Monday, December 21, 2015

Join Us in Bidding Farewell to the Theocratic Ministry School

I, Jehovah, am your God,
The One teaching you to benefit yourself,
The One guiding you in the way you should walk.  - Isaiah 48:17
These next couple of weeks we’ll all be experiencing history-changing events in our congregation and worldwide. This week will be the last Theocratic Ministry School with student participation. Next week will be the last Theocratic Ministry School Oral Review and the last Service Meeting ever! Isn’t it great that we can all be there for these momentous occasions!

Join us as we review some of the history of the Theocratic Ministry School!



Timeline... 1943

The Theocratic Ministry School began to be conducted during the height of WWII in 1943. It’s objective was to train students to give effective talks. But the main purpose was always to help God’s people “train themselves to be better witnesses in the proclamation of the Kingdom.” (w43 6/1)

The publication used was Course in Theocratic Ministry. As you can see by the “list of lessons,” the material has remained roughly the same over the past 72 years.

Brother Carey Barber called the new Course in Theocratic Ministry “one of the most outstanding developments of Jehovah’s dealing with his people in modern times.” Do you think we’ll hear similar comments about the new “Our Christian Life and Ministry Meeting”?

Brother George Gangas (later of the Governing Body) reminisced: “I recall the time I gave my first six-minute talk. I was not confident in myself so I wrote it down. But when I got up to give it, audience fear gripped me and I stuttered and muttered, losing my thoughts. Then I resorted to reading from the manuscript. But my hands were trembling so much that the lines were jumping up and down!” (kr 183, 184; jv 94)

Brother Clayton Woodworth, Jr., who was close to Brother Rutherford said: “It was very difficult for me to give talks. My tongue seemed to grow long, my mouth went completely dry, and my voice became something between a roar and a squeak.... I came to realize that the speaker himself is not important. But if he prepares well and rests all his confidence in Jehovah, he will be heard with pleasure and the hearers will learn something.” (kr 177)

Were you one of the few still around today that had the privilege of being enrolled way back then? We’d love to hear your experience in the blog comments at the bottom of the page!

Timeline... 1959

Ever since 1959, both brothers and sisters have been able to enroll in the Theocratic Ministry School.


Timeline... 1971

Do you remember the 1971 “Divine Name” District Assembly? That convention put heavy stress on teaching. “The teaching program does not stop with the young ones,” said one convention speaker. “We are all in a school in which there are no graduations. All of us must continue to learn from the inexhaustible storehouse of God. The Divine Name shines with greater and greater brilliance as we learn more about Jehovah’s ways.” He then released the Theocratic Ministry School Guidebook. It replaced the Course in Theocratic Ministry. It was revised in 1992 to bring expressions and procedures up to date. (w71 599; yb72 42; km 11/92 7)

Many secular teachers have been impressed with this little book. When a youth named Terri presented this book to her Speech Class instructor, he told the other students: “After five weeks of class, she finally gives me a book on how to conduct a speech class properly!” (g88 6/8 21)

Do you still have your old Speech Counsel Slip?

Timeline... 2001

How many of you were at the  “Teachers of God’s Word” District Conventions of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 2001? This was another convention with great emphasis on teaching, as Jehovah has continually equipped us to be better teachers. Delegates were urged to teach themselves, to become even better qualified, and to fulfill their commission as teachers.

How excited we were to hear the talk “New Provisions for Our Spiritual Advancement” and to learn that a new book entitled Benefit From Theocratic Ministry School Education would be soon published. Regarding the book’s section containing a number of speech counsel points, the speaker said: “This new textbook does not take a secular approach to presenting the 53 aspects of good reading, speaking, and teaching. The approach is based on Scriptural principles.” It shows how the prophets, Jesus, and his disciples demonstrated good teaching skills. (w02 1/15 27, 28)

Timeline... 2003

Congregations begin using the new textbook Benefit From Theocratic Ministry School Education.

Timeline... 2015

At the 2015 Annual Meeting, held Saturday, October 3rd and in a letter read to all congregations dated October 4, 2015 it was announced that the Theocratic Ministry School, would be replaced by a 15-minute session for demonstrating preaching presentations.

One day in the distant future, maybe the Theocratic Ministry School will be featured in the “From Our Archives” series in the Watchtower. You never know! Aren’t you glad you had a privilege to be a part of this history school program?
Have you received your notebook for the
 Christian Life and Ministry Meeting yet?

DID YOU KNOW? Ministry Ideaz provides beautiful notebooks adapted specifically to the new Christian Life and Ministry meeting. Just click here. Also available for kids and in Spanish.

Timeline... Moving forward!

What are you looking forward to most in the new format of the “Our Christian Life and Ministry Meeting”? What are you going to miss? Let us know your experiences and memories of the “old” Theocratic Ministry School in the comments below!

49 comments:

  1. These truly are exciting times!!!!! I am very excited to see how the "Our Christian Life and Ministry" parts will be and even more excited to learn from them!

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  2. Thank you for sharing the time line of the Therocratic ministry school and how far we have come to get closer to our God Jehovah. And most of the stuff you shared I hadn't been born when it started so in my short thirty years of live and in past fifty that I've been whole heartly studying to come to know Jehovah things have definitely change so fast but so wonderfully and awe inspiring.😊

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  3. Thank you Jehovah for your continued education for your people now and forever...��

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  4. Did my last Bible Highlights last evening! Conducted my last full Theocratic Ministry School! Conducting the last Theocratic Ministry School Oral Review next week! Exciting new program with the "Our Christian Life and Ministry" workbook! Thanks for the reminders with the 'Theocratic Ministry School' timeline here....

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  5. Wow, what a great bunch of research here! Thank you so much for this effort and sharing it with us! Part of our Christian Heritage in the last days for sure!

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  6. I remember in my teens giving 5 minute Bible readings in 3 minutes, and being counselled to slow down. The school helped me at secular school and at work to give talks before my peers.

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  7. I gave my first talk when I was 13 when the sisters started giving talks. my talk was from Matthew 24:45-47 about the faithful and discreet slave.It would be a very different talk today with the changes in understanding.

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  8. It's a little strange for me to say 'goodbye' to the TMS. I've been a TMS student for 41 years, since I was 10. But....gotta move forward with Jehovah's organization...or, risk being left behind. Love it!

    I do appreciate the TMS training, though. I can look business professionals and bosses in the eye, and communicate effectively. When in customer service positions, I know how to effectively communicate with customers. And, I am comfortable with talking to householders and others about the Bible. What a gift!

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  9. I was at the 1958 convention where they announced that sisters would give talks in the TM school. My mother said " oh no".
    I remember the instruction talk given from "Qualified To Be Ministers". Also we used the " Equipped For Every Good Work."

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    1. I was there to maybe we met there I was 11 years old and got baptised a year later.

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    2. I was there and then later got to be one of the first sisters to give a student talk. What a wonderful privilege...... SO many years ago.

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  10. I remember when there were five talks and no bible reading yet. I was seven when I joined the school, I'm 56. I look forward to our new assignments with excitement.

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  11. I remember when there were five talks and no bible reading yet. I was seven when I joined the school, I'm 56. I look forward to our new assignments with excitement.

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  12. This is an AMAZING time. I can remember my first talk in the TMS I was so nervous I left part of my notes home. however with Jehovah's help I got through it.

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  13. I can remember doing the written review on a special paper on clipboards that a local brother had made and then we graded our paper and the hat would tell us how well we had studied
    I remember my first talk I was about 7/8 years old and my householder lost her thought and I had to ad-libbed through her part
    Some of my dad's memories were having to grade the written review tests

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    1. I remember being a little girl and I'd answer 2 or 3 questions and when we turned it in the "servant" would always write on mine "Very Good"!!!!!!

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  14. When I gave my first student talk, my householder forgot her lines! So who got the counsel to prepare better next time?! :(( That elder is still enduring until the end some 40 years later, just a little slower though.
    I would say the Bible Highlights is the move valuable development of the school's features. It has made meditation on what we read more important than before. Instead of speeding through the material to say "Done!" one needs to take the time to focus on the meaning in order to make beneficial comments during the School. Thanks for that guidance.:)

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  15. We are truly blessed to be taught by our grand instructor. I've been enrolled on the TMS since 1970.I look forward to the new arrangement and to dig deeper in my bible study

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  16. I can't wait for the new change. I have been baptised since 1968 and have enjoyed being in the school. It really has helped me to be a better teacher and have more confidence in public speaking. THANK YOU JEHOVAH FOR THE PROVISION.

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  17. WOW! I have always enjoyed being a part of the ministry school. It wasn't just giving the talk, but it was the preparation that came before the talk. I really learned a lot about the subject I was assigned. The program helped me to compile all the most important information into 6 minutes and then 5 minutes. Wonderful program to train Jehovah's people to give public proclamation. Now on to the new!

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  18. Sometime change is hard to adjust to ,but we trust Jehovah an will follow his direction. We will all try our best to apply ourselves to the best
    of our ability..

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  19. So excited,but a little apprehensive going to miss the school though have to hold back the tears but must move on

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  20. The brothers take on the lions share if teaching, again. Us sisters are in a supportive role. Love it

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  21. I Have been in the school since 1988 and always got very nervous, So i prayed before going up the stage, in 5 min is over and i realized i did it. It helped me to rely on Jehovah with out his help i could have not done it. I look foward to the new changes and to continue to rely on Jehovah.

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  22. I will miss it but at the same time looking forward to to better educated and improve in my returns/door to door/bible studies as Jehovah's day approaches he is surely preparing his people I am so happy I am moving forward with our GOD JEHOVAH!!

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  23. I enrolled in the School when I was seven in 1967. I have learned so much from the school and I still have my School Counsel Slip.I look forward to the new changes and moving forward in Jehovah's Organization.

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  24. I remember my first talk, it was a bible reading, 1 Cor. 13:1-13! The passage about love! I was very nervous and my 5-minute talk was over in less than 3! I was also counseled to slow down! That was over 24 years ago!! Such fond memories! I am so happy and thankful to Jehovah for directing me and showing me His path and His way!!!

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  25. I feel sorry for businesses like yours! How could you possibly keep up? The "Chariot" is in constant motion! Phew!

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  26. I am a speed reader so giving impromptu talks came easy for me...I had total reliance on Jehovah's holy spirit and not on my own. One night, I quickly prepared my talk and was out of time to find a householder...my mom was sitting in the front, so when I walked up to give the talk, I said, "oh libby, I was wondering if you would come into my house and help me prepare for the meeting tonight, I said, I know it's last minute and she said "I'll say" and got up to follow me on the platform, everyone laughed and we got through the talk just fine...Jehovah was willing and we were too.

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    1. That is so cute, What a great job you did.

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    2. Thank you so much for our Theocratic history. I thank Jehovah daily for his blessings.

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  27. I'm excited that so much emphasis is being placed on the Bible with this new format; I think we all need that so much right now. By the way, my son gave his last Bible reading for the TMS this month; he gives his first Bible reading for the new CL&M meeting next month. He probably feels like not much has changed for him. ;)

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    1. Congratulations on your son's reading! The Slave keeps transforming jw.org with new light! It keeps our minds stimulated with old things anew! =]

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  28. Although the TMS and the other two mid-week meetings are being replaced with the Christian Life and Ministry meeting, we will still have student assignments featuring demonstrations. The demonstration assignments have been a part of the School since the sisters were invited to participate. (See Benefit book on page 78 par 3) What I am excited about the new arrangement is that those who have the demonstration assignments can hone their teaching skills using the outline provided, a thing foreign to most since a script is what most use. About 30 years ago I began using the outline in every assignment and it has helped me to grow tremendously both in the ministry and my relationship with Jehovah. I look forward to further growth with the new meeting arrangement.

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  29. I can't wait to print out my own workbook! I love using my own printer ink and saving the Slave money! =]

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  30. I give my first talk at 9 years about Nineveh . I was baptized at 17 . My mother was baptize 1964 when was 4 years old . I know no other faith. I remember when there were 1 million jw on this earth. I have much love for our God now it's more then 8 million.

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  31. I gave first talk TMS on 1979. Nervous still but have enjoyed being student and householder. This is sad but exciting. Moving forward with Jehovahs organization. HOLD ON TIGHT!!!

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  32. I look forward to the release of a new book for guidance in our new Christian Life and Ministry, one to take the place of our BE book.

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  33. I have so much gratitude for Jehovah care that all we can do and say should be to glorify him

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  34. I remember the first talk I gave. It was in the back school.My son was only 3 and be didn't understand what I was doing so he came up to me while I was talking and started talking to me. I knew that if the sister who was watching him and his sister tried to grab him he would start crying so I scooped him up and sat him on my lap and continued on with the talk. That was over 40 yrs ago..Nice memories

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  35. Why are you saying goodbye to the school? It isn't going anywhere. There may not be a meeting called "the theocratic ministry school" any longer but there will still be a school overseer, counsel will be given from the current school textbook, and to be used in the new meeting you will have to be enrolled on the school.

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  36. Having been in TM school since 18, I have been through all of the changes mentioned by so many others. I have found they were all for our benefit and I am sure this one will as well. The faithful slave provides food at the proper time so let's be prepared to digest this latest morsel. I suspect I will not be as composed as the brother who conducted the sample meeting on the video.

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  37. Gayle putman
    Have been in the Theocratic Ministry School since 1974. Have seen some progressive down through the years. It just keeps getting better and better and that's because Jehovah is the best God ever. We must work hard to keep up with His Celestial Chariot since it on the move. What a grand priviledge it is to be a part of Theocratic history in the making in the special times we live in.

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  38. I love the new meeting name and format. I gave my first TMS talk when I was 6y and it was on the time, times, and half time. It later became a family tradition as my brother and my son also did their first talks at age 6y. I really love that we built in settings and service material for the demonstrations now; some times I would have interesting topics but couldn't figure out why I would be talking to someone about it in any format of service. I think it is easier and more fun now; my son (now 18y) has even been my householder.
    Our brothers treated us to refreshments after the last TMS meeting; since it ended they called it our 'graduation' :-)

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  40. The first TMS book I remember was "Qualified to Be Ministers". I don't see it listed in your timeline!!

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