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I was given an invite to a convention by Jehovah's Witnesses. It says on the bottom "FREE ADMISSION" and "NO COLLECTIONS TAKEN" and the couple who gave it to me had mentioned that there are quite a few conventions around USA.

Considering the cost of renting the convention sites, and what other costs there may be, I got curious on how their meetings are funded. The questions I would like to ask:

  1. Do Jehovah's Witnesses do collections in any other meetings, or have they ever done so in the past?
  2. Do they have membership fees or other automatic/mandatory fees (such as mandatory purchase of books or study material), or have they have such in the past?

I would prefer an answer from a Jehovah's Witness.

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I'm one of Jehovah's Witnesses.

Jehovah's Witnesses have always been financed by voluntary, anonymous donations. All speakers and those in the ministry work are unpaid. They find that soliciting money is a major cause of corruption in churches, and have made it a theological point to let people make their donations a matter of personal choice.

Let each one do just as he has resolved in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. —2 Corinthians 9:7

At Kingdom Hall meetings, there are two donation boxes in the rear of the hall which people may choose to put money in. One box is for paying for local congregation expenses (such as electricity and water bills), and the other box is for contributing to worldwide expenses (such as for printing literature, Kingdom Hall construction work, or branch office expenses). The congregation is kept informed about local expenses and account balances, but donations are never solicited or mandatory. People can also donate online at jw.org.

At conventions, there are usually contribution boxes here and there in the concourse areas. At least in the United States, there is usually also at least one contribution box that also has a credit/debit card reader beside it. The convention expenses are paid for by worldwide donations.

For more information on and the history of how Jehovah's Witnesses have handled monetary matters, there's Chapter 18 - How Kingdom Activities Are Financed from one of the more recently released books, God's Kingdom Rules.

There's also the FAQ: How Is the Work of Jehovah’s Witnesses Financed?

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I was brought up as a Jehovah’s Witness. There are no “membership fees” and neither is a collection plate passed around at meetings. However, there are contribution boxes at the back of the Kingdom Hall and this is where Witnesses place their financial donations. Witnesses voluntarily contribute towards the running costs of the Kingdom Hall and the worldwide activities of the organization. It is out of such contributions that the running costs for national branch offices and the headquarters in the U.S.A. are met. These costs are considerable, even though the full-time workers receive only their board and lodgings and a small monthly allowance.

During the 2018 service year, Jehovah’s Witnesses spent over $214 million in caring for special pioneers, missionaries, and circuit overseers in their field service assignments. Worldwide, a total of 20,331 ordained ministers staff the branch facilities. All are members of the Worldwide Order of Special Full-Time Servants of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Source: https://www.jw.org/en/publications/books/2018-service-year-report/2018-grand-totals/

When I was a Witness we had to pay for the literature that we used when going from door to door. Back then, we sold the Watchtower and Awake magazines to interested persons. Pioneers (those who devoted part of their time to the preaching activity) would make a small mark-up on the sale of literature in order to help them cover their costs. Special Pioneers (who were full-time in the ministry) also received a monthly allowance from the Society so they could pay for rent and food. To the best of my knowledge, this was the case since the 1930’s (when my parents became Witnesses).

Changes were introduced when the Society claimed income tax relief on the basis that they were providing free education. It became illegal to sell the literature – it had to be given away free of charge. But the Witnesses still pay for the literature they order and then give away.

As for Assemblies and Conventions, the costs of hiring large halls or stadiums and the other expenses incurred in hosting such gatherings used to be met by the congregations in the particular circuit or district in which they were held. Since 5 May 2014 changes to congregational financial commitments were introduced. All congregations (world-wide) were instructed that they had to pool their resources to support the construction of “theocratic facilities” wherever they are needed. That involved each congregation resolving (committing) to make a monthly contribution to H.Q. in order to pay for Kingdom Hall and Assembly Hall construction work worldwide.

“Elders should review this resolution annually in May to ensure the amount is what the congregation is realistically able to donate on a monthly basis. For example, there may be a significant increase or decrease in the number of publishers in the congregation, or the local economic conditions may appreciably improve or deteriorate, thus affecting the amount that the congregation can reasonably contribute. If necessary, the elders may take a new financial survey, as described above, to determine whether the resolved monthly contribution to Kingdom Hall and Assembly Hall construction worldwide should be adjusted for the coming year.” – March 29, 2014 BOE letter, page 2

However, no collections have ever been made in either a Kingdom Hall or at a regional, national or international convention. All costs are borne by the Witnesses who make financial donations to the organization, whether by placing money in the boxes at the back of the Kingdom Hall, or by monthly electronic contributions or by bequeathing their money/property/stocks/bonds/shares in a will. When my father died at the end of 1999, he left everything he had to the organization (with the exception of a small life-assurance policy to cover the costs of his cremation). Such was his faith and commitment to the organization.

Each congregation is therefore committed to making a monthly financial contribution to support the world-wide preaching work. The individual members of each congregation are likewise committed to ensuring those monthly payments are met. Witnesses may not be asked to tithe their income, but they are expected to pay for every cost incurred locally as well as for the global overheads.

For what it's worth, the evangelical church I attend doesn't make any collections either, nor does it insist members tithe their income. We all give what we can, freely and cheerfully.

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I am 48 yrs old. I was raised attending the meetings at The Kingdom Hall Of Jehovah's Witnesses. I've Always Loved attending The Kingdom Hall Meetings & going out in the field services! Jehovah's Witnesses are the only religion that are True to their beliefs and money is NOT part of their Services. The Witnesses live their lives by the Bible. Jehovah God provided the Bible to man as an instruction manual on how we should live our lives, according to Our Only True God, Jehovah. If you'd like to learn God's REAL NAME, it is in everyone's Bible, written over 100 times.You may refer to Psalms 83:18 "May people know that you, whose name is Jehovah,You alone are the Most High over all the earth." Jehovah's Witnesses live their lives Serving Jehovah God, as the Bible teaches us. The Witnesses do not have priests or anyone they call "Father" bc besides your earthly Father, Jehovah God is Our Heavenly Father. The Bible tells us there is no other "Father" besides him to worship. The Witnesses do not mix Religion with money. As the Bible tells us. They do not use donations as a means of support for any member of the Congregation. All members are Brothers and Sisters, as we are all Children Of Jehovah God. There are Elders who Head the Congregation. The Elders help Teach & Guide the Congregation in the Teachings Of Jehovah's Word. The Members all have their own jobs, as everyone else, to support their Families. Jehovah's Witnesses are True and Honest People who Serve Jehovah daily. They go door to door offering the teachings of the New Order Promised By Jehovah God and His Son Jesus Christ. Home Bible Studies, Bibles & Other Literature (Books & Magazines) are always Free Of Charge. What other Religion offers ANYTHING FREE OF CHARGE?! Jehovah's Witnesses are Kind, Honest, Humble, Loving, & Caring People whom Live Their Lives Serving Jehovah. They are the 1 Religion who's teachings come directly from the Bible, not their own literature written by man's belief to serve hisself for financial gain.

I am writing this without the knowledge of any Member of any Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses Kingdom Hall. I speak from personal experience from 48yrs of knowledge of Jehovah's Witnesses.

The act of going to any Church or Facility to Worship God should NOT involve having a portion of your check taken out to be given to the church or to have a donation plate passed around in the presents of other members of a Congregation for other members to see how much your donating & how many times its passed around each time you attend. Or for a man (who is human, just as you & I are) to say he's a "Man of God" and by donating to his Church, your donation is a "Seed" that God gives you and by donating, your "Seed" starts to "Harvest". Every night I see these Preachers USING THE BIBLE for PERSONAL GAIN! Look at these Preachers who own Personal Jets, Mansions, Numerous Limos & other automobiles, who are multi-millionaires by lying to ppl. What are all of material things needed for to Serve God? Why does he/she need all of these things, have all of these riches? Certainly one doesn't need millions upon millions of dollars to pray to God. They certainly don't need all of that $ to preach the word of God. So, please ask yourself (and please ask your Priest, ask The Pope or ask the Preacher, Rabbi or whomever asks for your money at your church, "Why Do You Need All Of The $ & Material Things You Have, To Serve God?" Money has NOTHING to do with Serving God. Ask him/her to show you in the Bible where it states do not mix $ with religion.They will NOT appreciate that question. If the members of Jehovah's Witnesses live their lives by God's Word, Serving God daily and have regular jobs like the rest of the world, then why can't Preists, Rabbi's, The Pope, etc. have jobs, too? Why do they live off of donations from Congregation Members? Ask yourself why If 1 religious group can do it, why couldn't ALL religious groups do it???

This is MY words, unknown to any member of The Jehovah's Witnesses. This is my own words.

  • Jehovah's Witnesses recognise the scriptural authority of 1 Corinthians 9:11-14 don't they? While many Christians workers can follow Paul's example and work without monetary support from the church, you cannot impugn those who receive an income from their church in order to allow them to devote all their time to gospel work. – curiousdannii Jun 12 at 8:10
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    Also your ignorance of other churches is unbecoming. Most churches would give out Bibles for free to those who need them. (Although in some cultures charging even a nominal sum may be wise when it communicates that the Bible is something of value, and giving it away for free would imply it had no value.) – curiousdannii Jun 12 at 8:12
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    Lisa, your answer has been down-voted for various reasons. Check out what makes a good supported answer for recommendations to improve your answer: christianity.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/692/… – Lesley Jun 12 at 11:24

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