement does not relieve local elders of their
responsibility to visit the sick at home and in the

Newly associated ones are especially in need of attention.

When they first come to the Kingdom Hall, new ones
may feel like strangers; we want to change that feeling to
one of warm friendship.

If you notice a new one standing by himself or talking
only with the one who studies with him, take the initiative
to approach and greet him and introduce him to others.

Teach attendants to greet new ones, and occasionally
remind them to do this.

"Pay Attention to Yourselves and to All the Flock"


Train all the brothers and sisters to take the initiative
in approaching new ones and getting acquainted with

So that you may encourage and help others, be sure
to arrive at the meetings early and stay for a while
after the program.

You can associate with new ones at other times also,
perhaps visiting with them in their home or yours.

Such personal interest lets them see that genuine
love exists among Jehovah's people. (John 13:35)

It also fills the void created when they cut off
former associations and worldly entertainment.

Young members of the congregation need to be strength-
ened to resist "the desires incidental to youth." (2 Tim.

Parents have the primary responsibility to care for the
needs of their children. (Eph. 6:4; Col. 3:21 )

However, the young ones are a part of the congregation,
and elders have a responsibility toward them also and
should show genuine interest in them.

Why is knowing the full names of all the youth in your
congregation helpful?

Many youths do not have a father or a mother in the
truth, and some have no relatives in the truth.

They deserve the consideration that is to be shown
to "the fatherless boy." (Job 29:12; Jas. 1:27)

EXPERIENCE: One teenager was given atten-
tion by an elder. He would pick the boy up every
time he was going to help with the building
of the Kingdom Hall. Each day after they fin-
ished their work on the hall, they would go to get
some refreshments and take time to converse.
The boy grew up and became a circuit overseer.
He remembered this elder's concern as a major
factor in his spiritual development.

Take note of ways that you and others can assist and
encourage young ones in the congregation, and continual-
ly assure them of your interest.

UNIT 1 (b)


Seek them out to engage them in conversation at the
Kingdom Hall and elsewhere.

Encourage them to express themselves.

Eagerly listen to their viewpoints and their prob-
lems; be slow to criticize, quick to commend.

Help young ones build confidence in Jehovah, and help
them to esteem highly the privilege of being Jehovah's
Witnesses. (w85 8/15 pp. 11-21)

Develop helpful interest in their schooling.

Show a keen concern for youth who have difficulty
adjusting to adulthood.

Make them feel wanted and needed in the congregation.

Help them to see how they can be helpful and
encouraging to others by their presence and partici-
pation at the meetings and in the field service.

Use ingenuity in devising assignments for exemplary
ones, such as using them to assist with roving mi-
crophones, tidy up the restrooms after each meet-
ing, and straighten up the chairs.

List some responsibilities appropriate to your

Suggest attainable goals for them, such as weekly partic-
ipation in field service or commenting at every meeting.

Talk with them about pioneer work, Bethel and mis-
sionary service, auxiliary pioneering, and so forth.

Work with them in the field service.

Help them to make progress in various features of
this activity, such as in filling out house-to-house
record slips, organizing their book bags, and learn-
ing how to make return visits and start Bible studies.

Examine what is being done to encourage and assist young
ones in your congregation.

Pioneers need encouragement and help in many ways.

Make a periodic check to see what encouragement pio-
neers need, and assist them in practical ways.

Are meetings for field service begun and ended on time?

"Pay Attention to Yourselves and to All the Flock"


Is sufficient territory available for the pioneers? Have
they lost some of their joy? If so, why?

Arrange to work with them in field service on a regular

If some have genuine material needs, others (including
elders) may be able to assist.

Assist persons who are in need materially.

It is not enough just to wish them well. (Jas. 2:15-17;
1 John 3:16-18)

They may need advice or actual assistance in getting
appropriate secular employment.

They may need advice and assistance in making applica-
tion to receive aid provided by Caesar for the needy.
(w66 2/1 pp. 95-6)

Children, grandchildren, or other family members who
could help may need reminders or encouragement to do
so. (1 Tim. 5:4, 8; w 87 6/1 pp. 13-18)

There may be individuals in the congregation who
would readily help if they knew there was a need.

If other assistance is not available, the needy person
may qualify to receive assistance from the congregation.
( 1 Tim. 5:3-10; w 87 6/1 pp. 8-13; om pp. 122-3)

When there are official restrictions on the work, the
brothers are in special need of encouragement and direc-
tion. (Isa. 32:1, 2)

Arrangements need to be made so that all members of the
congregation will be well fed spiritually on a regular basis.

Do not neglect encouraging the brothers to share regularly
in the witnessing activity. (Rom. 10:10)

In case of a natural disaster, arrange to provide comfort
spiritually and to assist the brothers physically and mate-
rially. (w73 3/1 pp. 134-5; w73 2/1 pp. 95-6)

Determine if any of the brothers were injured or lost their
life and what care is being administered.

Check to see what government aid may be available. (w66
2/1 pp. 95-6)

UNIT 1 (b)


Arrangements must be made for the brothers to be fed
spiritually on a regular basis.

Following a natural disaster, the brothers can make good
use of opportunities to comfort others spiritually and, to
the extent possible, to help in practical ways according to
the need.

When an emergency arises because of a natural disaster or
political unrest, responsible elders should quickly contact
the branch office by telephone.

The branch office will provide direction related to the
establishment of a relief committee if needed.

Steps the relief committee should take include the fol-

Follow through on the emergency measures initiat-
ed by local elders.

Quickly assess property damage and the needs of
local publishers.

Establish headquarters, perhaps using a Kingdom

Collect and distribute needed funds, food, supplies,
and building materials; coordinate assistance for
those having needs.

Do not solicit funds by writing letters or verbally asking
for assistance.

After relief has been administered, submit a detailed
written report to the Society, including a written record
showing all receipts and disbursements of relief funds.

Brothers and sisters witnessing in dangerous territory,
such as high-crime areas or war-torn zones (apply local-
ly), also need loving assistance. (Matt. 10:16)

The organization has suggested precautions that would be
advisable for publishers who witness in dangerous areas.
(km 4/85 p. 8)

Additional precautions may be appropriate for the broth-
ers witnessing in your territory.

"Pay Attention to Yourselves and to All the Flock"


Your own family has special needs.

Christian husbands have as their primary God-given re-
sponsibility the care and salvation of their families. (w59
9/15 pp. 548-54)

Occasionally, those in the congregation demand time and
attention that an elder should rightfully give to his family.
Shepherding begins at home. (w83 9/1 pp. 234; w66 5/1 pp. 271-2)

Aiding the brothers in these ways takes time and effort.

Elders are understandably limited in what they can do.

Love for the whole association of brothers will prompt us
to do what we can to help those in need. (2 Cor. 8:1-12)

Help Your Brothers to Make Progress

Consider areas in which you should endeavor to make
progress. (1 Tim. 4:12-15)

Set goals for yourself continually.

Help brothers who have the potential to become ministe-
rial servants make progress in that direction.

Brothers who are regular publishers and demonstrate a
desire to be used can be given certain assignments to
perform around the Kingdom Hall.

Before being appointed as an elder or a ministerial servant,
a brother must be "tested as to fitness first." ( I Tim. 3:10)

Your being alert to give qualified brothers something to
do in the congregation will provide an opportunity for
such testing and will give them added training.

Giving due consideration to their exemplary conduct,
activity in the ministry, and fine spiritual outlook, the
elders can determine what would be best for these broth-

Keep in mind that not all have the same abilities
or circumstances, so be discreet in assigning broth-
ers things to do. (1 Cor. 12:4-7; w68 4/1 p. 209)

According to what is needed and appropriate, encour-
age reliability, industriousness, modesty, and humility.
( Prov. 9:8b, 9 )

UNIT 1 (b)


In order for you to get better acquainted with these
brothers, you may wish to visit with them occasionally
in their home or have them come to yours.

Accompany them in the evangelizing work.

Help them to progress in the field ministry by
application of Kingdom Ministry suggestions, and
help them to find pleasure in sharing the good news
with others.

Teach them to show interest in their brothers, tak-
ing others with them in field service as often as

They may need to set a better example in encourag-
ing their wife and children in this activity.

Be generous in giving commendation to these brothers
when progress is made; it is a powerful force that often
motivates persons to continue progressing. (1 Cor.

If a brother is lacking certain qualifications needed by a
ministerial servant, it would be a kindness to speak with
him about the matter and give practical suggestions that
might help him to develop the needed qualifications.

Train ministerial servants who arc reaching out for the
office of overseer.

A brother may need experience in shepherding.

Provide training by taking him along on certain shep-
herding calls.

After a call you might ask him how he would have
handled certain things that came up.

This may enable you to see how he reasons.

You may be able to help him improve his ability
to exhort.

After he has expressed himself, you might explain
to him why you handled the situation as you did.

A brother may need greater discernment in the practical
application of Bible principles.


"Pay Attention to Yourselves and to All the Flock"

Suggest that he regularly read the Bible and certain past
Watchtower articles and Society publications.

The body of elders may extend greater teaching privileges
to capable ministerial servants who make fine advance-
ment and meet the requirements.

From time to time, encouragement and counsel should be
given to these brothers.

Although our sisters will never be ministerial servants or
elders, they need help to make progress also.

Some may be encouraged to share in auxiliary or regular
pioneer service.

Adequate field service arrangements should be made for
the sisters when you are not able to be with them.

Consider other ways in which you can encourage and help
your sisters, including single parents.

Urge sisters to become more effective in developing and
conducting Bible studies.

Periodically, elders should meet together to consider
what can be done to help others advance

Since you have many responsibilities, look for occasions
when you can combine one activity with another and thus
accomplish both at the same time.

An example of this would be arranging to work in the
field service with a publisher who needs spiritual en-

Give other examples.

Joyful Results

Congregation members feel secure as they benefit from
the concern, assistance, and protection of loving over-
seers working with them. (Compare Ezekiel 34:11-16. )

Servants of Jehovah are glad to cooperate and exert them-
selves vigorously in his work. (Rom. 12:11, 12)

Many arc motivated to imitate the faith of loving over-
seers as they see how the overseers' conduct turns out.
(Heb. 13:7)

Jehovah is honored by those who devotedly imitate him.

UNIT 1 (b)