Why do Jehovah’s Witnesses preach?


I’m not looking for the usual answer  that they will probably repeat to you verbatim. “Because Jesus did”, or “we are only following Jesus’s example”.

Let me tell you a little memory of mine about a Jehovah’s Witness regular pioneer. I will call her R in my story, she was a friend of mine, in fact she was one of the first friends I made in the congregation when I was still ‘in’. She regular pioneered for years straight out of high school, she  worked part time in order to make sure she could still be in full-time service. Her one ambition (if I may say so) is that she wanted to go to Bethel. At that time the South African Bethel hardly ever took in single sisters, so she did finally get in by marrying a bethelite. Roughly seven years later she left bethel with her husband and is now still pioneering, well last I heard anyway.

That is some background for you, as a person she is the sweetest loveliest person I knew. She was always looking out for every one else. She often had ‘gatherings’ at her house for the youngsters so we could have some fun, supervised of course.

One night on our way to the meeting, I was sitting with her in the back of the car and I could see she was exhausted, completely shattered. She told me how she had been up since early that morning trying to get her hours in as it was the end of service year. For those who are a little lost here – the JW’s have a ‘service year’ just like a ‘financial year’ of a company. In that year a regular pioneer would need to put in a total of 840 hours. It works out to 70 hours a month. Since she only had like a day left in order to make up her hours she had been doing ‘crazy’ amounts of time to reach her goal.

As usual I deprecated my own service saying that I only did like two hours all month (I had heavy responsibilities taking care of my chronically ill mother – I wasn’t just slacking off) and that doing all her hours must feel amazing. Instead of agreeing with me she said very honestly that she thought my two hours given to Jehovah in joy and love were worth more than her ‘forced’ hours of seventy. Pretty much a quality over quantity thing. I was quite surprised by that because QUANTITY is all about being a good JW. That is why they have these hour requirements, that is why there is a congregation average of about ten hours a month, that all publishers should at least try to achieve.

Now that I am out and able to think clearer her comment  strikes me even more. Here was a regular pioneer, doing everything that should make her ecstatic with happiness according to the JW checklist, and instead she was half envying my happily given preaching hours.

So, why do they preach? Because THEY HAVE TO. You cannot be a Witness and not preach pretty much, if you don’t preach for three months consecutively you are then labelled as ‘inactive’. You need to hand in a ‘field service report’ every month to declare how much you have done and this is how the elders monitor your ‘spiritual health’ because if you are doing too little that means they need to follow up with you.

In fact I have heard so many stories of how JW’s at the time would falsify their hours just too keep the elders off their backs. Just imagine if a quarter of a congregation of say a hundred members are giving in fake hours, how much of that yearly report is pure fiction? Are they faking their hours out of malice? No, its out of fear because they don’t want the elders to start boring their eyes into them wondering what is wrong.

The next time a Witness knocks on your door, they may be just like my friend R. When you feel that usual understandable annoyance, just think that they are forced to be there in order to maintain their image of being in ‘good standing’ or completing their service hours. Oh they also need to recruit for the Organization, but honestly the overwhelming reason is to get those hours in. The new ‘cart witnessing’ is a real demonstration of that, are they talking to anyone? Most of the time they appear to just stand some distance away and watch or sit in their folding chairs keeping an eye on the cart. Hardly the way Jesus preached, but then that really wasn’t the issue was it?


8 thoughts on “Why do Jehovah’s Witnesses preach?

  1. Excellent article! I really enjoyed reading it! And Yes! You are so right! You think there could be a quiet little rebellion going on? We hear more & more reports of people writing down numbers they have literally pulled out of the air, seems they are fed up, Watchtower decreased the required number, apparently they are aware of this? Sitting on a beach, bathing in the sun, with a cart nearby just to claim hours? I think the Jw have had enough, many are fed up, this is reflected in the way they preach, sitting around, on cell phones, ignoring the public, at a literature stand, sometimes in the park, under a tree and obviously *not* wanting to speak to anyone!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is so true about the cart witnessing, and hardly talking to anyone. I pointed this out to THREE women sitting in a completely empty park here in Arizona, in the heat of the day. (no one likely to come until closer to sundown). They were all just using their smart phones and chatting amongst themselves. — I tried to engage them in a discussion of the Bible, they said they weren’t there to discuss the Bible, but were just there for those – pointing to the magazines. — wow. What a sea change from the time years ago, when JWs seemed truly sincere about their message, and would give you a good “Bible – go -round”

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are right there! When I see the carts I always think, ‘so easy to get time in now!’ I worked for those hours…I knew my Bible, I tried to engage people. Now it’s just about the magazines and the website, no thinking even necessary anymore.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It may be more effective to have WT Literature Vending Machines placed in “strategic” places – Like Condom distribution machines at Public Toilets !

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh my word you are right! Maybe that is the next step in their ‘preaching activity’. Everything is being reduced after all…but as long as Witnesses are free labour I guess they’ll still feature. Imagine in the future, a brother will have the ‘privilege’ of refilling the machines with the latest publications….well that is if they are still printing them!


  3. Great article! I left before the cart witnessing took off. But we did the exact same thing and called it “Street work.” We stood in front of donut shops or laundromats, holding magazines with a blank stare as people came and went. I don’t even want to calculate all the wasted time. Especially since I was a regular pioneer when the hour requirement was 90.

    The real reason we did this was because we were expected to. We were told that we were not true Witnesses if we don’t witness. And only witnesses will gain entry to the new system. We were working for salvation. Grace had no place.

    If you were blessed enough to be born a male, then the hours you spend in service enabled you to get “privileges.” Carrying mics, working the literature counter, being a ministerial servant or elder, going to bethel…it was all only given if you put in enough hours.

    JWs are the essence of a works based salvation religion. And it was set up so you could never do or be good enough. You should always be doing more. And once you’re doing more, you find out: you still need to do more. It’s never enough. You’re never enough. A no one ever is or can be. This is by design. Because they don’t understand love motivated works. Only demands.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. You are so right, work based salvation and no matter how much you do it will never be enough!
      JW’s know nothing about grace, no concept at all of how important grace is, it’s completely lost on them.


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