Take the 2-minute tour ×
Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Do Jehovah's Witnesses have a systematized way of finding specific types of persons?

Jehovah's Witnesses are known by their hallmark door-to-door proselytizing. But what I am interested in is the fact that their choices on which door to knock may not be random but planned. Perhaps, a group of Jehovah's Witnesses may specialize in ministering to specific ethnic groups and then try to find persons that may belong to the ethnic groups, even within the United States. If anybody appears interested, then they may launch a series of "Bible Studies" as a way to proselytize every prospective convert on a case-by-case basis, as well as supporting their own doctrines and rejecting others.

share|improve this question
    
The door to door service is not planned beyond a simple map and the last known definitive "yes or no" as to whether or not the resident has had a chance to hear the message. They check back every now and then to see if there's a new resident, but in general there is no predefined information about who lives where, unless the resident expressed interest and it was apparent they needed a translator or something. (by the way, expressing interest can be as simple as accepting whatever they try to put in your hands, so unless you want them coming back don't take it) –  Bubbles Feb 19 at 2:20
    
@Bubbles Wow. That's some really confrontational proselytizing. –  Anonymous Feb 19 at 2:28
    
It's one of the reasons I am no longer in the organization. I saw too many people seemingly making a game of numbers with the ministry. How many magazines did you place? How many pamphlets? How many hours in the field service this month? How many bible studies? It was like so many people felt like they had to meet a quota. I once saw a drive by witnessing. 2 am. car stops at a bus stop. Magazine placed in someone's hand. drive off. It made me laugh and sigh at the same time. –  Bubbles Feb 19 at 2:38
    
@Bubbles Why do JWs take the proselytizing to mean door-to-door and manually visiting everyone? Is it part of their core doctrines? Have they considered the Orthodox Christian way of evangelism? (Personally, I think the Orthodox Christian way of evangelism, as well as the Amish, is most effective.) –  Anonymous Feb 19 at 6:32
    
They take quite a bit of the statements in the bible as literally as possible. In some ways to a fault, I believe. But as for evangelism, they do not limit it to just door to door service. They also attempt to lead by example in every day life, similar to the general concept of Christian Orthodox. Like a passive "witnessing" in being a constant representation of God at all times. Yes, door to door is part of their doctrine since they take the instruction to spread the word of god very literally. Basic google searches will find those passages in any bible, so I won't hunt down links. –  Bubbles Feb 19 at 18:19

3 Answers 3

Practice will vary from place to place. I live in the middle of Ireland. I’ll try to describe general principles, but this may work out differently in different areas. Each congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses has its own “territory” (roughly analogous to a parish in other denominations, perhaps). That territory will then be subdivided into maps.

The territory of my former congregation covered a few towns and a very large rural area. This is partly because of population demographics: Ireland tends to have a lot of one-off scattered houses in the countryside, while in the UK people are more likely to live in towns and villages. In Germany, I believe, even farmers tend to live in villages, and they commute to their farms in the morning. In Ireland, though, it’s quite common to have houses in the middle of nowhere which have nothing to do with a farm: people just like living in rural areas. Our maps, then, covered different types of territory. A person working such a map would be expected to cover the whole thing: houses and businesses alike. They would keep a record of people not at home, and attempt to call back at a different time of day.

Of course, some people prefer doing different types of work. Some of the urban maps had a note on them: “Businesses on this map are included on a separate business map.” A person working such a map would cover only the houses, leaving the businesses. (I was working on redividing the territory and creating new maps; the business maps were never actually prepared before I left the Witnesses. I assume they have some now.)

There are cases where things would work differently. The most obvious example is when congregations serving different language groups have overlapping territory. In this case, people might try to specifically seek out speakers of the language they are targeting. On one occasion, my mother (an ISL/English interpreter) and a couple of visiting Deaf Witnesses went out specifically looking for Deaf people.

Of course, not all witnessing activity takes place from door to door. In street witnessing, it is relatively easy (and fairly instinctive, actually) to pick out particular people who look more approachable, by whatever metric you use.

I suspect that more targeted witnessing happens in more populated areas, generally. In a rural area, once you’ve spent an hour travelling to the place, you’re going to try to get to everyone.

share|improve this answer

No. Like the person above, I was a Witness for 40+ years. Every congregation is assigned a preaching territory. They try to reach each and every single person in that territory - businesses, funeral homes, even churches. They may (like stated above) divide the territories into sub-categories like businesses, churches, etc., but they do not target specific ethnicities or people.

That being said, their is an unspoken filter. They want (I know I did) people who are eager to accept their version of truth with no more than a little resistance. It is almost as if they want to find people who want to be witnesses on day one....people who are willing to drop all of their former beliefs after read one or two scriptures that support a new one (we well know a scripture taken out of context can and has been used to support all sorts of false teachings).

Witnesses believe they are the ONLY religious group approved by God and the only religion Jesus is leading and dealing with. They think they are the voice of Jesus on earth (no lie) and every other voice, religion, church, teacher is definably apostate. Failing to sheepishly follow them is failing to follow Jesus the Great Shepard. So any dissenting opinion on their preaching is viewed as not being a sheep Jesus would want. Instead you are a goat like one and they should not waste too much time on you!

Funny things is that made perfect sense to me when I was in it, then it started not to kinda make sense and I left...now it just seems so insane that I ever followed that kooky faith at all! Jesus church is the people who follow Jesus and that church is here there and everywhere. Jesus knows his sheep.

share|improve this answer

Our ministry is very organized and each congregation covers their assigned territory thoroughly. (Matthew 24:14) We want everyone to get a change to learn the truth. When we go door to door we don't randomly skip doors, but we may skip one for a variety of reasons. There are different congregations for different languages so that people can learn in their own language. As an example, if a French congregation exists among a predominantly English speaking population, then the door to door work would be different for those in that congregation. They would search out ones that speak French rather than try to preach at every door. Normally if we find someone who speaks a different language, we pass their information along so someone can talk to them in their own language. If the population in one specific area predominantly speaks a different language than the surrounding areas, that would become the territory of a local congregation that speaks that language, assuming one exists. We do offer free home Bible studies and encourage people to study in the language they are most comfortable with. For more information please see the lesson entitled "How Is Our Kingdom-Preaching Work Organized?" from the brochure "Who Are Doing Jehovah’s Will Today?".

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.