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ks10-E “SHEPHERD THEFLOCKOFGOD” —1PETER5:2 This publication is congregation property. A copy is issued to each appointed elder. If an el- der is deleted for reasons other than moving to another congregation with a favorable recom- mendation, he should turn over this handbook to the Congregation Service Committee. The secretary should keep the book in the congrega- tion’s file so that it may be returned to the brother if he is reappointed as an elder. No copies are to be made of any part of this publi- cation. Neither is it to be converted into any electronic format. This Book Issued To ˘ 2010 WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY OF PENNSYLVANIA All Rights Reserved Publishers WATCHTOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY OF NEW YORK, INC. Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A. 2012 Printing This publication is not for sale. It is provided as part of a worldwide Bible educational work supported by voluntary donations. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are from the modern-language New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures—With References. “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 English (ks10-E) Made in the United States of America 1. SHEPHERD THE FLOCK OF GOD (1-9) 6 2. HOW ELDERS WORK TOGETHER AS A BODY 11 Elders’ Meetings (2-9) ............................................................... 12 How the Body of Elders Is Organized (10-26) ..................................... 14 Pursue Peace With One Another as Spiritual Men (27-30) ...................... 27 3. APPOINTMENT AND DELETION OF ELDERS AND MINISTERIAL SERVANTS 30 Closely Examine Scriptural Qualiﬁcations (1-5) .................................. 30 Cautions Before Recommending Certain Brothers (6-10) ....................... 32 Making Recommendations to the Branch Oﬃce (11) ........................... 34 After You Receive the Response From the Branch Oﬃce (12-14) ............... 35 Situations That May Raise Questions About an Appointed Man’s Qualiﬁcations (15-21) ............................................................. 36 Procedure for Reviewing the Qualiﬁcations of Appointed Brothers Who Experience Diﬃculties (22-24) ................................................... 39 Recommending Deletions to the Branch Oﬃce (25-29) ......................... 41 When an Appointed Brother Moves to Another Congregation (30-31) ........ 43 When an Appointed Brother Moves Into the Congregation (32) ............... 44 4. ASSISTING THOSE WHO ARE WEAK 47 Symptoms of Spiritual Weakness (4-5) ............................................ 48 Shepherding That Encourages (6) ................................................. 48 Giving Eﬀective Counsel (7-11) .................................................... 50 Assisting Those Who Are Inactive (12-17) ........................................ 50 Assisting Those With Marital Problems (18-20) .................................. 52 Encouraging Those Who Were Abused in Their Childhood (21-26) ........... 53 Cautions Regarding Assisting Sisters (27-28) ...................................... 56 5. DETERMINING WHETHER A JUDICIAL COMMITTEE SHOULD BE FORMED 58 Oﬀenses Requiring Judicial Decisions (2-36) ..................................... 58 Evidence Establishing Wrongdoing (37-39) ...................................... 71 Those Who Have Not Associated for Many Years (40-42) ....................... 73 Wrongdoing That Occurred Years in the Past (43-45) ........................... 74 Was the Wrongdoer’s Baptism Valid? (46-48) .................................... 75 Which Congregation Should Handle the Matter? (49-51) ....................... 76 If Wrongdoing Involves Publishers From Diﬀerent Congregations (52) ....... 76 Unbaptized Publishers Who Engage in Serious Wrongdoing (53-62) .......... 77 Table of Contents Chapter (Paragraphs) Page 6. PREPARING FOR THE JUDICIAL HEARING 81 Selecting the Judicial Committee and Chairman (1-2) .......................... 81 Preparing Your Mind and Heart to Judge (3-5) ................................... 82 Inviting the Accused to the Judicial Hearing (6-10) .............................. 82 Meeting With Marriage Mates (11-13) ............................................ 84 Meeting With Baptized Minors (14) ............................................... 85 Meeting With Incarcerated Ones (15) ............................................. 85 If the Accused Threatens Suicide (16) ............................................. 86 If the Accused Threatens Legal Action (17-19) .................................... 86 7. JUDICIAL HEARING PROCEDURE 89 Determining Genuine Repentance (6-12) ......................................... 91 If Repentance Is Unclear (13-17) ................................................... 94 If the Decision Is to Reprove (18-25) .............................................. 96 If the Decision Is to Disfellowship (26-34) ...................................... 100 8. APPEAL HEARING PROCEDURE 104 Objective and Approach of the Appeal Committee (4-10) ..................... 104 If the Appeal Committee Agrees With the Judicial Committee (11-15) ....... 106 If the Appeal Committee Disagrees With the Judicial Committee (16-20) ... 107 9. IMPLICATIONS OF DISASSOCIATION (1-5) 110 10. MATTERS RELATED TO DISFELLOWSHIPPED AND DISASSOCIATED ONES (1-6) 114 11. REINSTATEMENT COMMITTEE PROCEDURE 118 When a Plea for Reinstatement Is Received (1-10) .............................. 118 If the Decision Is to Reinstate (11-15) ............................................ 121 12. CLARIFICATIONS AND GUIDELINES ON HANDLING CERTAIN MATTERS 124 Marking Disorderly Ones (1-3) ................................................... 124 Weddings (4-8) .................................................................... 125 Scriptural Freedom to Remarry (9-14) ........................................... 128 Adulterous Marriage (15-17) ...................................................... 130 Child Abuse (18-21) ................................................................ 131 Taking Brothers to Court (22-23) ................................................. 133 When Disasters Occur (24-26) .................................................... 134 INDEX 138 Chapter (Paragraphs) Page 1. Jehovah has entrusted elders with the responsi- bility to care for his precious sheep that he pur- chased with the blood of his Son. (Acts 20:28) This is a serious responsibility, but through holy spir- it, elders can properly care for the sheep. Not only has Jehovah provided his own example as the Su- preme Overseer but he has also sent to the earth his own Son, “the ﬁne shepherd,” to leave “a model” for us. (John 10:11; 1 Pet. 2:21, 25) God’s written Word is “beneﬁcial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteous- ness.” (2 Tim. 3:16) In addition, he gives timely direc- tion through “the faithful and discreet slave.” (Matt. 24:45) This publication has been prepared to help el- ders to “shepherd the ﬂock of God.”—1 Pet. 5:2. 2. “Shepherd the Flock of God” has been designed as a handbook for elders to supply vital information that will help them care for congregation matters. This publication is divided into chapters, each per- taining to a particular aspect of your work. Each chapter is numbered, and each paragraph within the chapter is also numbered. Therefore, paragraphs are referred to by chapter and paragraph number. For ex- ample, chapter 5, paragraph 10, would be written as Chapter One Shepherd the Flock of God A good shepherd will strive to imitate Jehovah and his Son as shepherds by loving the sheep in the following areas: Feeding the sheep Leading the sheep Protecting the sheep 6 “5:10.” All cross-references are by chapter-paragraph notation. Because of eﬀorts to simplify this publica- tion, it does not cover every aspect of our work as el- ders. At times you may need to consult other publica- tions and letters to the body of elders for detailed information. Be alert to future direction and adjust- ments so as to stay up-to-date on theocratic direction. 3. As an elder, your ultimate objective is to imitate the Supreme Overseer, Jehovah, and his Son in the way you treat the sheep. (Eph. 5:1) Jehovah sets the example for overseers as a God of love and as the per- fect Judge in that he is just at all times and in all of his ways. Our Loving Overseer 4. Jehovah’s love for us is expressed in action. He took the initiative to send his Son to die in our behalf. (John 3:16) He has given us knowledge of the truth and the privilege of being associated with the visible part of his universal organization. (John 6: 44; Rev. 7:9,10) Because of God’s love, we enjoy food, clothing, life, a measure of health, and innumerable other blessings. God lovingly considers our limita- tions. (Ps. 103:14) How many are the expressions of love Jehovah has showered down on us, yet none of us deserve his love! Jehovah’s example teaches us how to demonstrate love to others, especially those in the congregation.—1 John 4:19. 5. Our loving Supreme Overseer has also been a Guardian and Protector of his people both physically and spiritually. (Ps. 145:20; Prov. 18:10) Elders should also be guardians and protectors of his people. The basic idea inherent in the Greek word for overseer is protective care. Elders strive to be alert to the needs of individual publishers and families, stepping forward to assist in practical ways when there is a need. (Isa. 32:1, 2) When we imitate Jehovah, the ﬂock in our Chapter 1 7 care is helped to feel secure and content.—1 Thess. 2: 7, 8. A Lover of Justice and a God of Mercy 6. Jehovah’s justice and mercy became evident in the way he handled the rebellion in Eden. Justice pre- vailed in the judgment he pronounced upon those three unrepentant rebels against his sovereignty. Yet, mercy was also demonstrated when he foretold a de- liverer for the unborn oﬀspring of Adam and Eve. (Gen. 3:15) In justice Jehovah has allowed mankind to suﬀer the due recompense for sin. (Deut. 32:4, 5) But in mercy he has made provision for their re- demption and has given them hope of everlasting life. The ransom provision itself satisﬁes justice—a perfect life for a perfect life. (1 Tim. 2:6) What mercy that provision reﬂects! It is undeserved kindness to those in desperate need.—John 1:17; Eph.1:7. 7. Jehovah shows himself to be just and merciful with groups of people as well as with individuals. Da- vid was worthy of death because of his sin with Bath- sheba, but God extended him great mercy because of his sincere repentance and heartfelt remorse over his conduct. (2 Sam. 12:13; Ps. 51:4, 17) Jehovah extend- ed to natural Israel the opportunity to supply the members of the bride of Christ. But when the re- quired number failed to respond, Jehovah mercifully extended the invitation to the Samaritans and then to people of the nations.—Acts 8:14; 10:45; 15:14; Rom.11:25. 8. Although elders today cannot read the heart, they must be both just and merciful in their dealings with others. In giving counsel and in judging, elders should hold to God’s standard with everyone. What Jehovah expects of elders is revealed at Deuteronomy 1:16,17; Micah 6:8; and Matthew 5:7. The elders’ love for impartiality, justice, and mercy will assist them in 8 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 keeping the congregation clean and strengthening the faith of the ﬂock. 9. To be an eﬀective elder, you must care for Je- hovah’s precious sheep in the same way that he does—with loving-kindness, impartiality, and merci- ful judgment. Jehovah’s people and, more important, Jehovah and his Son greatly appreciate your diligent eﬀorts in behalf of the congregation. We pray for Je- hovah’s blessing to “be with the spirit you show.” —2 Tim. 4:22. Chapter 1 9 10 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 1. Jehovah has appointed Jesus Christ as Head of the Christian congregation. (Eph. 1:22, 23) Revela- tion 1:20 depicts Jesus as holding the anointed elders in his right hand, thus, by extension, indicating that he controls all bodies of elders for the purpose of ac- complishing Jehovah’s will. (re pp. 28-29, 136) Ac- cepting Jesus as Head of the congregation pro- motes cooperation and unity on the body. You demonstrate submission to Christ’s headship when you do the following: ˙ Let the Bible be your guide in making decisions. —John 7:16-18. ˙ Obey direction coming from agencies used by “the faithful and discreet slave,” including Branch Committees, traveling overseers, and others appointed by the Governing Body to take the lead.—Matt. 24:45-47; Heb.13:17. ˙ Avoid imposing personal viewpoints and opin- ions or arbitrary rules on the congregation or the body of elders.—1 Cor. 4:6. Chapter Two How Elders Work Together as a Body Demonstrate that you accept Jesus as Head of the congregation Have productive elders’ meetings Be well-organized to care for the congregation’s needs Pursue peace with one another as spiritual men 11 ˙ Listen carefully to the expressions of fellow el- ders.—Rom.12:10b; Jas.1:19. ˙ Deal in a kind and loving manner with each in- dividual in the congregation, including fellow elders, not lording it over them.—Matt. 11:28- 30; John 21:15-17; 1 Pet. 5:1-3, 5. ˙ Pray when a discussion of the body of elders seems to falter.—Jas.1:5. Elders’ Meetings 2. The body of elders is a Scriptural entity. (Acts 14:23; 20:17; Titus 1:5; compare 1 Cor. 12:19, 20) When the body of elders discusses a matter, Christ, by means of the holy spirit, can inﬂuence any elder to make an expression that results in a wise de- cision, one that may not have been reached if the el- ders had been consulted individually.—Acts 15:6-21. 3. When to hold elders’ meetings: Normally the bodyof elders holds four meetings a year. In addi- tion to the two meetings held in conjunction with the visits of the circuit overseer, they should schedule another meeting about three months after each visit. The body of elders can arrange other meetings any time that circumstances necessitate. Limit additional meetings to their purpose and objectives. Endeavor to keep comments succinct and relevant to the mat- ter under consideration. Unnecessary meetings, or unduly lengthy meetings, consume valuable time that the elders can better spend with their families, in the ministry, and in shepherding. (Matt. 24:14; 1 Tim. 3:4; 1 Pet. 5:2) Before compiling an agenda, the coordinator of the body of elders should contact the other elders individually for their input to deter- mine what matters they would like to discuss. The circuit overseer compiles the agenda for the meeting held during his visit. In addition to points he himself puts on the agenda, the circuit overseer should con- tact the coordinator for any input from the body of 12 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 elders. Meetings should normally not exceed two hours in length. 4. While it is not wrong for an elder to contact the branch ofﬁce if he feels the need, it is generally best to discuss matters as a body ﬁrst. Then, if necessary, write to the branch oﬃce. If there is a truly urgent matter requiring assistance from the branch ofﬁce, it is best for two elders to call together to explain the sit- uation and to make a note of the direction given. 5. Suggested matters to include on the agen- da for elders’ meetings: Spiritual matters should be of principal concern. (Phil. 1:9-11) Elders can obtain appropriate ideas regarding matters to discuss by con- sidering the counsel found in the letters to Timothy and Titus and in such passages as Acts 20:17-35 and 1 Peter 5:1-11. If necessary, elders can allow time on the agenda for matters of a mechanical, nonspiritual nature. These items would include problems that an individual elder, the Congregation Service Commit- tee, or the operating committee cannot resolve sepa- rately. The coordinator of the body of elders should give a copy of the agenda to each elder far enough in advance of the meeting to allow time to do research and to give prayerful thought to what will be dis- cussed.—Prov. 21:5. 6. The coordinator should set the pace of the dis- cussion by sticking to the agenda as much as possible and by keeping the main points to the fore. By con- cluding each matter before opening another, he can ensure that the meeting ﬂows smoothly. The secre- tary or another designated elder should take notes of the decisions and indicate who will follow through and the time schedule for completion. In some cases the coordinator may ask the elder recommending an item for the agenda to take the lead in presenting it for discussion. 7. Elders’ meetings will be more productive if brothers speak up, using “freeness of speech.” (1 Tim. Chapter 2 13 3:13) The coordinator should avoid dominating the discussion, being careful as to when and how he ex- presses himself. There should be no wrath or debates evident in elders’ meetings. (1 Tim. 2:8) Speak on the points under discussion only when you have some- thing meaningful to add.—Prov.10:19. 8. It should be possible for bodies of elders to be unanimous in most of their decisions. (Acts 15:25) The body of elders should always base their decisions on Bible principles and written direction from “the faithful and discreet slave.” (Matt. 24:45) In cases that do not involve speciﬁc Bible laws or where there is no direction from the faithful slave, the body of elders must exercise their collective judg- ment and conscience. First, have the best interests of the entire congregation in mind, and second, con- sider what may spiritually assist any individual in- volved. 9. During the discussion, no one should insist on his personal viewpoint. If a decision is not unan- imous, the minority should give willing sup- port to the ﬁnal decision. If in the opinion of the minority a Bible-based decision still has not been reached, the minority should continue to cooperate with the rest of the body and bring the matter to the attention of the circuit overseer during his regular visit. If the matter is urgent, write to the branch oﬃce. How the Body of Elders Is Organized 10. The body should be well-organized to care for the needs of the congregation. All the elders should know their respective responsibilities. Just as individ- ual members of the human body carry out certain functions without direct participation by other body members, individual elders have certain latitude to make decisions so as to carry out their respective re- 14 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 sponsibilities. (1 Cor. 12:12-31) Certain essential as- signments in each congregation are outlined below. Coordinator of the Body of Elders 11. The coordinator should be, if possible, one who has loyally served with the organization for many years. The congregation should respect him for his hard work in the ministry and for his eﬀorts as a shepherd in behalf of the congregation. (Acts 20:24, 31) He should be a good organizer and care for his re- sponsibilities in real earnest. (Rom. 12:8) He should possess genuine humility and appreciate his fellow el- ders and the value of a multitude of counselors. (Prov. 15:22; Phil. 2:3, 4; Jas. 4:10) He should care about people, loving them and being interested in their spiritual welfare. (John 13:34, 35; 15:13; 1 Pet. 5: 2, 3) He should have the respect and cooperation of the congregation and his fellow elders on the body. He must be a spiritual man and should be approach- able. 12. The coordinator’s duties include the follow- ing: ˙ Serves as chairman of meetings of the body of elders. ˙ He or another elder contacts the group overseers to determine the situation of each household when a disaster occurs. (km 2/97 p. 7) Notiﬁes circuit overseer of results when compiled. ˙ Directly oversees the attendant, sound, and stage departments. Another elder may assist. ˙ Receives congregation mail, and passes it along to the secretary for circulation and ﬁling. ˙ Compiles Scriptural and practical agendas out- lining points for discussion at regular elders’ meetings throughout the year. Chapter 2 15 ˙ Distinguishes between items that individual el- ders can handle and those needing attention by the entire body of elders, so as to avoid unneces- sarily taking the time of the entire body.—w96 1/15 p.18 pars.13-14. ˙ Makes sure that there is appropriate follow- through on decisions made by elders. ˙ Assigns Service Meeting parts. He may ask other elders to assist. ˙ Supervises the assigning of approved conduc- tors and readers for the Congregation Bible Study. ˙ Arranges for public Bible discourses. Another el- der or a well-qualiﬁed ministerial servant may assist. ˙ Approves all announcements made to the con- gregation, especially those of a judicial nature. ˙ Takes the lead in caring for details in prepara- tion for the circuit overseer’s visit. ˙ Serves as chairman of the Congregation Service Committee when considering regular or auxilia- ry pioneer applications, unassigned territory ap- plications, or similar matters as required by the branch oﬃce. ˙ Calls a meeting of the body of elders when judi- cial matters arise if he is present when a matter comes to light. ˙ Arranges for two elders (a member of the Con- gregation Service Committee and usually the group overseer) to meet with each person desir- ing to become a new publisher. ˙ Along with the service overseer, determines whether it is advisable for another publisher to conduct a Bible study with the child of a Chris- tian parent.—km 11/03 p. 3. ˙ Arranges for elders to review questions with bap- tismal candidates. If the assigned elder needs 16 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 to take someone along when meeting with a sister, another elder should be used. How- ever, if needed, a capable ministerial servant may accompany the assigned elder to review the questions in “Part I—Elementary Bible Teach- ings” and “Part III—Jehovah’s Arrangement of Things.” If the congregation has very few elders, capable ministerial servants who have demon- strated good judgment and discernment may be assigned to review the questions in “Part I—Ele- mentary Bible Teachings” and “Part III—Jeho- vah’s Arrangement of Things.” If the assigned ministerial servant needs to take someone along when meeting with a sister, another capable ministerial servant should be used. In all cas- es, only elders should be assigned to consider “Part II—Jehovah’s Righteous Requirements.” ˙ Arranges for two elders, one of them being the individual’s group overseer, to meet with each baptized publisher one year following baptism to provide encouragement and helpful sugges- tions. ˙ Arranges for quarterly audit of congregation ac- counts. ˙ Authorizes payment of all normal operating ex- penses of the congregation. ˙ Approves the items placed on the congregation information board.—km 1/89 p. 7. 13. When needed, at the conclusion of his regular visit, the circuit overseer will submit a recommenda- tion to the branch ofﬁce for appointment of the coordinator of the body of elders. If a temporary ad- justment is made apart from the circuit overseer’s vis- it, the body of elders should immediately notify the branch ofﬁce in a letter, signed by the Congregation Service Committee, explaining the reason for the change. A Coordinator of the Body of Elders/Secretary Chapter 2 17 Change of Address (S-29) form should accompany the letter. 14. If the coordinator will be away for a time, the body of elders should select one from among their number to act as a replacement during the absence. Mail and correspondence will be handled by the re- placement during the time of absence. Congregation Secretary 15. The body of elders selects the secretary and notiﬁes the branch oﬃce by means of the Coordina- tor of the Body of Elders/Secretary Change of Address (S-29) form. The secretary should have good organi- zational ability and be known as one who does not procrastinate. (Rom. 12:11) He should have the abili- ty to write in a way that is clear and understandable. If necessary, the body of elders may select an elder to assist him or a capable ministerial servant to assist in caring for some routine matters. 16. The secretary’s duties include the following: ˙ Maintains the congregation records, including correspondence from the branch oﬃce, in an orderly way. ˙ Keeps congregation records, including Congre- gation’s Publisher Record (S-21) cards, in an ac- cessible but secure place (at the Kingdom Hall if possible) for use by any elder when the need arises. Although the secretary is primarily re- sponsible for the organization of the congrega- tion’s file, each elder may be provided with a key to the file. Every elder should have access to the Congregation’s Publisher Record cards, let- ters from the branch oﬃce, and other common records. Only elders directly handling a matter should open and view sealed conﬁdential judi- cial records. ˙ Files sealed envelopes containing conﬁdential records on disciplinary cases, including reports 18 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 made by the judicial committees. Information concerning an individual accused of child mo- lestation, proved or otherwise, should be placed in congregation’s conﬁdential ﬁle and marked “Do Not Destroy” and kept indeﬁnitely. ˙ Directly oversees those caring for accounts. ˙ Circulates among the elders photocopies of all letters from the branch oﬃce and traveling overseers, and ﬁles the originals for reference. ˙ Keeps records concerning Kingdom Hall owner- ship, loans, insurance, deeds, and other matters. ˙ Keeps a list of business items that elders or the congregation must handle in the future, such as utility bills, tax matters, and government items, and checks to be certain these are cared for on time. ˙ Notiﬁes coordinator when a publisher has been baptized one year. ˙ Oversees district convention matters. ˙ Along with service overseer, takes the lead in or- ganizing eﬀorts to care for inactive ones.—See 4:12, 15. ˙ Compiles ﬁeld service reports. Keeps Congrega- tion’s Publisher Record cards up-to-date. Prompt- ly informs group overseers regarding publishers in their group who did not report time for the month. ˙ Transmits monthly reports promptly; sends communications prepared by other brothers as needed. ˙ Keeps body of elders informed of any problems that the pioneers are experiencing. With service overseer, reviews the activity of regular pioneers near midpoint of service year so that any having diﬃculty meeting the hour requirement can be given assistance. Chapter 2 19 ˙ Promptly sends Congregation’s Publisher Record card and a letter of introduction signed by the Congregation Service Committee to the con- gregation to which a publisher moves, without waiting for a formal request from the new con- gregation. If necessary, initiates correspondence requesting such when a publisher moves into his congregation. ˙ Ensures that there is an adequate supply of Re- port of Meeting Attendance (S-3) forms for use by the attendants. Service Overseer 17. The service overseer takes a keen interest in the publishers’ share in the ministry and their eﬀec- tiveness. He is enthusiastic about the ministry and motivates others to have a full share. He is skillful in various aspects of the work, capable of training oth- ers, and alert to do so. 18. The service overseer’s duties include the fol- lowing: ˙ Schedules regular visits to all ﬁeld service groups so that once each month he visits a dif- ferent group. (In smaller congregations with few groups, he may arrange to visit each one twice during the year.) During his visit, he conducts meetings for ﬁeld service, works with the group in the ﬁeld ministry from house to house, and helps publishers with their return visits and Bi- ble studies. Reviews Congregation’s Publisher Re- cord (S-21) cards with the group overseer, and checks the arrangements for ﬁeld service. ˙ Takes the lead, working with the body of elders, in arranging meetings for ﬁeld service at conve- nient times and locations during the day and in the evenings. Arranges for someone to conduct meetings for service, as needed. Organizes wit- 20 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 nessing on holidays and during special cam- paigns. ˙ If congregation territory is large enough, pro- motes and monitors the working of personal ter- ritories.—km 12/06 p. 8; od pp.103-104; km 6/81 p. 3. ˙ Shows genuine interest in the Bible study activi- ty, helping the publishers to conduct eﬀective studies and to direct interest to the organization. ˙ Directly oversees the work of brothers assigned to handle literature, magazines, and territory. Ensures that there will be suﬃcient literature for upcoming campaigns. Makes sure there is always a supply of Field Service Reports (S-4), House-to-House Records (S-8), and so forth.—km 7/92 p. 3; km 4/87 p. 4; km 4/86 p. 3. ˙ Veriﬁes with literature servant quantities of lit- erature to be requested from the branch oﬃce. ˙ Reviews the territory ﬁle once a year, making a list of houses where it is not advisable to call. Under his direction, elders will determine whether these householders would accept visits from Jehovah’s Witnesses. Elders should adhere to recent direction from the branch oﬃce in contacting such ones. ˙ Presents recommendations to the Congregation Service Committee regarding adjustments of publishers assigned to ﬁeld service groups. ˙ He and the coordinator of the body of elders de- termine together if it is advisable for a publisher to conduct a Bible study with the child of a Christian parent.—km 11/03 p. 3. ˙ Along with secretary reviews the activity of the regular pioneers near the midpoint of the ser- vice year so that any having diﬃculty meeting the hour requirement can be given assistance. Chapter 2 21 ˙ Along with the secretary, takes the lead in coor- dinating eﬀorts to care for inactive ones.—See 4:12, 15. Congregation Service Committee 19. The Congregation Service Committee works under the direction of the body of elders and consists of the coordinator, the secretary, and the service overseer. This committee can make certain minor de- cisions that are in harmony with the judgment of the entire body. However, these brothers do not func- tion apart from the body, and their opinions do not carry more weight than those of the other elders. 20. If unusual factors are involved or if the Con- gregation Service Committee is unsure of the think- ing of the body, the entire body of elders should dis- cuss matters and make a decision. 21. The duties of the Congregation Service Com- mittee involve the following: ˙ Approves use of the Kingdom Hall for weddings and funerals.—km 11/08 p. 3; od pp. 42, 122. ˙ Assigns publishers to ﬁeld service groups after consulting with group overseers involved. ˙ Signs correspondence regarding appointment or deletion of elders, ministerial servants, and pio- neers. ˙ Signs letters of introduction to the elders of a publisher’s new congregation. ˙ Processes applications for auxiliary and regular pioneer work, for Bethel service, and for other special service privileges. ˙ Approves publishers who have special needs for accommodations for a district convention.—km 12/07 p. 3, par. 6. 22 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 ˙ Writes the branch oﬃce when a publisher plans to move and wishes to obtain information re- garding congregations having a need for assis- tance.—od pp.111-112. ˙ Determines whether to destroy records concern- ing a person reinstated ﬁve years if the judicial committee is unavailable or unqualiﬁed. May designate other elders to handle this. ˙ A member of the service committee is included in the meeting with each Bible student desir- ous of becoming an unbaptized publisher.—w88 11/15 p.17. ˙ A member of the service committee gives direc- tion on conducting a study with an inactive brother or sister who needs temporary spiritual help.—See 4:15; od pp. 85-86. ˙ If a member of the service committee is absent, another elder may substitute. Group Overseer 22. The group overseer is responsible to assist all in his assigned group to make spiritual advancement. (1 Tim. 4:15) He should be an alert, caring shepherd and a zealous evangelizer. The entire body of elders chooses group overseers. In view of the importance of this assignment, the body of elders should se- lect those elders most qualiﬁed to fulﬁll all the aspects of this assignment. 23. The responsibilities include the following: ˙ Takes an active interest in the spirituality of each person in the ﬁeld service group. Takes note of who is missing during congre- gation meetings, seeks to determine the rea- son, and provides needed assistance. Along with his assistant (or another elder or qualiﬁed min- isterial servant), periodically arranges to visit all in his group to provide encouragement and Chapter 2 23 counsel, concentrating on those who are weak, irregular in meeting attendance or ﬁeld activity, ill, depressed, or inactive. ˙ Assists and trains ministerial servants in the group to reach out and qualify for con- gregation responsibilities. It is best that an- other elder accompany him when visiting some- one in the group having serious problems. However, he may select a qualiﬁed ministerial servant to accompany him when visiting pub- lishers to oﬀer encouragement, which will allow the overseer to observe how the servant reasons on matters. The overseer can ask the ministerial servant in advance to be prepared to share a scripture or a thought from a publication, relate an encouraging experience, or oﬀer prayer. Af- terward, the overseer reviews with the ministeri- al servant the reasons the call was handled the way it was. ˙ Assists each one in the group to have a reg- ular, meaningful, and joyful share in the ministry. If possible, is present for meetings for ﬁeld service on weekends to take the lead. If he cannot be present, makes sure his group will be cared for, either by his assistant or by another qualiﬁed publisher. Periodically reviews with his assistant the record cards of those in his group to determine their strengths and weaknesses in the ministry. (If the assistant is not an elder or a ministerial servant, then the overseer orally shares information with him, noting areas of concern.) Regularly arranges to work in the min- istry with each one to provide encouragement and training in all aspects of the work. Assists in the collection of monthly ﬁeld service re- ports. Endeavors promptly to obtain late reports for the secretary. Promptly provides assistance if any have not participated for an entire month. 24 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 Watchtower Study Conductor 24. Since The Watchtower is the principal means by which the faithful and discreet slave dispenses spiritual food, the conductor chosen by the body of elders should be one of the best teachers on the body. (Jas. 3:1) He should also be one who has “great freeness of speech.”—1 Tim. 3:13. 25. The following will help the conductor to carry out this assignment in a way that will enable the con- gregation to receive the most beneﬁt from the lesson. —w03 9/1 pp. 21-22. ˙ Presents brief, well-prepared opening re- marks for one to one and a half minutes. High- lights the theme and theme scripture, and tries to stimulate interest in the lesson. May do this bycalling attention to the subheadings, by men- tioning questions in the teaching box, or by rais- ing two or three rhetorical questions answered by the lesson. Demonstrates warmth and enthu- siasm. ˙ Does not comment excessively. Avoids any tendency to summarize or enhance comments from the audience. If the audience fails to com- ment on an important point, perhaps asking a speciﬁc auxiliary question will stimulate the thinking of the audience and prompt an ap- propriate comment. Should not ask additional questions unnecessarily, as this tends to stiﬂe commenting. ˙ Concentrates on the theme and main points, and highlights the practical value of the lesson rather than focusing on details. Since much research has been done in produc- ing the lesson, he avoids bringing into the dis- cussion extensive outside theocratic or secular material from personal research. Chapter 2 25 ˙ Highlights artwork and teaching boxes in the lesson. ˙ Focuses on the Bible. Encourages the audience to comment on the scriptures in the lesson. Has the designated scriptures read and commented on. However, the paragraphs should be read un- interrupted. ˙ Encourages as many as possible to partici- pate. Tactfully trains the audience that ﬁrst an- swer should be a direct answer to the printed question. After that, audience may comment on cited scriptures, supporting arguments, practical application of the material, and so forth. En- courages individuals to comment in their own words. Calls on only one person at a time. Does not scold the audience if answers are not forth- coming. ˙ Considers the review box with the congrega- tion. ˙ Keeps concluding remarks under one and a half minutes. ˙ Limits the study to no more than 60 minutes, excluding the songs and closing prayer. Theocratic Ministry School Overseer 26. Since the Theocratic Ministry School trains publishers to present the Kingdom message in a clear and eﬀective way, the body of elders should select a good teacher for this assignment. The body should also choose the auxiliary counselor and any counsel- ors for secondary schools. In congregations that have few elders, qualiﬁed ministerial servants may be used as counselors for secondary schools. Instructions re- garding the school are found in the book Beneﬁt From Theocratic Ministry School Education and the current schedule. 26 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 Pursue Peace With One Another as Spiritual Men 27. Each body of elders is made up of imperfect men with diﬀerent backgrounds and personalities. If these factors are allowed to cause strained relations, the free ﬂow of Jehovah’s spirit can be restricted and the congregation may be adversely aﬀected. (Jas. 3: 16, 18) You must therefore work hard to pursue peace with your fellow elders. (Rom. 12:18; 14:19; 1 Pet. 3:11) The Hebrew word translated “peace” in- cludes the idea of friendship. (it-2 p. 591) Thus, el- ders should cultivate and maintain friendships with one another, not merely tolerate one another. 28. By pursuing peace, you demonstrate that you are a spiritual man. A spiritual man displays self- sacriﬁcing love and other aspects of the fruit- age of God’s spirit, such as peace, long-suﬀering, kindness, mildness, and self-control. (Gal. 5:22, 23) You can demonstrate love by not ﬁnding fault with your fellow elders but by accepting their limitations along with their excelling qualities. “Love . . . does not get puﬀed up, . . . does not look for its own inter- ests, does not become provoked. It does not keep ac- count of the injury. . . . It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Cor. 13:4-7; Matt. 7:1-5) At the same time, you should not hold back from giving fellow elders and their families counsel when needed.—Ps.141:5; Prov. 27:5. 29. A spiritual man takes the lead in show- ing honor to his fellow elders. (Rom. 12:10) One way you can do this is by keeping communication open and free, especially if there are diﬀerences in background. Younger elders should be respectful of older, more experienced elders on the body and dem- onstrate patience. (Lev.19:32) Older elders will not be quick to take oﬀense when younger elders give sug- gestions or oﬀer counsel.—Job 32:4-6; Eccl. 7:9; Joel 2: 28; 1 Pet. 5:5. Chapter 2 27 30. A spiritual man develops “the mind of Christ.” (1 Cor. 2:16) Jesus was humble even though he was the greatest man who ever lived. (John 13:5, 12-17; Phil. 2:5-8) Humility will enable you to accept counsel. (Prov.12:15) Even if you feel the counsel was not entirely justiﬁed, try to learn from it. (Prov.17:10) Seek to imitate Jesus when you feel you are being mistreated. “When [Jesus] was being reviled, he did not go reviling in return. When he was suﬀering, he did not go threatening, but kept on committing him- self to the one who judges righteously.” (1 Pet. 2:23) Remember that the peace and well-being of the con- gregation is more important than personal interests. —Rom.15:1-3; 1 Cor.10:23, 24. 28 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 Chapter 2 29 Closely Examine Scriptural Qualiﬁcations 1. Before meeting to consider recommending brothers as ministerial servants or elders, individual elders should personally review the inspired qualiﬁ- cations found at 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:2; and James 3:17, 18. (w01 1/15 p. 13 par. 10) Help- ful comments on the Scriptural qualiﬁcations can be found in chapters 5 and 6 of Organized to Do Jeho- vah’s Will. 2. During the meeting, closely examine the Scriptural qualiﬁcations of brothers who may qualify, and make sure that the brother being consid- ered measures up to a reasonable degree. Pray for God’s spirit to guide you. (w01 1/15 p.14 par.13) The Chapter Three Appointment and Deletion of Elders and Ministerial Servants Closely examine Scriptural qualiﬁcations when considering brothers Be particularly cautious when considering brothers who have had diﬃculties in the past When meeting to inform a brother of his ap- pointment, do not be hurried; allow suﬃcient time Situations that may raise questions about an appointed man’s qualiﬁcations Follow proper procedure when reviewing an appointed man’s qualiﬁcations When an appointed brother moves into the congregation 30 Governing Body and its representatives rely heavily upon your good judgment and spiritual discernment in making your recommendations. 3. Natural ability does not qualify a brother for ap- pointment. He must be a spiritual man, giving ev- idence that holy spirit is operating on him. (Gal. 6:1; 2 Tim. 1:14;w01 1/15 p. 14 par. 11) Is he zealous for ﬁne works? (Titus 2:12, 14; 1 Pet. 3:13) Is he a good example in his attendance and participation at con- gregation meetings? (Heb. 10:24, 25) Does he dem- onstrate a zeal for the ministry? (Matt. 28:19, 20) Is he a student of the Bible? (1 Tim. 4:15) Does he en- deavor to help his family spiritually, regularly study- ing with his wife and his children living at home? (Eph. 5:29; 6:4) Does he manifest the fruitage of the spirit in his daily life?—Gal. 5:22, 23. 4. The congregation expects elders and min- isterial servants to take the lead in the ministry. (od p. 56 par. 1; w91 1/15 pp. 12-13) What is the brother’s attitude toward preaching? Is he visible in the ministry? Is he doing all he can in view of his age, health, family obligations, and other theocratic re- sponsibilities? To appoint a brother to a position of responsibility who is not exemplary in the ministry will adversely aﬀect the congregation’s zeal for the ministry. 5. Though it is the brother who must measure up to the Scriptural qualiﬁcations, you should also con- sider the spirituality of those in his household. If his wife is baptized, is she a good example? A wife’s conduct often reﬂects favorably or unfavorably upon her husband. (1 Tim. 3:11) If the wife is spiritually weak, he should be doing all that he can to assist her. For instance, is he making Family Worship a priority? He should also have “believing children that [are] not under a charge of debauchery nor unruly.” (Titus 1:6; see ks10 3:15.) As a general rule, he should have well- behaved minor children who are “believing.” They Chapter 3 31 should either be progressing toward dedication to God or be already baptized as Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Scriptural qualiﬁcation involves having “chil- dren in subjection with all seriousness.” (1 Tim. 3:4) The conduct of adult children still living in the home also reﬂects upon him.—w90 9/1 p. 25 par. 7;w88 3/1 p. 24 par. 5. Cautions Before Recommending Certain Brothers 6. Elders should make sure they have full and complete information regarding the brothers they intend to recommend to the circuit overseer and branch oﬃce, especially those in the following cir- cumstances. 7. Brother previously reproved or disfellow- shipped: When was he reproved or disfellow- shipped? What was the oﬀense? In a case of reproof, did the judicial committee make an announcement? If disfellowshipped, what is the date of reinstate- ment? When were the last restrictions lifted? Was he reproved or disfellowshipped on anyother occasions? What convinces you that he has lived down his past wrongdoing and that others now view him as a good example? (w90 9/1 p. 24 par. 5) If the wrongdoing took place in another congregation, have you com- municated with the elders there to determine how that congregation views him? Recommending him prematurely tends to minimize the seriousness of wrongdoing in his own eyes and in the eyes of oth- ers. It is also disturbing tothose who still have his bad course fresh in their memories. 8. Guilty of adultery in the past: It will likely take longer for him to live down his wrong and gain a good reputation. Before discussing his recommenda- tion with the circuit overseer, you should know the an- swers to the following questions: When did the adul- tery occur? Was he reproved or disfellowshipped? In a case of reproof, did the judicial committee make an 32 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 announcement? Did the innocent mate reject him? How do you know this? If he divorced, did he remar- ry? Did he marry the individual with whom he com- mitted adultery? Is there evidence that he schemed to put away his former mate or that he pressured her to accept a divorce? Did the adultery break up the marriage of the other person? How were others af- fected by his adultery? Is the innocent mate still alive? Did the innocent mate remarry? What con- vinces you that he has lived down his past wrongdo- ing and is now viewed with respect? If the wrongdo- ing took place in another congregation, correspond with the elders there to get their comments on your recommendation. 9. Separated or unscripturally divorced: Who is primarily to blame for the marital problems? What were the circumstances surrounding the sepa- ration or divorce? Who is responsible for the separa- tion or pursued the divorce? Did both sign the decree indicating their agreement? How long ago did it oc- cur? What is the brother doing to try to reconcile? Is his mate unwilling to cooperate with his eﬀorts? If so, why? How is his situation viewed by the congre- gations involved? How do the elders of the mate’s congregation feel about the brother? When separa- tion and divorce are involved, there may be deﬁcien- cies on the part of both mates that make it necessary to limit special privileges because neither of them is exemplary.—w88 11/1 p. 21 par. 7. 10. Brothers who served in an appointed po- sition in the past: A clear understanding of the rea- sons for the previous deletion or resignation is neces- sary before making a recommendation. With what congregation did he previously serve, and when was he deleted? What were the reasons why he stopped serving? What makes his circumstances diﬀerent now? What progress has he made since his deletion? Chapter 3 33 Depending on the length of time since his deletion, if he previously served as an elder and his deletion was not the result of gross wrongdoing, it may not be necessary for him to serve ﬁrst as a ministerial ser- vant. If the removal took place in another congrega- tion, you will need to correspond with the elders in that congregation for details of the situation and to get their view of his possible reappointment. Making Recommendations to the Branch Oﬃce 11. The body of elders may recommend a brother as an elder or a ministerial servant on the following occasions: ˙ The circuit overseer visits the congregation. He will submit S-2 forms to the branch oﬃce, pro- viding comments on the brother’s qualiﬁca- tions and indicating whether the circuit over- seer agrees with the recommendation or not, and why. ˙ A brother moves into the congregation with a letter of recommendation to reappoint, and the next visit of the circuit overseer is not in the near future. If the body of elders in the new congre- gation concurs that the brother qualiﬁes, the Congregation Service Committee may send a letter to the branch oﬃce recommending his immediate reappointment. The letter from the new congregation should include the brother’s full name, birth date, and baptism date. A copy of the letter of recommendation signed by the service committee from his former congrega- tion must be included. The branch oﬃce will not act on the recommendation unless the en- tire Congregation Service Committee of each congregation signs their respective letter. If the recommendation is approved, an S-52 appoint- ment letter will be sent to the congregation. 34 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 After You Receive the Response From the Branch Oﬃce 12. When the body of elders receives notice from the branch oﬃce of the appointment of a brother as an elder or a ministerial servant, the coordinator should assign two elders to meet with the brother be- fore announcing the appointment. The atmosphere during the discussion should emphasize the serious- ness of the matter; the elders should not rush the discussion or handle it in a casual manner. 13. In every case, the elders must ask the follow- ing questions: “Is there anything from your past, even before baptism, or in your personal or family life that disqualiﬁes you or that would prevent you from accepting this appointment? Is there any reason why your appointment should not be announced to the congregation?” If the brother has not previously served as an elder or a ministerial servant, ask the fol- lowing question: “Have you ever been involved at any time in the past with child sexual molestation?” If he answers yes to any of these questions, do not an- nounce the appointment. Return the S-2 form or S-52 appointment letter tothe branch oﬃce, and pro- vide a complete explanation as to why the appoint- ment should be annulled. If the brother answers no to these questions and accepts the appointment, the elders might direct his attention to information pro- vided by “the faithful and discreet slave” that will help him fulﬁll his new privilege of service.—Matt. 24:45; od chaps. 5-6. 14. If the branch oﬃce does not appoint a recom- mended brother, the elders should endeavor to help him qualify. Two elders may speak with the brother at an appropriate time and discreetly explain what he needs to do to qualify. The elders should nei- ther inform him that the body of elders rec- ommended him nor read to him from the Chapter 3 35 conﬁdential letter received from the branch oﬃce that explains why he was not appointed. On occasion the branch oﬃce will not approve a recom- mendation so as to allow time for the brother to de- velop maturity and experience or to live down past conduct. In such cases, there may be no need to dis- cuss matters with the brother. Situations That May Raise Questions About an Appointed Man’s Qualiﬁcations 15. Members of the brother’s household are involved in serious wrongdoing: The brother’s qualiﬁcations should automatically be reviewed if this occurs. If the brother’s wife or children, including adult children living in his home, have serious prob- lems, the body should seek to determine whether the head of the household was negligent. Was he permis- sive? Was he alert to provide needed direction, antic- ipating potential problems? Was he conducting a reg- ular family study? Was he giving his family needed time and attention? When he became aware of seri- ous wrongdoing, did he promptly inform the body of elders sothat theycould properly investigate the mat- ter? Did he shield his family from discipline or try to manipulate the elders’ handling of the situation? Does he continue to have the respect and conﬁdence of the congregation as an exemplary family head? If one of his children was guilty of serious sin, are the other children doing well spiritually? If the brother has done all that can reasonably be expected and es- pecially if he has had spiritual success with others in his household, rejection of his ﬁne direction by one family member would not necessarily disqualify him if he continues to have the respect of the congrega- tion.—w88 3/1 p. 24; w78 2/1 pp. 31-32; w72 2/15 p.126. 16. A disfellowshipped or disassociated fami- ly member moves back into the home: This is a 36 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 decision for the family head, not the body of elders. However, such a decision may cause many problems. If the brother has allowed a disfellowshipped or disas- sociated family member to move into his home, the body of elders should review his qualiﬁcations. Is the disfellowshipped or disassociated individual unable to live on his own, or has he moved back because it is an easier life? Are there valid reasons for allowing him back in the home, or is it primarily so that the Christian family members can resume a measure of association with him? Did the family avoid unneces- sarycontact with himwhen he was living outside the home? Is the arrangement temporary or permanent? What is the disfellowshipped or disassociated indi- vidual’s conduct? What spiritual eﬀect is he having on others in the household, especially siblings? Is the congregation disturbed by the brother’s deci- sion? Have a number lost respect for him?—km 8/02 pp. 3-4; w81 9/15 pp. 28-29. 17. Bankruptcy: If an elder or a ministerial ser- vant declares bankruptcy, causing members of the congregation or the community to become upset, the elders should review his qualiﬁcations. Did the brother lack self-control in his spending or fail to use reasonable foresight in his business decisions? Does he have a reputation for being honest and responsi- ble? Is he viewed as one who conscientiously tries to pay his debts? Does he feel a moral responsibility to repay canceled debts if former creditors would accept payment? Does he still have the respect of the con- gregation? Does he continue to have “a ﬁne testimo- ny from people on the outside”?—1 Tim. 3:7; w94 9/15 pp. 30-31; w68 pp. 223-224. 18. Tacit approval of a marriage between a baptized Christian and a person who is not baptized: An appointed man should be loyal to Je- hovah’s standards, including the Scriptural directive to marry “only in the Lord.” (1 Cor. 7:39; 2 Cor. 6:14, Chapter 3 37 15; Titus 1:8; w04 7/1 p. 31) This directive applies to all Christians, even those who are inactive. Questions about a brother’s qualiﬁcations would result if he gave tacit approval to a marriage between a baptized Christian and a person who is not baptized. Par- ticipating in, supporting, or assisting in the court- ship, wedding, or reception implies approval. Ques- tions would also arise if the brother did not get involved personally but allowed his wife or others in his household to do so. If an elder or a ministerial ser- vant displays poor judgment in these areas to a de- gree that it raises serious questions in the minds of others, he may be Scripturally disqualiﬁed from serv- ing.—w02 5/1 p. 17 pars. 13-15;w01 5/15 pp. 20-21 pars.16-17. 19. If it comes to light or an appointed brother confesses that he has committed a dis- fellowshipping oﬀense years in the past: The body of elders may determine he can continue to serve if the following is true: The immoralityor other serious wrongdoing occurred more than a few years ago, and he is genuinely repentant, recognizing that he should have come forward immediately when he sinned. (Perhaps he has even confessed to his sin, seeking help with his guilty conscience.) He has been serving faithfully for many years, has evidence of God’s blessing, and has the respect of the congrega- tion. 20. If the sin occurred before he was appointed as an elder or a ministerial servant, the elders will need to take into consideration the fact that he should have mentioned this possible impediment to his be- ing qualiﬁed when elders interviewed him just prior to announcing his appointment. Moreover, the na- ture of the sin may reﬂect greatly on his qualiﬁca- tions to serve. For example, the sin may involve past child abuse, and this would likely disqualify him for many years.—w97 1/1 pp. 26-29; w77 pp. 697-698. 38 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 21. If the wrongdoing occurred within the past few years while he was serving as an elder or a ministerial servant, he is disqualiﬁed from serving as such, not being “free from accusation.” (1 Tim. 3:2, 10; Titus 1: 6, 7) Depending on the circumstances, the situation may also need to be handled by a judicial committee. —See 5:43-44. Procedure for Reviewing the Qualiﬁcations of Appointed Brothers Who Experience Diﬃculties 22. Do not be quick to recommend deletion un- less there is a solid basis for doing so. It may be possi- ble to assist the brother so that he can correct the rea- sons for disqualiﬁcation and continue to serve. Has the brother served faithfully for many years? What has he done or failed to dothat raises questions? How did he react to counsel? Has he had such diﬃculties in the past, and how did he then respond to eﬀorts to help? Was his wrongdoing really so serious that it re- quires restricting his privileges? Possibly he just made a mistake, using poor judgment on an occasion. The congregation in general may still have respect for him and conﬁdence in him as an elder or a ministeri- al servant. Perhaps the matter is not widely known, if at all. If he realizes his action was unwise, has learned from his mistake, has a good attitude, and wants to improve, it may be that he can continue to serve. 23. If it is necessary to review an elder’s qual- iﬁcations, the body of elders should consider the matter, with the brother in question present, using the following procedure: ˙ After seeking Jehovah’s guidance in prayer, make sure all the facts are presented. Maintain a respectful, orderly atmosphere that is conducive to such a discussion. ˙ Allow the brother adequate time to express his feelings and to answer any questions. Ask him Chapter 3 39 for his view of the matters being discussed re- garding his qualiﬁcations. ˙ Ask the brother to leave the room while the oth- er elders continue their discussion and make a decision on what they will recommend. ˙ Invite the brother back into the room. If the de- cision is to recommend his deletion, inform him of this and the Scriptural reasons. ˙ Give the brother the opportunity to comment on the decision. This allows the elders to hear the brother’s defense of himself if he chooses to make a defense. It may be necessary for the brother to leave the room again so that the el- ders can discuss the matter further before mak- ing a ﬁnal decision. ˙ If the elders decide to recommend his deletion and the brother disagrees with that recommen- dation, they should inform him that he may submit a letter stating why he does not agree with the recommendation. His letter should be included with the elders’ letter of explanation to the branch oﬃce. 24. If the qualiﬁcations of a ministerial ser- vant are being reviewed, the same basic procedure is followed except that rather than having the broth- er present during the meeting of the bodyof elders, it would usually be suﬃcient for two elders to speak with him in advance to hear him out. If the body of elders decides to recommend his deletion, the two el- ders would meet with him again to inform him of the decision and the Scriptural reasons and to give him the opportunity to express himself. If he dis- agrees with the elders’ decision, he may submit a let- ter to the body of elders stating why he does not agree with the recommendation. The elders will con- sider his letter and determine whether to hold to their decision or not. If the visit of the circuit over- 40 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 seer is close, it would be good to discuss the matter with him. Recommending Deletions to the Branch Oﬃce 25. The approval of the branch oﬃce is re- quired when deletions of elders and ministerial ser- vants are recommended in the following circum- stances: ˙ A brotherresigns for personal reasons. Two elders should ﬁrst discuss the matter with him. Why does he wish to resign? Is he Scripturally disqualiﬁed? If his personal circumstances hin- der him from doing what he would like, can the elders be of any assistance and encouragement? Until his circumstances change, perhaps they can lighten his load for a period of time while he continues to serve. If, after this discussion, he still feels he wants to resign, then the Con- gregation Service Committee should write the branch oﬃce and give suﬃcient information so that the reasons for resignation are clear. Full de- tails should be provided as to why he chose to relinquish his privilege of service. ˙ The elders recommend deletion due to poor judgment not of a judicial nature. In most cases, it is best to consider such matters during the visit of the circuit overseer. However, if seri- ous questions arise concerning a brother’s qual- iﬁcations and the next visit of the circuit over- seer is not in the near future, the elders should make their recommendation to the branch of- ﬁce. They should supply the following informa- tion: What has he done or failed to do that rais- es questions? What is he doing now, or not doing, that is diﬀerent from when you recom- mended him for appointment? Does he agree with the recommendation for his deletion? If he disagrees, he may submit a letter along with the Chapter 3 41 elders’ letter of explanation, stating why he does not accept the recommendation. Meanwhile, he will continue to serve as an elder or a ministerial servant. The body of elders will determine what congregation responsibilities he will have in the interim, according to the circumstances. 26. An announcement of deletion should be made to the congregation only after receiving from the branch oﬃce the returned S-2 form or an S-52 let- ter indicating that the recommendation has been ap- proved. In such a case, the brother should be in- formed of his deletion before the announcement is made. The announcement should read as follows: “Brother [name of person] is no longer serving as an elder (a ministerial servant).” 27. In addition to the above situations, the branch oﬃce should be informed whenever an elder or a ministerial servant is no longer serving for the fol- lowing reasons: ˙ Moving or death: The circuit overseer will in- form the branch oﬃce following his next vis- it to the congregation. In such cases, an an- nouncement of deletion would not be made to the congregation. ˙ Disassociation, disfellowshipping, or re- proof by a judicial committee: After a judi- cial charge is clearly established, an announce- ment of deletion should be made to the congregation at the next Service Meeting with- out waiting for an acknowledgment from the branch oﬃce. The Congregation Service Com- mittee should inform the branch oﬃce im- mediately of the deletion, providing full in- formation about the case. Include the speciﬁc judicial oﬀense, the name of any other per- son involved, any counsel given, and how the wrongdoing became known to the elders. Please 42 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 also specify the action taken (whether disasso- ciation, disfellowshipping, or judicial reproof, and whether an announcement of reproof was made to the congregation). If one disassociates himself or is disfellowshipped, an announce- ment to that eﬀect is made to the congregation. If the case is handled just prior to the visit of the circuit overseer, the deletion may be included with his report to the branch oﬃce and the de- tails of the case provided in a conﬁdential sup- plementary letter. 28. If the coordinator or secretary is being delet- ed, ﬁll out and include the Coordinator of the Body of Elders/Secretary Change of Address (S-29) form. 29. Information concerning the deletion of an elder or a ministerial servant should be re- tained indeﬁnitely in the congregation’s conﬁ- dential ﬁle. This would include S-2 forms and S-52 acknowledgment letters from the branch oﬃce and related correspondence. Such background material will be helpful in supplying the branch oﬃce with complete details in the event the brother is recom- mended for reappointment in the future. When an Appointed Brother Moves to Another Congregation 30. The Congregation Service Committee should send a letter of introduction to the elders in the new congregation that plainly states whether the body of elders recommends that he continue to serve. Did he serve in other congregations? What is his total time of serving in an appointed capacity? In what assignments does he have experience? All three members of the Congregation Service Committee should sign the letter of introduction. Chapter 3 43 31. If any of the elders have serious reservations about the qualiﬁcations of an appointed brother who is moving, the body of elders should meet as soon as possible to determine whether they will recommend him for reappointment or not. If they do not recom- mend him, two or more elders should meet with him before he leaves and clearly explain the reason for the body’s decision. The letter of introduction should clearly explain their concerns and the counsel they gave him. When an Appointed Brother Moves Into the Congregation 32. Elders and ministerial servants who move to a new congregation with a favorable letter of recommendation and who have a favorable recom- mendation from the elders of the new congregation but who have not yet been reappointed may be used to handle Bible highlights, parts on the Service Meet- ing, public talks, and so forth, according to their abil- ities. They may attend a Kingdom Ministry School. In addition, they can be present with the ministeri- al servants during the meeting the circuit overseer conducts with the appointed servants in the con- gregation. If the circuit overseer’s outline includes additional information for elders only, recommend- ed elders who have not yet been reappointed can re- main as this information is discussed. However, they should not be present when recommendations and local congregation needs are considered. If the broth- er is not recommended for reappointment either by the previous body of elders or by the new body of el- ders, he would not be eligible to attend the spiritual programs mentioned above. Brothers who served as elders in their former congregation do not function in an oﬃcial capacity as elders (such as by serving on judicial committees or attending meetings of the body of elders) in their new congregation until they are reappointed. 44 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 ˙ If an elder or a ministerial servant regularly moves away to live at a second residence, he should not be appointed in both congregations. One congregation should hold the Congrega- tion’s Publisher Record (S-21) card. Each time he leaves, the elders should write a letter to the congregation where he will be temporarily, ex- plaining his circumstances and how he was be- ing used. The elders of the congregation he is visiting can use him to care for duties and re- sponsibilities in the congregation as outlined above. Even if he will be away for more than three months, he should send his ﬁeld service reports to his home congregation. Chapter 3 45 46 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 1. Elders need to maintain the proper attitude to- ward assisting others. The apostle Paul referred to an outstanding quality of Jesus when he wrote: “We, though, who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those not strong, and not to be pleasing ourselves. . . . For even the Christ did not please himself.” (Rom. 15:1-3) Paul told the Ephesian elders: “You must as- sist those who are weak.” (Acts 20:35) Elders should be keenly aware of the need to “speak consolingly to the depressed souls, support the weak, be long- suﬀering toward all.” (1 Thess. 5:14) By doing so, el- ders imitate the Great Shepherd, Jehovah!—Ps. 23: 1-4. 2. Today, Jehovah is having a loving work done that harmonizes with his ancient promise: “I will search for my sheep and care for them. . . . I will de- liver them out of all the places to which they have been scattered . . . In a good pasturage I shall feed them . . . The lost one I shall search for, . . . and the broken one I shall bandage and the ailing one I shall strengthen.”—Ezek. 34:11-16. 3. What, though, if your eﬀorts do not seem to be producing good results? Do not give up quickly. Adjusting an imperfect heart can be a delicate and time-consuming endeavor, but it can lead to great Chapter Four Assisting Those Who Are Weak Be alert to symptoms of spiritual weakness Help the weak to adopt and maintain a good spiritual routine Provide the needed help promptly 47 satisfaction. (Ps.103:13, 14; 2 Cor.13:7-9) Be support- ive yet balanced in the amount of time you spend on those with chronic problems. Symptoms of Spiritual Weakness 4. Alert, loving shepherds will detect symp- toms of spiritual unsteadiness in others and then act decisively to help them before the problems es- calate into serious sins. (Gal. 6:1, 2) Symptoms of spiritual fatigue include: lackof self-control in eating, drinking, and pursuit of pleasure; a complacent spir- it; loss of enthusiasm for the truth, including daily Bible reading and personal study; harboring serious and lingering doubts; neglecting association at con- gregation meetings; and becoming overly critical of elders and the organization.—w861/15 pp.18-19. 5. Signs of spiritual weakness are usually symptoms of neglecting one or more aspects of a good spiritual routine. Once you recognize signs of spiritual weakness, help the weak one see how he can make improvement. Scriptural shepherding calls can often encourage individuals to identify any spiri- tual weakness and avoid falling into serious sin. Try to motivate him to take advantage of the following Scriptural provisions to strengthen his faith: prayer for help by holy spirit (Luke 11:13; Gal. 5:22, 23; 1 Pet. 4:7); daily Bible reading and personal study in Christian publications (Ps. 1:1, 2); meditation on Scriptural matters (Ps. 77:12); regular attendance at meetings, assemblies, and conventions (Neh. 8:1-3, 8, 10; Heb. 10:23-25); regular participation in ﬁeld service (Acts 20:18-21); willingness to accept spiritual help from congregation elders as well as from travel- ing overseers.—Rom.1:11, 12; Heb.13:17. Shepherding That Encourages 6. The primary objective of a shepherding call is to impart a spiritual gift, to help make ﬁrm, and to 48 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 have an interchange of encouragement. (Rom. 1:11, 12) An elder may shepherd at the publisher’s home, at the Kingdom Hall, while in ﬁeld service, over the telephone, or on other occasions. The following basic points will assist in making encouraging visits to the homes of publishers. ˙ Make an appointment: Show consideration by making an appointment. If there is a serious problem you plan to discuss, it would be proper to inform the publisher of this before making the call. ˙ Prepare: Pray for Jehovah’s guidance. Consider the individual’s circumstances in determining his spiritual condition. Give thought to what kind of direction, encouragement, or counsel will be most beneﬁcial. When there is a serious problem, arrange for another elder to accompa- ny you. On other calls, you may take a qualiﬁed ministerial servant. ˙ Keep the atmosphere relaxed, loving, and positive: Express genuine concern for the indi- vidual’s welfare. Give warm commendation for the good things he has done and is doing. Listen carefully. If you perceive that he might have a problem, tactfully draw the person out. Adapt your comments according to the need. ˙ Use the Bible: God’s Word should be the pri- mary source of information because it “exerts power.” (Heb. 4:12) Skillful use of it lets Jehovah speak to the heart of the brother or sister. ˙ Do not stay too long: If an agreed-upon time is established, stick to it. If necessary, set up an- other visit to continue the discussion. ˙ Conclude with a prayer: A prayer is appropri- ate and truly appreciated.—Phil. 4:6, 7. ˙ Follow up to see if further aid is needed and can be given. Chapter 4 49 Giving Eﬀective Counsel 7. Giving counsel is not only a privilege but also a weighty responsibility. Be alert to give counsel be- fore bad trends progress too far. (Prov. 27:5, 6) Before proceeding with counsel, give careful thought as to what should be said and how to present the counsel in order to obtain the best results. Your en- deavor should be to readjust the person so that he will grow spiritually.—Gal. 6:1. 8. Take suﬃcient time to listen; get all the facts. (Jas. 1:19; Prov. 18:13) It is essential to get the whole picture if you are to manifest true understanding, in- sight, and discernment in handling any question or problem. 9. Carefully plan your remarks; weigh your words. Endeavor to express yourself in a loving way. Remem- ber that you are dealing with Jehovah’s sheep and they should be treated with tenderness. (Ps. 100:3; w89 9/15 p. 19) Generally, it is beneﬁcial to preface exhortation with speciﬁc, sincere commendation. 10. Carefully base what you say on the Bible and on Bible-based publications. (Ps. 119:105) Rather than expressing your personal opinion, let the Bible shape your view of what needs to be said. Endeavor to reach the heart, not just the mind. 11. In sensitive areas, such as dress and grooming and entertainment, it may be wise to seek the obser- vations of another elder before providing counsel. This will ensure that your counsel is solidly based on God’s Word and is not simply your personal opinion or preference. (Eccl. 7:16) If the counsel is appropri- ate, then you should speak to the individual without delay. Assisting Those Who Are Inactive 12. The service overseer, along with the secretary, should be alert to assign each inactive publisher in 50 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 the territory to a group overseer. The group overseer should then endeavor to provide needed help, either personally or through another qualiﬁed elder in the group. Depending on the circumstances, group ser- vants or assistants may accompany an elder when he visits an inactive one. 13. The principal objective of a visit is to help in- active ones appreciate that Jehovah cares for them. The shepherds should endeavor to be warm and up- building. They might share a few encouraging Scrip- tural points from chapter 24 of Draw Close to Jehovah or from the article “You Are Precious in God’s Eyes!,” which appeared in the April 1,1995, Watchtower, pag- es 10-15, or from The Watchtower of November 15, 2008, pages 8-16. Other material may be used, ac- cording to the needs and circumstances of the per- son. 14. When an inactive person has been involved in serious wrongdoing and now desires to return to the congregation, the shepherds need to reﬂect Jehovah’s endearing quality of love. If the person acknowledges that he has sinned against Jehovah and he demon- strates genuine repentance, the shepherds will help him to appreciate that he can receive Jehovah’s for- giveness. Loving discipline may be required.—Heb. 12:7-11; see The Watchtower of November 15, 2008, pages 14-15, paragraphs 12-13. 15. A Bible study may be helpful in some cases when an inactive publisher wishes to resume activity with the congregation. The group overseer may dis- cuss this with the service overseer, who will then consult with the other members of the service com- mittee. If the service committee arranges for a Bible study, they should consider who is best suited to con- duct the study, weighing the circumstances that are involved. They should also determine what material should be used. With inactive ones who have a good Chapter 4 51 knowledge of Bible truth but who have been side- tracked from Christian activities, a study of section 4 of Draw Close to Jehovah may help them to rekindle their love for Jehovah.—od pp. 85-86. 16. If the person has been inactive for only a short time, a helping hand from an experienced publisher might be all that is needed to reactivate the individu- al in the ﬁeld service. A Bible study may not be neces- sary. 17. Before a longtime inactive one is invited to share again in the ministry, two elders should meet with him to see if he meets the basic requirements to serve as a publisher, as outlined on pages 79-81 of Or- ganized to Do Jehovah’s Will.—km 11/00 “Question Box.” Assisting Those With Marital Problems 18. The way married people discharge their mari- tal responsibilities aﬀects their relationship with Je- hovah. (1 Pet. 3:7) In addition, a marriage can either bring honor to Jehovah and the congregation or cause reproach. Therefore, if fellow Christians experi- ence marital diﬃculties resulting in one or both par- ties approaching the elders to seek help, the elders should try to provide loving counsel from the Scrip- tures and practical suggestions from Christian publi- cations. Usually it is best to have both mates present. If onlyone is present, discuss only what he or she can do to improve the situation. 19. Elders should be modest as they try to pro- vide help. Because they cannot know everything that occurs in a marriage, they should avoid taking sides. (Prov. 18:13) Likely both mates could make improve- ment and must share the blame for their marital problems. (Rom. 3:23; Jas. 3:2) Jehovah has not given elders the authority to make marital decisions for others. (2 Cor. 1:24; Gal. 6:5; w88 11/1 p. 21) Though 52 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 the elders can oﬀer assistance, it is up to the couple to decide how they will handle their marital aﬀairs. 20. If a Christian is contemplating separa- tion, the elders can point out what the Scriptures say. (1 Cor. 7:10, 11) They can explain that there are a few exceptional situations that some have viewed as a ba- sis for separation. (lv pp. 219-221; w8811/1 pp. 22-25) If the Christian is considering obtaining a divorce, the elders should explain that divorce does not free him to remarry unless adulteryoccurs. (Matt.19:9) In addition, the extreme step of divorce may make it more diﬃcult to reconcile. Elders should not encour- age separation or divorce; neither should they forbid it. Separation and divorce are personal matters, and each Christian will have to accept the consequences for his decision. (Gal. 6:7) However, the elders may determine that a publisher’s decisions in this area disqualify him or her from receiving special privi- leges normally given to those viewed as exemplary. Encouraging Those Who Were Abused in Their Childhood 21. Those who as children were abused, sexually or otherwise, many times grow up to be adults with emotional scars. They are in need of much loving at- tention. Thus, you will want to be conscious of treating such ones with thoughtfulness, ten- derness, and kindness. Such an attitude helps to assure them that you really care for them and that you are “like a hiding place from the wind and a place of concealment from the rainstorm.” (Isa. 32:2) Like God, we should be “tenderly compassionate.” (Eph. 4:32) When oﬀering encouragement to such ones, select from the body of elders those elders best qualiﬁed to give the needed assistance. Remember that elders have varied abilities; some may be more eﬀective than others in handling these cases.—1 Cor. 12:4. Chapter 4 53 22. It must be recognized that elders as such are not mental-health professionals or therapists but are spiritual shepherds. (1 Pet. 5:2) Conse- quently, you should not conduct sessions for what some may view as group therapy. It is not necessary to spend time reading secular publications dealing with worldly psychology or psychiatry. You should not take on a role similar to that of a professional therapist. Someone who has serious mental or emo- tional illness may need professional help.—w8810/15 p. 27. 23. One way you can show sincere interest is by being a good listener. (Prov. 21:13; Jas. 1:19) The Oc- tober 1, 1983, issue of The Watchtower, on page 28, cautions against telling a suﬀerer who seeks assis- tance just to forget what occurred. Many have found great relief simply in talking with a sympathetic, nonjudgmental elder who can provide “the good word” of encouragement. (Prov. 12:25) God’s Word has healing power. Jehovah can heal “brokenhearted ones.” (Ps. 30:2; 147:3) Though you may need to ask tactful questions to help an aﬄicted one express him- self, avoid probing unnecessarily or repeatedly into the details of the abuse, which can have a negative ef- fect. After patiently listening, apply the soothing oil of God’s Word. (Jas. 5:13-15) ‘The peace of God excels all thought,’ including disquieting thoughts.—Phil. 4:7; Ps. 94:19; w95 1/1 p. 9 pars. 18-20; g91 10/8 pp. 3-11. 24. Sometimes a sister who suﬀered abuse as a child may approach a capable older sister for help. It is understood that a sister would not get in- volved in matters that need the attention of the el- ders. She can, however, give such a sister emotion- al support and encouragement as her circumstances and time allow. (w90 3/15 p. 28) If the elders are aware that a sister is oﬀering such help, they should 54 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 check with her from time to time as to the progress being made. 25. There are times when an emotionally dis- tressed Christian may seek professional help. Whether a Christian or his family pursues treatment from psychiatrists, psychologists, or therapists is a personal decision. An elder should not assume the re- sponsibility of recommending a speciﬁc practitioner or facility. He may draw attention to or discuss ma- terial in the publications that provides cautions re- garding therapies that may conﬂict with Bible princi- ples. (w88 10/15 pp. 28-29; w82 6/15 pp. 25-29; w75 pp. 255-256) While participating in group therapy by a professional therapist is a matter for personal deci- sion, there could be a revealing of conﬁdential facts about other members of the Christian congregation during such sessions if a Christian does not exercise discretion. 26. Elders must recognize that the time they can spend in helping those who are disturbed emotion- ally is limited. Therefore, they must balance this shepherding responsibility with all their other responsibilities, which include caring for the spiri- tual, emotional, and material needs of their own family and assisting all in the congregation. In some cases an abuse victim may ask for more attention than you can give. Elders need to maintain sound- ness of mind. (1 Pet. 4:7) Some elders have found it beneﬁcial to place limits on the time they spend in shepherding. It may take several visits to get the de- sired relief for the victim, if this is possible. If the in- dividual approaches you looking for help at times when you cannot discuss the problem extensively, perhaps giving some brief words of encouragement, assuring that one of Jehovah’s love, reading an appro- priate scripture, or oﬀering a short prayer will aﬃrm tothe suﬀerer your interest and willingness to help to the extent possible. Also, discussing Biblical examples Chapter 4 55 of some who had to endure a terrible childhood and yet succeeded in becoming faithful servants of Jeho- vah can help suﬀerers see that they need not be permanent victims of a bad family life.—w01 4/15 pp. 25-28. Cautions Regarding Assisting Sisters 27. Elders and ministerial servants must never meet alone with a sister not closely related to them and should avoid becoming the sole conﬁdant of an individual of the opposite sex who is experiencing marital problems. This includes lengthy phone con- versations. Of course, this does not mean that it would be inappropriate for an elder to talk with a sis- ter while in the full view of others at her home, at congregation meetings, or in the ﬁeld service.—w06 9/15 p. 26 par. 7. 28. It is important never to meet alone with a sis- ter who is a victim of abuse, suﬀers from depres- sion, or for any other reason is in a delicate emotional state. A woman in such an emotional state may be more vulnerable and may be prone to develop improper feelings toward an elder meeting with her. So that this does not occur, it is the course of wisdom to have diﬀerent pairs of elders involved in shepherding such a sister. This would serve as a protection for the elders, as well as for the sister, be- cause it is possible for an elder to develop improper feelings for a sister he is comforting or counseling. —Jer.17:9. 56 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 Chapter 4 57 1. Elders should act promptly when they receive a report of serious wrongdoing so as to safeguard the congregation and provide assistance to the wrongdo- er. (Jude 4) Neglecting to care for such matters can hinder the ﬂow of Jehovah’s holy spirit to the con- gregation. Elders must ﬁrst assess whether the alleged wrongdoing, if established, is serious enough to re- quire a judicial committee. Oﬀenses Requiring Judicial Decisions 2. Listed below are oﬀenses that may require re- view by a judicial committee. Of course, this list is not comprehensive. There may be other matters that would also merit the attention of a judicial commit- tee. The elders must use good judgment and reason- ableness when evaluating the seriousness of the al- leged wrongdoing. They should consider the extent and nature of the misconduct, intent and motive, fre- quencyor practice, and so forth. If there is a question about whether certain wrongdoing merits judicial ac- tion, the body of elders may write to the branch Chapter Five Determining Whether a Judicial Committee Should Be Formed Act promptly upon receiving a report of serious wrongdoing Is the alleged oﬀense serious? Has the wrongdoing been established? Are there other factors to be considered? 58 oﬃce requesting further direction concerning the case. 3. Manslaughter: Aside from deliberate murder, bloodguilt may be incurred if a person causes loss of life through carelessness or because of violating a traﬃc law or other safety law of Caesar. The elders should investigate and if warranted appoint a judicial committee to hear the matter. The committee should base its decision on clearly established facts, not sim- plyon a decision that may have been made by secular authorities.—Deut. 22:8; w06 9/15 p. 30. 4. Attempted suicide may be the result of deep despair or major depression. Deal carefully and com- passionately with such a person. In most cases a judi- cial hearing is not required.—Ps. 88:3, 17, 18; Prov. 15: 13; Eccl. 7:7; w90 3/1 pp. 5-9; 3/15 pp. 26-30; g90 9/8 pp. 22-23; w83 8/1 pp. 3-11. 5. Por·neia: (Lev. 20:10,13,15,16; Rom.1:24, 26, 27, 32; 1 Cor. 6:9,10) Por·neia involves immoral use of the genitals, whether in a natural or in a perverted way, with lewd intent. There must have been anoth- er party to the immorality—a human of either sex or a beast. Willing participation incurs guilt and re- quires judicial action. It is not a casual touching of the sexorgans but involves the manipulation of the genitals. It includes oral sex, anal sex, and manipula- tion of the genitals between individuals not married to each other. (lv p. 99; w06 7/15 pp. 29-30; w04 2/15 p. 13; w00 11/1 p. 8 par. 6; w83 6/1 pp. 23-26) Por- neia does not require skin-to-skin contact, copula- tion (as in penetration), or sexual climax. 6. Self-abuse, or masturbation of oneself, is not por·neia. 7. One who was raped would not be guilty of por- neia. Discernment is needed in considering claims of rape, taking into consideration such factors as the mental disposition of the person, the circumstanc- es that led up to the incident, and any delay in Chapter 5 59 reporting.—w03 2/1 pp. 30-31; it-1 pp. 862-864; w83 3/15 p. 30 ftn. 8. In all cases involving the possibilityof por·neia, it is the responsibility of the judicial committee to use the Scriptures to weigh carefully the facts in each case. This responsibility is especially serious when it involves the Scriptural freedom to remarry. (Mal. 2: 16a) In situations inwhich the elders are uncertain or divided on their conclusions, it is best to write the branch oﬃce. 9. Brazen conduct, loose conduct: (Gal. 5:19) The Greek word translated “brazen conduct,” or “loose conduct,” is a·selgei·a. Strong’s Greek Dictio- nary uses very forceful terms to deﬁne it: “licentious- ness; ﬁlth[iness], lasciviousness, wantonness.” The New Thayer’s Greek English Lexicon adds to the list “unbridled lust, . . . outrageousness, shamelessness, insolence.”Another lexicon deﬁnes a·selgei·a as con- duct that “violates all bounds of what is socially ac- ceptable.” Rather than relating to bad conduct of a somewhat petty or minor nature, “brazen conduct” describes acts that reﬂect an attitude that betrays dis- respect, disregard, or even contempt for divine stan- dards, laws, and authority. Therefore, two elements are involved in brazen conduct: (1) The conduct itself is a serious violation of Jehovah’s laws, and (2) the at- titude of the wrongdoer toward God’s laws is disre- spectful, insolent.—w06 7/15 p. 30; w83 3/15 p. 31; w73 pp. 574-576. 10. Though this is not an exhaustive list, brazen conduct may be involved in the following if the wrongdoer has an insolent, contemptuous atti- tude made evident by a practice of these things: ˙ Willful, continued, unnecessary association with disfellowshipped nonrelatives despite repeated counsel.—Matt. 18:17b; 1 Cor. 5:11, 13; 2 John 10, 11;w81 9/15 pp. 25-26. 60 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 ˙ Child sexual abuse: This would include fon- dling of breasts, an explicitly immoral proposal, showing pornography to a child, voyeurism, in- decent exposure, and so forth. ˙ Continuing to date or pursue a romantic relationship with a person though not le- gally or Scripturally free to marry, despite re- peated counsel and generally after a warning talk tothe congregation.—Gal. 5:19; 2 Thess. 3:6, 14, 15. 11. Evidence (testiﬁed to by at least two wit- nesses) that the accused stayed all night in the same house with a person of the opposite sex (or in the same house with a known homosexu- al) under improper circumstances.—If questions are raised regarding Scriptural freedom to remarry, see 12:12. ˙ Elders should use good judgment in assess- ing the situation before forming a judicial committee. Were the two persons alone togeth- er all night? Is there evidence of a romantic relationship? Are there understandable reasons, such as an unexpected emergency, that caused the situation? ˙ If there are no extenuating circumstances, a ju- dicial committee would be formed on the basis of strong circumstantial evidence of por·neia. ˙ Depending upon the attitude of the accused, there might even be evidence of brazen con- duct. Consider the following examples: ˙ A married brother spends an inordinate amount of time with his female secretary after work hours but insists there is no romantic interest. His concerned wife informs the elders, who give him strong counsel. Later, when he claims to be leaving overnight for a “business trip,” his Chapter 5 61 suspicious wife and a relative follow him to the secretary’s home. They observe the secretary in- vite him inside at 10 p.m. and continue watch- ing all night until he leaves the home at 7 a.m. When the elders speak to him, he admits that he spent the night alone with his secretary, but he denies that he committed adultery. In such a case, the elders have a basis to take judicial ac- tion because there is strong circumstantial evi- dence of por·neia and there may be elements of brazen conduct. The innocent mate’s con- science may allow her to choose to divorce him and remarry; the elders would not take action against her for making this decision. Below are examples in which judicial action would likely not be warranted: ˙ An elderly Christian living alone has a member of the opposite sex move into the home to help care for him. There is no evidence of a romantic attachment or reason to suspect sexual immo- rality. ˙ After attending a social gathering at a single sis- ter’s home, a brother walks to a train station to catch the train home. After waiting for some time, the brother learns that the last train for the day has already left the station. He walks back to the sister’s home, but by the time he ar- rives, everyone has left and it is quite late. The sister allows him to sleep in the living room while she sleeps in her bedroom. ˙ A single brother visits a married couple for sev- eral days. One night after everyone goes to bed, the husband is called to an emergency at his place of work and does not return until morn- ing. The wife and the single brother are alone in the home all night sleeping in separate bed- rooms. 62 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 12. The elders cannot apply one rule to every case; each situation has unique circumstances. After two elders have thoroughly investigated, the body of elders should use good judgment in determining whether serious wrongdoing has occurred. If elders are unsure how to proceed, they should consult with the branch oﬃce. 13. Gross uncleanness, uncleanness with greediness: (2 Cor. 12:21; Gal. 5:19; Eph. 4:19) Gala- tians 5:19-21 lists many vices that are not classed as por·neia but that could lead to one’s being disqual- iﬁed from God’s Kingdom. Among them are un- cleanness (Greek, a·ka·thar·sia). When one practices uncleanness to a gross, or serious, degree, it can be grounds for disfellowshipping from the Christian congregation. Elders should use good judgment in discerning whether the conduct is minor unclean- ness that can be handled by counsel or is gross un- cleanness that requires the formation of a judicial committee.—w06 7/15 pp. 29-31; w83 3/15 p. 31. 14. Though this is not an exhaustive list, gross un- cleanness may be involved in the following: ˙ Passion-arousing heavy petting or caress- ing of breasts on numerous occasions be- tween individuals not married to each other. If such conduct occurred on a few isolated occa- sions, especially between two persons involved in a courtship with the intent to marry, counsel from two elders may suﬃce to handle such mi- nor uncleanness. The elders should inform the coordinator of the situation. However, if the conduct occurred on numerous occasions and the actions escalated in gravity and frequency, it may constitute gross uncleanness with greedi- ness, requiring judicial action. Their wrongdoing may constitute brazen conduct if they give evi- dence of a disrespectful, insolent attitude toward God’s laws. For example, the individuals may Chapter 5 63 have no honorable intentions of pursuing mar- riage. ˙ A practice of engaging in immoral con- versations by telephone, in Internet chat rooms, or through similar electronic means can involve obscene speech or gross un- cleanness, either of which can be a basis for ju- dicial action. (g001/22 pp. 20-21; km 11/99 p. 4) If such conduct occurred on a few isolated oc- casions, judicial action may not be necessary. Counsel from two elders is suﬃcient to han- dle such minor uncleanness. The elders should inform the coordinator of the situation. How- ever, such conduct may escalate in gravity and by frequent repetition become gross unclean- ness with greediness requiring judicial action, especially if the individual had been previously counseled. ˙ An entrenched practice of viewing, per- haps over a considerable period of time, abhorrent forms of pornography that is sexually degrading. Such pornography may include homosexuality (sex between those of the same gender), group sex, bestiality, sadistic torture, bondage, gang rape, the brutalizing of women, or child pornography. Brazen conduct would be involved if the oﬀender was promot- ing such material, such as by inviting others to view it, thus giving evidence of a brazen atti- tude.—w12 3/15 pp. 30-31; w06 7/15 p. 31. ˙ Misuse of tobacco: Elders should use good judgment in weighing the circumstances and extent of the wrongdoing so as to determine whether a judicial committee should be formed. For example, an elder or two may handle mat- ters by means of counsel if a Christian smoked a few cigarettes in private. The coordinator of the body of elders should be informed. However, a judicial committee is required for a practice of 64 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 using tobacco. (Mark 15:23; 2 Cor. 7:1; w06 7/15 pp. 30-31) When questions arise, consult with the branch oﬃce. ˙ Extreme physical uncleanness: (Deut. 23:12- 14; 2 Cor. 7:1) Every eﬀort should be made to help the oﬀender see the need to keep his body and place of residence physically clean. Before disfellowshipping would be considered, elders would need to be certain that the uncleanness is pronounced and oﬀensive, bringing much reproach upon Jehovah’s good name and his people in the community. Appropriate counsel should be given. If this is not heeded, then marking may be necessary. (2 Thess. 3:14) If there is blatant, willful disregard of the counsel given and extremely oﬀensive unclean condi- tions continue, disfellowshipping action may be necessary. 15. Misuse of addictive drugs: (2 Cor. 7:1; Rev. 21:8, Kingdom Interlinear; 22:15, Int) Please note: the use of addictive drugs under medical supervision, such as for pain management, would not necessarily require judicial review. When questions arise, consult with the branch oﬃce. 16. Apostasy: Apostasy is a standing away from true worship, a falling away, defection, rebellion, abandonment. It includes the following: ˙ Celebrating falsereligious holidays: (Ex. 32: 4-6; Jer. 7:16-19) Not all holidays directly involve false religion and require judicial action. ˙ Participation in interfaith activities: (2 Cor. 6:14,15,17,18) Apostate acts include bowing be- fore altars and images and sharing in false reli- gious songs and prayers.—Rev.18:2, 4. ˙ Deliberately spreading teachings contrary to Bible truth as taught by Jehovah’s Wit- nesses: (Acts 21:21, ftn.; 2 John 7, 9, 10) Any with sincere doubts should be helped. Firm, Chapter 5 65 loving counsel should be given. (2 Tim. 2:16-19, 23-26; Jude 22, 23) If one obstinately is speaking about or deliberately spreading false teachings, this may be or may lead to apostasy. If there is no response after a ﬁrst and a second admoni- tion, a judicial committee should be formed. —Titus 3:10, 11; w89 10/1 p. 19; w86 4/1 pp. 30- 31; w86 3/15 p.15. ˙ Causing divisions and promoting sects: This would be deliberate action disrupting the unity of the congregation or undermining the conﬁ- dence of the brothers in Jehovah’s arrangement. It may involve or lead to apostasy.—Rom. 16:17, 18; Titus 3:10, 11; it-2 p. 886. ˙ Continuing in employment that makes one an accomplice to or a promoter of false worship would subject one to disfellowship- ping after being allowed a reasonable amount of time, perhaps up to six months, to make the needed adjustments.—w99 4/15 pp. 28-30; km 9/76 pp. 3-6. ˙ The practice of spiritism.—Deut.18:9-13; 1 Cor. 10:21, 22; Gal. 5:20. ˙ Idolatry: (1 Cor. 6:9, 10; 10:14) Idolatry in- cludes the use of images, including pictures, in false religious worship. 17. Drunkenness: (1 Cor. 5:11; 6:9, 10; it-1 p. 656) A judicial committee is required when there is a practice of drunkenness or a single incident of drunkenness that brings notoriety. (w83 5/1 p. 8) A Scriptural description of drunkenness can be found in the following references: Job 12:25; Psalm 107:27; Proverbs 20:1; 23:29-35; Isaiah 24:20. 18. If an individual confesses to an elder that on one occasion he overindulged in alcohol to the point of drunkenness in the privacy of his own home and there was no notoriety, it may suﬃce for the elder to 66 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 give strong counsel. In any case, the elder should in- form the coordinator of the matter. 19. Gluttony: (Prov. 23:20, 21; w04 11/1 pp. 30- 31) A glutton routinely shows a lack of restraint, even gorging himself on food to the point of feeling very uncomfortable or becoming sick. Gluttony is determined, not by someone’s size, but by his attitude toward food. 20. Stealing, thievery: (1 Cor. 6:9, 10; Eph. 4:28; w86 11/15 p. 14) Though all stealing is wrong, the body of elders should use discernment in weighing the circumstances and the extent of the involvement in wrongdoing to determine whether it is a judicial matter. 21. Deliberate, malicious lying; bearing false witness: (Prov. 6:16, 19; Col. 3:9; Rev. 22:15; it-2 pp. 244-245) Though all lying is bad, judicial action is taken only if there has been a practice of deliber- ate, malicious lying. “Malicious” means deliberately harmful, harboring ill will or enmity. Lying that justi- ﬁes judicial action involves more than just exaggera- tions or petty, misleading statements of relatively minor consequence or lying because of momentary pressure or fear of man.—Matt. 26:69-75. 22. Generally, elders should not consider adminis- tering discipline if a Christian charges another Chris- tian with making false statements in a court dispute. For example, this may involve divorce, child custody and support, and so forth. The Christian making the charge can express his concerns to the court that has the responsibility to determine what is truthful when rendering a judgment. 23. Fraud, slander: (Lev. 19:16; Matt. 18:15-17; it-1 pp. 870, 989-991; od pp.147-150; w97 3/15 pp.17- 22) Fraud is deﬁned as “the intentional use of decep- tion, trickery, or perversion of truth for the purpose of inducing another to part with some valuable thing Chapter 5 67 belonging to him or to give up a legal right.” (w97 3/15 p. 21) Slander is deﬁned as a false report meant to do harm to the good name and reputation of an- other. Such talk is generally malicious. Slander is not identical to negative gossip. Negative gossip may be true; slander is always false. Negative gossip requires counsel but not judicial action. (w89 10/15 p. 10; it-1 p. 990 par. 2) The congregation would not consider forming a judicial committee unless the oﬀended Christian had taken steps one and two of Matthew 18:15, 16 and had initiated step three of Matthew 18: 17.—od pp.147-149. 24. If asked, elders could participate in step two, but they do not represent the body of elders. If the matter proceeds to step three, any elders who were witnesses in step two could serve only as witnesses in step three. They would not be used to serve on the ju- dicial committee in step three. 25. It is not the place of elders to become arbitra- tors of ﬁnancial agreements. They are not debt collec- tors. Nor should they be involved in formulating contracts or written agreements, not even signing as witnesses to such. The same holds true should the matter reach step three. 26. The body of elders may ﬁrst need to inves- tigate before appointing a judicial committee. If so, the brothers involved in step two would not be used to investigate; they would be interviewed as wit- nesses. 27. It is not considered slander to make an accusa- tion to the police, the court, the elders, or others who have authority to look into matters and render a judgment. (it-1 p. 990) This is true even if the accusa- tion is not proved.—w97 8/15 p. 28 par.1. 28. Reviling: (1 Cor. 6:10; it-2 pp. 801-802) Revil- ing involves “subjecting a person to insulting speech, heaping abuse upon him.” (it-2 p. 801) The body of 68 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 elders should weigh the circumstances and extent of wrongdoing so as to determine whether a judicial committee should be formed. Elders should not be quick to take judicial action unless the reviling is ex- treme, disrupts the peace of the congregation, and persists despite repeated counsel. 29. Obscene speech: (Eph. 5:3-5; Col. 3:8) Ob- viously, certainwords are more oﬀensive than others. Profanity is any kind of language that profanes. How- ever, obscene speech involves sexually explicit, ﬁlthy expressions. (g03 6/8 p. 19-20; w83 2/1 p. 4) Is the speech sexually explicit? Does it persist despite re- peated counsel? This would include obscenities used both in written and in oral communication, such as Internet chat rooms, phone sex, or e-mail. 30. Greed—gambling, extortion: (1 Cor. 5:10, 11; 6:10; 1 Tim. 3:8; it-1 pp. 789,1005-1006; w89 1/15 p. 22) Christians should avoid gambling in all its various forms, including lotteries. (Isa. 65:11; g02 7/22 pp. 4-8; w89 7/15 p. 30; g82 7/8 pp. 25-27; g81 11/22 p. 27) If a person makes a practice of gambling and after repeated counsel unrepentantly pursues a course of greediness, judicial action would be appro- priate.—w80 9/1 pp. 29-30; w67 p. 356. 31. An individual continuing in employment di- rectly involved with gambling or employment mak- ing him a clear accomplice or promoter of gambling would be subject to judicial action, usually after be- ing allowed time, perhaps up to six months, to make the needed adjustments. (w95 5/15 p. 23 par. 11; km 9/76 pp. 3-6) In questionable cases it is best to consult with the branch oﬃce. 32. If a business gives out prizes or prize money to winners of a contest or to potential customers for ad- vertising, accepting the gift is an individual’s deci- sion to make. However, a person needs to be careful that accepting such a prize does not stir up greed. Chapter 5 69 (Rom. 14:21; 1 Cor. 10:31-33; g75 7/8 p. 28; w73 p. 127) The elders do well not to involve themselves in what individuals do with regard to petty gam- bling solely for entertainment. They may need to give counsel if this becomes a cause of stumbling for others or aﬀects the spirituality of the individual or the congregation.—w02 11/1 p. 31. 33. A Christian who greedily and unrepen- tantly extorts a high bride-price may be disfel- lowshipped from the congregation.—1 Cor. 5:11, 13; 6:9, 10; Heb.13:5; w98 9/15 pp. 24-25. 34. Adamant refusal to provide materially for one’s own family, leaving wife and children destitute when having the means to provide: (1 Tim. 5:8; w88 11/1 pp. 22-23; km 9/73 p. 8) Some of the factors the body of elders should consider be- fore forming a judicial committee are: ˙ Does the Christian adamantly refuse to provide for his family, or is the failure to provide because of other factors, such as health or ﬁnancial dif- ﬁculties? Is he doing what he reasonably can do to provide necessities for the family? ˙ Has counsel been previously given, and has there been an opportunity for the person to re- spond? ˙ Does his wife have material resources aﬀording a secure life so that the family is not destitute? ˙ If the family is destitute, is it because they have rejected the family head’s provisions by choos- ing to live apart from him? ˙ When a separation is involved, to what extent is the other mate responsible? 35. Fits of anger, violence: (Prov. 22:24, 25; Mal. 2:16; Gal. 5:20; g0111/8 p.12; g976/8 p. 20; fy p.150; g93 2/8 p. 14) Judicial action would be warranted if an individual repeatedly and unrepentantly gave in 70 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 to violent ﬁts of anger despite counsel. In question- able cases it is best to contact the branch oﬃce. 36. If a Christian took up professional boxing and refused to stop despite repeated counsel, judicial action would be appropriate.—w81 7/1 pp. 30-31. Evidence Establishing Wrongdoing 37. Even though a Christian has been accused of wrongdoing serious enough to require judicial ac- tion, a judicial committee should not be formed unless the wrongdoing has been established. What kind of evidence is acceptable? ˙ Confession (admission of wrongdoing), either written or oral, may be accepted as conclusive proof without other corroborating evidence. (Josh. 7:19) There must be two witnesses to a confession, and the confession must be clear and unambiguous. For example, a statement from a married Christian that his mate is “Scrip- turally free” would not by itself be viewed as a clear confession of adultery. A guilty plea entered in court by a Christian as part of a plea bargain, perhaps on the advice of an attorney so as to avoid the possibility of a harsher sentence, would generally not in itself be viewed as an admission of guilt in the con- gregation. ˙ There must be two or three eyewitnesses, not just people repeating hearsay; no action can be taken if there is only one witness.—Deut. 19:15; John 8:17. ˙ If there are two or three witnesses to the same kind of wrongdoing but each one is wit- ness to a separate incident, the elders can consider their testimony. While such evidence is acceptable to establish guilt, it is preferable to Chapter 5 71 have two witnesses to the same occurrence of wrongdoing. ˙ The testimonyof youths may be considered; it is up to the elders to determine whether the tes- timony has the ring of truth. ˙ The testimony of unbelievers and disfellow- shipped or disassociated ones may also be considered, but it must be weighed carefully. 38. If wrongdoing has not been established but serious questions have been raised, the body of elders should appoint two elders to investigate the matter promptly. For example, there may be just one witness. If so, it would be loving for the wit- ness ﬁrst to confront the accused and encourage him to take the initiative to approach the elders. The el- ders can then allow the accused a few days to ap- proach them. (For the witness by himself to confront the accused may not be advisable in all cases—for ex- ample, if the witness and the accused were involved in sexual immorality together or if the witness was a victim of incest or rape by the accused or is a child and the victim of sexual abuse. Or it may be that the witness is extremely timid.) Whether the witness ap- proaches the accused or not, the two elders appoint- ed should speak with the accused regarding the accu- sation.—w97 8/15 p. 27. 39. If the accused denies the accusation, the investigating elders should try to arrange a meeting with him and the accuser together. (Note: If the accu- sation involves child sexual abuse and the victim is currently a minor, the elders should contact the branch oﬃce before arranging a meeting with the child and the alleged abuser.) If the accuser or the ac- cused is unwilling to meet with the elders or if the ac- cused continues to deny the accusation of a single witness and the wrongdoing is not established, the elders will leave matters in Jehovah’s hands. (Deut. 72 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 19:15-17; 1 Tim. 5:19, 24, 25; w9511/1 pp. 28-29) The investigating elders should compose a record, sign it, put it in a sealed envelope, and place it in the congre- gation’s conﬁdential ﬁle. Additional evidence may later come to light to establish matters. Those Who Have Not Associated for Many Years 40. In deciding whether to form a judicial com- mittee or not, the body of elders should consider the following: ˙ Does he still profess to be a Witness? ˙ Is he generally recognized as a Witness in the congregation or the community? ˙ Does his conduct continue to aﬀect any other person, such as in some cases of adultery or child abuse? ˙ Does the person have a measure of contact or as- sociation with the congregation so that a leav- ening, or corrupting, inﬂuence exists? ˙ Is the person willing to meet with a committee, thus admitting accountability to the Christian congregation? 41. Depending upon length of inactivity and oth- er factors suggested above, elders may determine to hold the matter in abeyance. In such a case, they would make a record of the person’s questionable conduct for the congregation ﬁle. When the individ- ual again shows interest in returning to the congrega- tion, they can clarify these matters. 42. If the sinful conduct is known only to believ- ing family members and no congregation action has been taken, believing relatives will likely determine to curtail family association severely, viewing the rel- ative as bad association.—1 Cor. 15:33; w85 7/15 p. 19 par.14. Chapter 5 73 Wrongdoing That Occurred Years in the Past 43. Depending upon the circumstances, the situa- tion may need to be handled by a judicial committee. But if the immorality or other serious wrongdoing occurred more than a few years ago and the individ- ual is genuinely repentant and recognizes that he should have come forward immediately when he sinned, good counsel by elders may be suﬃcient. 44. The body of elders may appoint two elders to gather the facts. Thereafter, the body would deter- mine whether a judicial committee is needed or not, taking into consideration answers to the following questions: ˙ Was the wrongdoing in the distant past? ˙ How widely known is the matter? ˙ Does the erring one show evidence of spiritual progress as opposed to evidence that progress is being hindered? ˙ Will counsel be suﬃcient to restore him, or will more be required for him to have a clean con- science? ˙ Are there works beﬁtting repentance? ˙ Did he voluntarily confess, or did the matter come to light by other means? ˙ How will respect for the body of elders be aﬀect- ed in the congregation? ˙ If por·neia was involved, has a confession been made to the innocent mate? ˙ To what degree have lives been aﬀected or dam- aged by the wrongdoing? For example, does the matter involve child abuse or adultery? 45. If the individual is serving as a ministerial ser- vant, elder, or pioneer, his qualiﬁcations should be examined. If the body of elders determines that he no longer qualiﬁes, a report should be submitted to the branch oﬃce.—See 3:19-21. 74 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 Was the Wrongdoer’s Baptism Valid? 46. When dealing with wrongdoers, the elders should not raise questions about the validity of the individual’s baptism. If the individual raises the issue, the elders may refer him to the Febru- ary 15, 2010, Watchtower, page 22. Further informa- tion on rebaptism can be found in the February 15, 1964, Watchtower, pages 123-126, and the March 1, 1960, Watchtower, pages 159-160. Rebaptism is a per- sonal matter. 47. At times a wrongdoer will claim that his bap- tism is not valid and that he feels he is not account- able to a judicial committee because he secretly en- gaged in wrongdoing shortly before he was baptized. If the elders had been aware of his serious wrongdo- ing committed just before baptism, likely they would not have approved him for baptism. However, this does not necessarily mean that he did not make a val- id dedication. Some individuals make a dedication long before the baptism; others have made a dedica- tion shortly before. The elders are not in a position to read the heart and know for a certainty how Je- hovah viewed the person at the time he was bap- tized. If the elders learn that a baptized individual se- cretly engaged in serious wrongdoing while he was an unbaptized publisher but the wrongdoing ceased before baptism, they should give counsel and en- couragement. A judicial committee should not be formed for prebaptism wrongdoing. (1 Cor. 6:9-11) However, if the individual resumed serious wrongdoing after baptism, the elders would generally deal with him on the basis of what he has professed to be, a dedicated and baptized Christian, and would meet with him judicially. Thereafter, if he feels he should be rebaptized, this would be a personal deci- sion. However, a person should not get rebaptized simply because he gains improved understanding or appreciation of the truth or some Scriptural doctrine. —Prov. 4:18. Chapter 5 75 48. There are rare occasions when it is obvious that the baptism was invalid because serious wrong- doing did not cease before baptism, even for a brief period of time. For example, it may be that at the time of baptism, the individual was living immorally with a member of the opposite or the same sex, was a memberof a non-neutral organization, or some- thing similar. If there are questions, the branch oﬃce should be consulted. Which Congregation Should Handle the Matter? 49. Bodies of elders should cooperate if there is a question regarding which congregation should han- dle a case of wrongdoing. Which congregation has the facts? Which congregation can handle the case most eﬀectively? Jurisdiction should not become an issue. 50. If a wrongdoer moves before a case has been concluded, it is usually best for the elders of the orig- inal congregation to follow through if possible and if distance permits. They are acquainted with the per- son and his circumstances. If he has moved a great distance away, the brothers of the original congrega- tion should not insist on handling matters if the wrongdoer says he is unable to return to the congre- gation for the hearing. In such a case, it may be advis- able to refer matters to the elders of the congregation where he now lives. There should be good communi- cation between the two bodies. 51. If the elders learn that a publisher who is visit- ing the area for a short period of time is guilty of wrongdoing, they should promptly report the matter to the elders of his congregation. If Wrongdoing Involves Publishers From Diﬀerent Congregations 52. If a member of a congregation confesses to wrongdoing that involves a person in another con- 76 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 gregation, the elders should promptly pass along what they know to the elders of the other congrega- tion and allow them time to investigate. Does the other individual admit the wrong? Do their accounts match, or are there signiﬁcant diﬀerences? The judi- cial committees should communicate freely and co- operate in obtaining the facts. There are many ad- vantages to interviewing individuals jointly to ascertain what actually occurred and to clarify dis- crepancies. (Prov. 18:13, 17) If a joint hearing is held, thereafter the judicial committee of each congrega- tion will withdraw and handle the case of the person from its own congregation. The judicial commit- tee in one congregation should generally not conclude its case before the elders of the other congregation have fully investigated the situa- tion. Unbaptized Publishers Who Engage in Serious Wrongdoing 53. The elders should promptly handle a case of serious wrongdoing by an unbaptized publisher. While a judicial committee would not be formed, the elders should select two elders to meet with him, per- haps the ones who approved him as an unbaptized publisher. They should try to readjust him and to de- termine whether he continues to qualify.—od pp.157- 158; w88 11/15 pp.17-20. 54. The assigned elders may determine to place certain restrictions on the individual for a time, in- cluding not commenting at meetings, giving talks on the Theocratic Ministry School, or sharing in the public ministry. 55. If the wrongdoing is widely known or might become widely known later and the wrongdoer is repentant, the two elders should inform the ser- vice committee, who will arrange for the following Chapter 5 77 announcement to be made during the Service Meet- ing: “A matter involving [name of person] has been handled, and he [she] continues to serve as an unbaptized publisher with the congrega- tion.” 56. There may be reasons for the body of elders to determine that a Scriptural talk about the sort of wrongdoing involved should be given to the congre- gation a few weeks after the announcement. 57. If the unbaptized publisher does not respond to the elders’ assistance, thus displaying an unrepen- tant attitude, the two elders should inform him that he no longer qualiﬁes as an unbaptized publisher. Or if he informs the elders that he no longer de- sires to be a publisher, they will accept his decision. In either case, the elders will have the following announcement made during the Service Meeting: “[Name of person] is no longer recognized as an unbaptized publisher.” Because of his unrepentant wrongdoing, it would be best for a time not to call on him if he raises his hand to comment at meetings. 58. If the elders see that such a person is a threat to the ﬂock, they can privately warn those endan- gered. For example, despite the announcement, the wrongdoer might attempt to socialize with youths in the congregation. In that situation, the elders would speak privately to the parents of the endangered ones and maybe to those youths also. 59. There is no speciﬁc arrangement for an appeal or a seven-day waiting period before an- nouncing the decision that one is no longer recog- nized as an unbaptized publisher. If he expresses dis- satisfaction with the conclusion, the body of elders should choose two diﬀerent elders to review the case. 60. If someone who was previously removed as an unbaptized publisher begins to make progress and wishes once again to share in the ministry, two elders 78 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 (perhaps those who met with him earlier) should meet with him to determine his qualiﬁcations. If he qualiﬁes, an announcement should be made that he is an unbaptized publisher. There is no need to wait until he reports ﬁeld service again to make the an- nouncement. 61. If the unbaptized publisher is a minor by law, the two elders should ﬁrst speak with the Chris- tian parents to discern what occurred, the child’s atti- tude, and the corrective steps that the parents are tak- ing. If the parents have the situation in hand, the two elders may choose not to meet with the minor but will check with the parents from time to time to oﬀer helpful counsel, speciﬁc suggestions, and loving en- couragement. 62. When an unbaptized publisher is involved in wrongdoing, the two elders assigned to meet with him should prepare a written record of the case. The secretary ﬁles this record in the same manner as he ﬁles judicial cases. Chapter 5 79 80 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 Selecting the Judicial Committee and Chairman 1. If a judicial committee is needed, the elders who are present at the Kingdom Hall should deter- mine which elders will serve on the committee and which one will be chairman. (See 2:12) The elders chosen should be men of discernment and good judgment. Extensive details of the case do not need to be conveyed to the entire body, but enough infor- mation should be presented for the elders to deter- mine whether a disfellowshipping oﬀense has actual- ly been committed and, if so, who is best qualiﬁed to handle the particular type of case that has arisen. (km 9/77 pp. 5-6) It is usually best for newer elders to serve ﬁrst with more experienced ones. They would never serve as observers on a judicial case. However, complex cases may warrant having four or even ﬁve experienced elders on the committee. 2. If the elders know that the accused has strong feelings against a particular elder, it would be better not to use him. An elder who is a close relative or has been in business with the accused or has had a spe- cial friendship with him would not normally serve on the committee. (km 9/77 p. 6) If there are not enough elders locally to make up the committee, the Chapter Six Preparing for the Judicial Hearing Select the elders for the judicial committee carefully Elders are accountable to Jehovah for the judg- ment they render Make proper arrangements for the hearing 81 body of elders may request the assistance of an el- der in a neighboring congregation by contacting the body of elders where he serves. In such situations, you may also contact the circuit overseer for recom- mendations. Preparing Your Mind and Heart to Judge 3. Serving on a judicial committee is a heavy re- sponsibility. You are judging for Jehovah and are accountable to him for the judgment you render. (2 Chron. 19:6, 7) Your decision will likely have long- lasting and far-reaching consequences for the indi- vidual involved, his Christian family members, and others in the congregation. Each time you serve on a judicial committee, you should ﬁrst review Chapters 5-7 of this publication. 4. Allowing an unrepentant wrongdoer to remain in the congregation could result in a leavening inﬂu- ence. (Gal. 5:9) Failure to remove the individual may also minimize the wrong in the mind of the wrong- doer and in the minds of others who may know of his sin. (Eccl. 8:11) On the other hand, an individual unjustly dealt with may have diﬃculty recovering his spirituality.—Matt.18:6. 5. You can render a good judgment with Jeho- vah’s help. (Matt.18:18-20) Pray for wisdom, discern- ment, and God’s holy spirit. (1 Ki. 3:9; Phil. 1:9, 10; Jas. 1:5) Do careful, thorough research using Bible- based publications, not relying solely on past ex- perience in handling judicial matters. (Prov. 15:28) Endeavor to obtain a clear picture regarding what oc- curred and what the individual’s true attitude is. —Prov.18:13, 17. Inviting the Accused to the Judicial Hearing 6. It is best for two elders to invite him orally. Their invitation should include the following infor- mation: 82 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 ˙ Make clear that the meeting is a judicial hear- ing. ˙ Explain what his course of action is alleged to have been. ˙ State the time and place of the hearing and how the person can contact the chairman if the per- son is unable to meet at the scheduled time and location. 7. If circumstances permit, hold the hearing at the Kingdom Hall. This theocratic setting will put all in a more respectful frame of mind; it will also help to ensure greater conﬁdentiality for the proceed- ings. 8. The assigned elders should make every eﬀort to arrange for a judicial hearing right away. Leaving the matter unresolved can harm the congregation and the accused. If the accused does not make him- self available to receive an oral invitation de- spite repeated eﬀorts by the judicial committee, then the judicial committee should send a written invita- tion. (Do not leave conﬁdential information on an answering machine or voice mail or send by way of e-mail.) A written invitation signed by the judicial committee should include the same information as outlined above for an oral invitation. If possible, send the invitation in such a way that the elders can verify that the addressee received it. If they are unsuccessful in their diligent eﬀorts to invite him and they cannot conﬁrm that he received the invitation, they should hold the matter in abeyance. 9. If he accepts the judicial committee’s invi- tation, yet fails to appear, the judicial committee should reschedule the hearing and endeavor to invite the accused again. If he does not attend after it is con- ﬁrmed that he received the second invitation and if it is evident that he is unwilling to cooperate with the judicial committee, the committee will proceed with Chapter 6 83 the hearing but will not make a decision until evi- dence and testimony by witnesses are considered. 10. If the accused makes known to the elders his adamant refusal to meet with a judicial committee, the judicial committee may proceed in his absence without extending further invitations. —See 7:29. Meeting With Marriage Mates 11. If the accused is a married sister, it is best to have her believing husband present for the hear- ing. He is her head, and his eﬀorts to restore her and direct her can be very helpful. (1 Cor.11:3) If unusual circumstances are involved or the elders feel it would be best not to invite the husband because of their concerns for the safety of the wife, the elders should call the branch oﬃce. 12. If the accused is a married brother, his wife would normally not attend the hearing. How- ever, if the husband wants his wife to be present, she may attend a portion of the hearing. The judicial committee should maintain conﬁdentiality. 13. If the husband committed adultery, he has an obligation to inform his wife of the facts. The judicial committee should promptly inquire of the Christian wife as to what her husband has told her. If he refuses to inform her of his adultery, the elders should inform her that because of her husband’s conduct, it is up to her to decide whether to pursue a Scriptural divorce or not. Furthermore, they should inform the innocent mate that her resuming sexu- al relations with the guilty mate would negate any claim to Scriptural freedom. But they should not give her further details. On the other hand, the elders may ﬁnd that while the husband did confess adultery to his wife, he did not tell her the full extent of his wrong conduct and left out important information that the wife should know. The elders should not pro- 84 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 vide this conﬁdential information to the wife, but they can suggest that she speak with her husband again. Even if he does not tell her anything more, this will alert her to the fact that he is withholding infor- mation from her, and this may help her to determine whether to forgive or not. Meeting With Baptized Minors 14. It is best to meet with the youth and his Chris- tian parents, since they have the responsibility to raise and train him. If the accused is living in the home of his believing parents but is no longer a mi- nor, the elders would not generally invite the parents to the hearing. However, if the accused living in his parents’ home has recently become an adult and the parents ask to be present and the accused has no ob- jection, the judicial committee may decide to allow them to attend a portion of the hearing. Meeting With Incarcerated Ones 15. When the judicial committee endeavors to meet with the incarcerated accused wrongdoer, the secular authorities may not allow all three members to meet with him at the same time. If so, a judicial committee should not handle the case over the tele- phone with a conference-line arrangement. The el- ders should endeavor to arrange for two members of the committee to meet with him in person in a conﬁ- dential setting. Others should not be present when the accused person is interviewed. Afterward, the two brothers would discuss the case with the third mem- ber of the committee, and the judicial committee may then render a decision. Two members of the ju- dicial committee should inform him of the decision. If he is disfellowshipped, the elders should inform him and tell him of his option to appeal, and so forth. If the authorities allow only one elder at a time to speak with him, the judicial committee should Chapter 6 85 decide in advance what questions to ask. Then two on the judicial committee should talk with him sepa- rately and ask the same questions. Thereafter, the ju- dicial committee should convene to make a decision. In unusual cases, the branch oﬃce should be con- tacted. If the Accused Threatens Suicide 16. In judicial cases where the accused threatens suicide, it may be best for the committee to suspend the hearing to focus on helping him regain his bal- ance. (See 7:12) They should assure him of the com- mittee’s desire to help him, then broach the subject of depression and suicide, using the Scriptures and Bible-based publications. (Prov. 3:11, 12; 4:13; Heb. 12:5, 6, 11-13) Depending upon his emotional state, it may be best to do this a day or two later. The el- ders can prepare by reviewing articles that will help them deal sensitively with the depressed individu- al. (w00 9/15 pp. 3-7; w88 10/15 pp. 25-29; 11/15 pp. 21-24; w82 6/1 pp. 9-14) The judicial committee should avoid prolonging the case unnecessarily, as this can cause stress for the accused. They should take notes for the conﬁdential ﬁle, outlining the dates of their conversations and the scriptures and ar- ticles that were considered. They should sign it and place it in the ﬁle for the case. The judicial commit- tee should communicate with the branch oﬃce if there are questions about a certain case. If the Accused Threatens Legal Action 17. If the accused threatens legal action against the elders, the elders should suspend proceedings and promptly telephone the branch oﬃce. 18. If a member of the media or an attorney representing the accused contacts the elders, they should not give him any information about the case or verify that there is a judicial committee. Rath- 86 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 er, they should give the following explanation: “The spiritual and physical welfare of Jehovah’s Witnesses is of paramount concern to the elders, who have been appointed to ‘shepherd the ﬂock.’ The elders extend this shepherding conﬁdentially. Conﬁdential shepherding makes it easier for those who seek the elders’ help to do so without worrying that what they say to the elders will be divulged later. Consequently, we do not comment on whether elders are currently or have formerly met to assist any member of the congregation.” If there is a need to do so, the elders may obtain the inquirer’s name and phone num- ber and inform him that their attorney will contact him. The elders should then promptly telephone the branch ofﬁce. 19. If the authorities request conﬁdential congre- gation records or ask that elders give testimony re- garding conﬁdential congregation matters, the elders should promptly telephone the branch oﬃce. Chapter 6 87 88 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 1. The judicial hearing should be opened with prayer with the accused present. The judicial com- mittee should feel free to seek Jehovah’s wisdom through prayer at any time during their private delib- erations. (Jas.1:5) The chairman should state the rea- son for the meeting. He may oﬀer a Scriptural point at the outset, such as from Proverbs 28:13 or James 5: 14, 15. The elders on the judicial committee should convey their desire to be helpful and try to put the accused at ease. They should be quick to listen but slow to indicate a preference or a leaning one way or the other. Even if the accused is belligerent, they should treat him kindly and respectfully, never harshly.—w89 9/15 pp.19-20. 2. The chairman should invite the accused to make a personal statement. If the accused contends that he is innocent, the witnesses to the wrongdoing should be presented and their testimony Chapter Seven Judicial Hearing Procedure Try to put the accused at ease Establish the facts and ascertain his attitude If repentance is unclear, try to lead him to re- pentance during the initial meeting If repentance is commensurate with the extent of wrongdoing, reprove the wrongdoer from the Scriptures If not convinced of suﬃcient repentance, in- form the wrongdoer of the decision to disfel- lowship, explaining how he can repair his dam- aged relationship with Jehovah 89 should be given in the presence of the accused. It is best that the witnesses give their testimony in per- son. However, it may be that the witnesses live a great distance away or for some reason are not able to be physically present. If so, their testimony may be pre- sented in the hearing of the accused by a secure phone call or perhaps submitted in writing and read to the accused. The accused should be given opportu- nity to respond to the testimony. If he wishes to pre- sent witnesses to establish his innocence, the judicial committee should allow them to give their testi- mony. 3. Hear only those witnesses who have rele- vant testimony regarding the alleged wrongdoing. Those who intend to testify only about the character of the accused should not be allowed to do so. The witnesses should not hear details and testimony of other witnesses. Observers should not be present for moral support. Recording devices should not be allowed. 4. In the rare event that testimony presented dur- ing the hearing causes the judicial committee to con- clude that the matter should not be handled judi- cially, the hearing should be suspended. Inform the person that he will be contacted further regarding the matter. The body of elders should then be con- sulted to determine whether the judicial committee should be disbanded. 5. The committee should ﬁrst seek to establish the facts and ascertain the attitude of the ac- cused. This requires skillful and discreet questions. The judicial committee should be thorough but not inquire about needless details, especially in regard to sexual misconduct. However, in some instances, when Scriptural freedom to divorce and remarry may be an issue, details may need to be clariﬁed. When the elders on the judicial committee feel that they have a clear picture, they may excuse the accused 90 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 from the room and discuss the case and the individu- al’s repentance or lack thereof. Determining Genuine Repentance 6. In Greek, two verbs are used in connectionwith repentance. The ﬁrst stresses a changed viewpoint or disposition. The second emphasizes a feeling of re- gret. Therefore, repentance involves a deep regret over a damaged relationship with Jehovah, remorse over the reproach brought upon Jehovah’s name and people, and a sincere longing to come back into God’s favor. It includes a heart-motivated rejection of the bad course as something repugnant, hated. (Rom. 12:9) Such an attitude should be demonstrated by “fruits that beﬁt repentance,” making evident to an adequate degree a sinner’s claimed repentance.—Luke 3:8; it-2 pp. 770-777. 7. Judging repentance is not simply a matter of de- termining whether the wrongdoer is weak or wicked. Weakness is not synonymous with repentance. (w951/1, pp. 27-29) Neither should the judicial com- mittee’s decision be determined by the notoriety of the wrong. The judicial committee should look for clear works of repentance commensurate with his wrongdoing. (2 Cor. 7:10, 11) In order to extend mercy, the committee must be convinced that the wrongdoer has a changed heart condition and that he has a zeal to right the wrong and is absolutely de- termined to avoid it in the future. Even if this is the individual’s ﬁrst time before a judicial committee, it is necessary to determine whether his actions and at- titude indicate that he has repented and can thus re- main in the congregation. 8. The extent to which the person deviates from righteousness may be major or minor, and logi- cally the degree of regret (repentance) ought to be commensurate with the degree of devi- ation. Was the individual caught oﬀ guard so that he Chapter 7 91 momentarily succumbed to temptation, or did he plan to do wrong? Was he unaware of the gravity of his sin, or did he deliberately ignore counsel or warn- ings? Was it a single oﬀense, or was it a practice? The more an individual repeats serious sin, the more that one reasonably gives evidence of being like wicked people who are “practicers of what is hurtful.”—Ps. 28:3; it-2 p. 771 par. 5. 9. While there is no such thing as automatic dis- fellowshipping, an individual may have gone so far into sin that he may not be able to demon- strate suﬃcient repentance to the judicial com- mittee at the time of the hearing. If so, he must be disfellowshipped, allowing time to pass for him to prove his repentance. Or it may be that the individu- al has been dealt with judicially a number of times in the past. Because he appeared repentant, he was re- proved each time. Now he has sinned again. In such cases his life course may indicate a lack of repentance. —w81 9/1 p. 26 par. 23. 10. Below are some indications of repentance. However, none of these is the sole criterion for deter- mining whether the sinner is repentant or not. ˙ Was his confession voluntary, or did he have to be accused by others? Some oﬀenders are so deeply ashamed or have such diﬃculty express- ing themselves that they are reluctant to speak. ˙ Is the individual truthful? (Acts 5:1-10) When questioned, are his answers forthright? Is he co- operative with the judicial committee? The judi- cial committee should be especially cautious if the individual has shown himself to be guilty of hypocrisy, lying, or deliberate eﬀorts to deceive. ˙ Has he contritely prayed to Jehovah and sought his forgiveness and mercy? Keep in mind that some wrongdoers, though repentant, ﬁnd it dif- ﬁcult to pray.—Jas. 5:14. 92 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 ˙ Has he made restitution, expressed willingness to do so, or apologized to oﬀended ones, those damaged by his sinful course? Has he sought forgiveness of those wronged?—w92 9/15 p. 10; w81 9/1 pp. 25-26; w73 p. 351. ˙ In cases of adultery, has he confessed to the in- nocent mate and asked for forgiveness?—w73 pp. 351-352; w68 pp. 319-320. Note: The option to forgive adultery rests with the innocent mate. The guilty mate cannot be viewed as repentant if, after committing adul- tery, he refuses to inform her and allow her the opportunity to forgive. If the wrongdoer is un- willing to confess and ask for forgiveness be- cause of fear of violence by the innocent mate, contact the branch oﬃce before proceeding. ˙ Does he manifest a spirit of agony and regret over having damaged his relationship with Jeho- vah?—Ps. 32:3-5; 51:1-4. ˙ Does he demonstrate godly sadness or worldly sadness? (2 Cor. 7:8-11) Is his sadness primar- ily because of hurting Jehovah and bringing Him into reproach or because of the disappoint- ment he has caused to family and friends and the shame he has experienced? (Ezra 10:1; Luke 22:59-62) Individuals vary in their emotional makeup and control. Tears do not necessarily in- dicate sincere repentance; neither does a lack of strong emotion show a lack of repentance. —Gen. 25:29-34; 27:34. ˙ Does he accept responsibility for his error, or does he minimize or justify his bad course? —1 Sam.15:24; 2 Sam.12:13. ˙ Does he recognize the fact that lesser sins led up to the wrongdoing, and is he determined to avoid these? Chapter 7 93 11. Each case is diﬀerent. The judicial committee should consider all the unique factors involved, in- cluding any extenuating circumstances. For ex- ample, the wrongdoer may have been a victim of some type of abuse in the past. Extenuating circum- stances do not excuse the wrongdoing. (g93 10/8 p. 4) However, discerning them will help the judicial committee to understand better the wrongdoer and his response to the judicial committee. Neverthe- less, there would be no basis to extend mercy if fruits of repentance are lacking. 12. The same is true regarding wrongdoers who suﬀer from mental or emotional problems. (See 6:16) The congregation cannot overlook his wrong- doing if he is able to discharge normal responsibili- ties toward himself and the community in a reason- ably acceptable manner and others generally view him as one who could be held accountable for what he does and says. However, the judicial commit- tee should show consideration and patience in their dealings with him and be especially aware of the need for discernment in evaluating his repentance. On the other hand, if the judicial committee discerns that his mental condition is so severe that others gen- erally regard him as not being responsible for what he does, they may recommend to the body of elders that no judicial action be taken, explaining the rea- sons for their recommendation. If Repentance Is Unclear 13. If the wrongdoer’s degree of repentance is un- clear, the committee should invite him back into the room for further discussion. They should use God’s Word to help him understand why his conduct was wrong and how it has aﬀected his relationship with Jehovah and the congregation. It is possible that even as late as the judicial hearing, he will demonstrate re- pentance to the point that mercy by the judicial 94 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 committee may be warranted. In most cases the in- dividual will show some repentance, but is it com- mensurate with the degree of his wrongdoing? The judicial committee should be modest and keep in mind that if the wrongdoer has demonstrated few or no works of repentance before the judicial hearing is held, it may not be possible during the hearing to move him to demonstrate suﬃcient repentance to justify extending mercy. Even if it is determined that he must be disfellowshipped, their eﬀorts to lead him to repentance may help him to begin making straight paths for his feet and work toward reinstatement. (Heb.12:13) After trying to help him and hearing his further expressions, the judicial committee may ex- cuse him from the room and deliberate. 14. In complex cases, if the judicial committee is not sure of the Bible’s direction or the organization’s counsel, the hearing may be adjourned and recon- vened a few days later. However, an additional meet- ing should not be scheduled just to give the accused time to stop the wrongdoing or to demonstrate works of repentance. If he has demonstrated little or no re- pentance during the initial hearing, there would gen- erally be no basis on which to prolong the case and schedule a second meeting. 15. At times, complicated judicial cases may necessitate consultation with an experienced ma- ture elder in another congregation or the circuit over- seer. In such a situation, inform the wrongdoer that the decision is pending. Do not inform him that you will be consulting with parties outside of the ju- dicial committee, which may at times include the branch oﬃce. While pertinent details may be dis- cussed, names should not be used when discussing the case with another elder. However, when the cir- cuit overseer is consulted or when circumstances re- quire that the branch oﬃce be contacted, the judicial committee should reveal the names. Chapter 7 95 16. Generally, those serving on a judicial commit- tee should endeavor to be unanimous in their deci- sion. Any diﬀerence of opinion can usually be re- solved by discussing matters thoroughly as a judicial committee, researching the Scriptures and Christian publications, praying for wisdom and direction, and even consulting with an experienced elder outside the congregation. However, if the committee is un- able to reach a unanimous conclusion, the minority should give support to the decision reached by the majority. 17. Anything submitted in writing to the commit- tee by the alleged wrongdoer or by witnesses should be kept in strict conﬁdence. If it is necessary to con- tinue the matter later, the members of the committee should submit to the chairman any personal notes they have taken. The chairman will keep these notes in a secure place to prevent breaches of conﬁdentiali- ty. The notes may be returned to the individual elders for consultation before the hearing resumes. If the Decision Is to Reprove 18. If the elders on the judicial committee de- termine that the wrongdoer is genuinely repentant, they should inform him of the decision, the judi- cial restrictions, and whether the reproof will be an- nounced. They should also give reproof from the Scriptures, showing the seriousness of the wrong- doing and the minor sins that may have led up to it. Reproof is deﬁned as “that which is designed to convince others of their having erred, in order to move them to acknowledge their mistakes and correct these.” (it-2 p. 780) Hence, administering judicial reproof includes more than just making a decision or announcing it. It involves reinforcing the wrongdoer’s resolve to do what is right. The original-language word for reproof comes from a verb meaning ‘to show plainly, point out by facts, demon- 96 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 strate, show by evident or convincing reasons or ar- guments.’ Helpful suggestions should be given to help him make needed adjustments. If witnesses tes- tiﬁed during the hearing, they may be invited to hear the Scriptural reproof. In this way the accused is reproved “before all onlookers.” (1 Tim. 5:20) The judicial committee should pray with the repentant wrongdoer before concluding the hearing. 19. In all cases of judicial reproof, the wrongdoer is disqualiﬁed from special privileges. These include pioneering, oﬀering congregation prayer, and shar- ing in any parts on the Service Meeting until he has made further spiritual progress. This also includes other congregational assignments that might be giv- en to those who are exemplary. In addition, some ju- dicial restrictions will be imposed in all cases of ju- dicial reproof. Judicial restrictions may include not commenting at congregation meetings and not giv- ing student talks in the Theocratic Ministry School. However, the judicial committee determines what ju- dicial restrictions to impose. When the elders inform a repentant wrongdoer of restrictions, it would be helpful to tell him the date of the next meeting, at which his progress will be reviewed. It may be discouraging to the repentant wrongdoer if restric- tions are imposed for a prolonged period of time. It would be an exceptional case when many months have passed and restrictions have not been gradually lifted. 20. The judicial committee should determine whether the reproof should be announced to the congregation. (w88 11/15 p. 18; w81 9/1 pp. 26- 27) If the individual thereafter moves, no announce- ment of such previous judicial reproof is made in the new congregation.—km 3/75 p. 4. ˙ The reproof should be announced if the sin is widely known or will likely become known in the congregation or community. An Chapter 7 97 announcement will safeguard the reputation of the congregation. For example, in a case of adultery, an innocent mate may lean toward forgiveness but is not ready to resume sexual relations at the time that the judicial committee concludes the case. If the possibility ofa Scriptural divorce still exists, an an- nouncement would protect the reputation of the congregation and the innocent mate. ˙ The judicial committee may have speciﬁc rea- sons to believe that the congregation needs to be on guard concerning the repentant wrongdo- er. Perhaps he ignored previous counsel sever- al times concerning steps leading to the same wrongdoing. For example, in a case involving wrongdoing that could be viewed as child sexual abuse, an- nouncing the reproof of a repentant wrongdoer will serve as a protection for the congregation. 21. The coordinator of the body of elders should approve the announcement before an elder reads it to the congregation. It should read as follows: “[Name of person] has been reproved.” Restric- tions are not announced. 22. The judicial committee should monitor the spiritual progress of the repentant wrongdoer and be alert to remove judicial restrictions progressively as he recovers spiritually. It is not necessary for the entire body of elders to decide on the removal of re- strictions, except in unusual cases. The committee should inform the body of elders when any restric- tions are removed. When an elder serving on the original committee moves or is no longer serving as an elder, the body of elders will select a replacement to monitor the wrongdoer’s progress. If the wrongdo- er moves before the committee lifts all of his restric- tions, the new congregation should receive suﬃcient 98 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 details so that the elders can evaluate his true spiritu- al condition. Provide the type of information and de- tails you would appreciate receiving if the individual was moving into your congregation. The elders of the new congregation should choose two or three elders to continue to monitor the wrongdoer’s progress and lift the remaining judicial restrictions. 23. In some cases the elders may feel that it is necessary to warn the congregation by means of a Scriptural talk about the type of conduct practiced. A member of the judicial committee should general- ly give the talk. He should explain the wrongness of the conduct and how to avoid it but without saying anything that would connect the wrongdoer with the type of sin under discussion. In the case of an an- nounced reproof, the elders should wait a few weeks before giving such a talk; when the reproof is unan- nounced, there is no need to wait. 24. Once the case has been concluded, no further judicial action is taken unless the wrong- doer again engages in gross wrongdoing. However, in rare cases there may be an exception if within a few days of the decision new information comes to light that makes it obvious to the judicial committee that the wrongdoer was not repentant, perhaps because he gave misleading testimony or purposely omitted important facts during the hearing. In such instances there may be a basis for the judicial committee to re- consider its decision and decide to disfellowship, es- pecially if no announcement of reproof had been made. When the hearing resumes, the individual would be given opportunity to hear any new evi- dence and to present his side of the matter. In cases of this nature, it is best to inquire of the branch oﬃce for direction before proceeding. 25. If the wrongdoer again engages in seri- ous wrongdoing after the judicial committee ren- ders a decision and completes the case, the judicial Chapter 7 99 committee that handled the previous case will not automatically handle the new case. The body of el- ders should meet and select the judicial committee. In most cases, the elders will choose the same elders to serve on the new judicial committee, but the body of elders may decide to use diﬀerent brothers or to add another elder to the committee. If the Decision Is to Disfellowship 26. If the wrongdoer lacks genuine repentance, he should be disfellowshipped. (See 7:8) The committee should inform him of its decision and endeavor to help him see how he can use the time he is disfellow- shipped in a way that will repair his damaged rela- tionship with Jehovah. The committee may share with him scriptures such as 2 Corinthians 7:10, 11 and Hebrews 12:5-7. The judicial committee should be kind and positive, assuring him that forgiveness is possible if he truly repents. 27. The following information should be con- veyed orally to the wrongdoer after informing him of the committee’s decision: ˙ Outline the steps necessary for future reinstate- ment. ˙ Inform the wrongdoer that he may appeal in writing within seven days if he feels a serious er- ror in judgment has occurred. (od pp. 153-154) He should address his letter of appeal to the ju- dicial committee. 28. The judicial committee should neither en- courage him to appeal nor discourage him from do- ing so. Before dismissing him, the elders should ask if he has any questions. The judicial committee will conclude with prayer after dismissing the wrongdoer. 29. If the unrepentant wrongdoer did not attend the judicial hearing, the judicial commit- 100 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 tee should make reasonable eﬀorts to inform him orally of their decision, his option to appeal, and so forth. The elders should not leave a message of a con- ﬁdential nature on a telephone answering machine or by means of voice mail or by way of e-mail. If he does not cooperate with the eﬀorts to inform him, the judicial committee should contact the branch of- ﬁce. 30. Allow the seven-day appeal period to elapse even if the person states he does not wish to appeal or if he failed to appear for the judicial hearing. 31. The coordinator of the body of elders should check the announcement to make sure that it con- forms to the guidelines outlined by the organization. An elder should read the announcement. The word- ing should be as follows: “[Name of person] is no longer one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.” 32. Disfellowshipping takes eﬀect at the time of making the announcement to the congregation. In the interim before the public announcement, the wrongdoer should not comment or oﬀer prayers at congregation meetings or care for any special privi- leges of service. (od p. 154) Make the announcement in only one congregation. 33. The judicial committee should promptly in- form the branch oﬃce of the disfellowshipping using the appropriate forms. When making the re- port, read and carefully follow the instructions on the form. 34. Upon conclusion of the case, the chairman should place only necessary notes and documents, a detailed summary of the case, and the S-77 forms in a sealed envelope for the congregation’s conﬁ- dential ﬁle. Elders on the committee should pre- serve nothing outside of this sealed envelope (includ- ing personal notes). On the outside of the envelope Chapter 7 101 should be written the wrongdoer’s name, the names of those who served on the judicial committee (with the chairman indicated), the action taken, and the date of the action. 102 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 Chapter 7 103 1. If the judicial committee receives a letter of ap- peal within seven days from the time the wrongdoer received notiﬁcation of the decision to disfellowship, the chairman should promptly call the circuit over- seer, who will arrange for an appeal committee. Ar- rangements should be made for the appeal hearing even if there seems to be no valid basis for it. He should select the most qualiﬁed elders available to re- hear the case. To the extent possible, he will select brothers from a diﬀerent congregation who are im- partial and have no ties or relationship to the ac- cused, the accuser, or the judicial committee. 2. If a person appeals after the seven days, imme- diately contact the branch oﬃce for direction. 3. The chairman of the judicial committee will make the completed S-77 forms and all other related material on the case, including the judicial commit- tee’s notes, available to the appeal committee. Objective and Approach of the Appeal Committee 4. The elders chosen for the appeal committee should approach the case with modesty and avoid giving the impression that they are judging the judicial committee rather than the accused. While Chapter Eight Appeal Hearing Procedure The appeal committee should be modest in working with the judicial committee The appeal committee should determine whether the accused is guilty of serious wrong- doing and whether he was repentant when he met with the judicial committee 104 the appeal committee should be thorough, they must remember that the appeal process does not indicate a lack of conﬁdence in the judicial committee. Rather, it is a kindness to the wrongdoer to assure him of a complete and fair hearing. The elders of the appeal committee should keep in mind that likely the judi- cial committee has more insight and experience than they do regarding the accused. 5. Generally, there is no arrangement to hold an appeal hearing outside the circuit; if the ac- cused has moved, he must be willing to travel back to the area so that the judicial committee can be present for the appeal hearing. If the accused deliberately fails to appear at the appeal hearing, the disfellow- shipping should be announced after reasonable ef- forts have been made to contact him.—od p.154. 6. The appeal committee should ﬁrst read the written material on the case and speak with the ju- dicial committee. Afterward, the appeal committee should speak to the accused. Since the judicial com- mittee has already judged him unrepentant, the ap- peal committee will not pray in his presence but will pray before inviting him into the room. 7. Conduct the hearing in a manner similar to the ﬁrst judicial committee hearing. It may be necessary to rehear all the evidence relevant to the case, includ- ing that which was presented originally and any new evidence now available. For instance, if the accused continues to contend that he is innocent, the wit- nesses should again give their testimony in his pres- ence, he should be given opportunity to respond, and the appeal committee should hear any addition- al witnesses he wishes to present to prove his inno- cence. 8. The judicial committee should be present to hear any testimony. If they or the accused believes that earlier testimony or evidence is being changed, this can be stated following the presentation of evi- dence that was allegedly altered. Chapter 8 105 9. After gathering the facts, the appeal committee should deliberate in private. They should consider the answers to two questions: ˙ Was it established that the accused com- mitted a disfellowshipping oﬀense? ˙ Did the accused demonstrate repentance commensurate with the gravity of his wrongdoing at the time of the hearing with the judicial committee? 10. The appeal committee may ﬁnd that while the original basis for disfellowshipping was invalid, other valid grounds for disfellowshipping exist. If so, the appeal committee should give the individual suf- ﬁcient time, even several days if needed, to present any evidence or witnesses that he feels will disprove the new allegations. If the new allegations are none- theless established and if the person does not dem- onstrate genuine repentance, the appeal committee may decide to uphold the disfellowshipping on these new grounds. If so, the appeal committee should pre- pare a new report for the branch oﬃce showing the new grounds for disfellowshipping. The appeal committee should submit this along with the report composed by the judicial committee and should tell the original committee to announce the disfellow- shipping. If the Appeal Committee Agrees With the Judicial Committee 11. If the brothers on the appeal committee feel they can accede to the judgment of the judicial com- mittee, the appeal committee should inform the wrongdoer of the ﬁnal decision in the presence of the judicial committee. 12. The judicial committee should allow seven days to pass before arranging for the disfellowship- ping to be announced at the next Service Meeting. 106 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 13. The appeal committee should compose a re- port and send this tothe branch oﬃce along with the report given them by the judicial committee. The ap- peal committee should make sure that the report from the judicial committee is complete, including the date of announcement of the disfellowshipping. 14. When the disfellowshipping is upheld, there is no further arrangement for appeal. However, if an individual persists in believing a serious error in judgment has occurred, the appeal committee should inform him that he may submit his allega- tions in writing to the appeal committee within sev- en days for transmittal to the branch oﬃce. The appeal committee should not mention this provision unless the individual indicates that he believes a seri- ous error in judgment has occurred. 15. If he indicates a desire to submit a letter of ap- peal to the branch oﬃce, the announcement of dis- fellowshipping should be delayed. The appeal com- mittee should submit the wrongdoer’s letter, the report from the judicial committee, and a report from the appeal committee to the branch oﬃce. No announcement should be made until a reply is re- ceived from the branch oﬃce. If the Appeal Committee Disagrees With the Judicial Committee 16. The appeal committee should meet privately with the judicial committee to discuss matters and explain the reason for disagreeing. 17. The accused should be invited back into the room, and the appeal committee should inform him that further consideration will be needed. He can be assured that the case will be concluded as soon as possible. Neither the judicial committee nor the appeal committee should give any indication of their diﬀering decisions to the individual. After Chapter 8 107 he is dismissed, the hearing can be concluded with prayer. 18. If the judicial committee does not agree with the conclusions of the appeal committee, the elders on the judicial committee should promptly compose a letter clearly expressing their reasons for disagree- ment and give this to the appeal committee. The ap- peal committee will include this letter along with their report to the branch oﬃce. On the other hand, the judicial committee may now agree with the ap- peal committee. If so, their letter should explain why. Even if both committees agree not to disfellowship the individual, they will not advise him of their decision; rather, they will simply tell the person that the deci- sion is pending. The appeal committee will send to the branch oﬃce separate letters from both the origi- nal committee and the appeal committee that supply suﬃcient details to give a clear picture of the reasons for the conclusion. 19. The appeal committee should promptly com- pose a letter explaining the appeal committee’s conclusion and the reasons. The appeal committee should send this letter along with the S-77 report giv- en to the appeal committee by the judicial com- mittee at the beginning of the appeal hearing and the judicial committee’s letter explaining the judicial committee’s thinking on the decision of the appeal committee to the branch oﬃce. The branch oﬃce will thereafter provide written direction to assist both committees with bringing the case to a conclusion. 20. After the two committees have considered the observations of the branch oﬃce and made a ﬁnal decision, the original committee should inform the person involved. If the decision is to disfellowship, the judicial committee will arrange to make an appro- priate announcement in the congregation and in- form the branch oﬃce of the date of the announce- ment. 108 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 Chapter 8 109 1. Whereas disfellowshipping is an action tak- en by a judicial committee against an unrepentant wrongdoer, disassociation is an action taken by an in- dividual who no longer desires to be one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. (1 John 2:19) The body of elders should appoint a committee of three elders to consider the facts. 2. A judicial committee should not continue an investigation into alleged wrongdoing if the accused person makes known his decision to disassociate himself. (w84 7/1 p. 31) However, at no time should the elders ask the accused if he desires to disassociate himself. If the elders are handling a particularly dif- ﬁcult case and there is a question about whether the person has disassociated himself, it would be best for the committee to contact the branch oﬃce for fur- ther direction. If an individual is determined to disas- sociate himself, then the committee would prepare a summary of the alleged oﬀense(s) and the evidence of such. This would be kept along with information regarding the disassociation. If the person later re- quests reinstatement, these matters would need to be considered with him at that time. 3. Actions that may indicate disassociation in- clude the following: Chapter Nine Implications of Disassociation Disassociation is action taken by the individual A committee is appointed to provide assistance if possible Announce and report disassociation if estab- lished 110 ˙ Making known a firm decision to be known no longer as one of Jehovah’s Wit- nesses. If the individual is agreeable, the com- mittee should ﬁrst try to speak with him and provide spiritual assistance. (Gal. 6:1) Does he really desire to disassociate himself, or does he simply no longer want to associate actively with the congregation? Is the desire to disassociate prompted by doubts or discouragement? If he is adamant in his position, he should be encour- aged to put his request in writing and sign it. If he does not, then the witnesses to his request should prepare a statement for the conﬁdential ﬁles and sign it. ˙ Joining another religious organization and making known his intention to re- main with it. If it is learned that a person has taken up association with another religious or- ganization and thus is identiﬁed with it, a com- mittee (not judicial) should be selected to inves- tigate matters and endeavor to provide spiritual assistance. If the individual has joined another religious organization and intends to remain with it, he has disassociated himself. ˙ Willingly and unrepentantly taking blood. If someone willingly takes blood, perhaps be- cause of being under extreme pressure, the com- mittee should obtain the facts and determine the individual’s attitude. If he is repentant, the committee would provide spiritual assistance in the spirit of Galatians 6:1 and Jude 22, 23. Since he is spiritually weak, he would not qualify for special privileges for a period of time, and it may be necessary to remove certain basic privileges. Depending on the circumstances, the commit- tee may also need to arrange for an announce- ment to the congregation: “The elders have handled a matter having to do with [name Chapter 9 111 of person]. You will be glad to know that spiritual shepherds are endeavoring to ren- der assistance.” On the other hand, if the el- ders on the committee determine that he is unrepentant, they should announce his disasso- ciation. ˙ Taking a course contrary to the neutral po- sition of the Christian congregation. (Isa. 2:4; John 15:17-19; w99 11/1 pp. 28-29) If he joins a nonneutral organization, he has disasso- ciated himself. If his employment makes him a clear accomplice in nonneutral activities, he should generally be allowed a period of time up to six months to make an adjustment. If he does not, he has disassociated himself.—km 9/76 pp. 3-6. 4. The coordinator of the body of elders should approve the announcement before an elder reads it to the congregation. The announcement should be as follows: “[Name of person] is no longer one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.” 5. Since disassociation is an action taken by the publisher rather than the committee, there is no ar- rangement for an appeal. Therefore, the announce- ment of disassociation can be made on the occasion of the next Service Meeting without waiting seven days. A report of the disassociation should promptly be sent to the branch office, using the appropriate forms.—See 7:33-34. 112 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 Chapter 9 113 1. Once a year the body of elders reviews a list of those in the congregation territory who are disfellow- shipped or disassociated. They will call on each one they select in order to see if he wants to return. (w91 4/15 pp. 22-23) Calls should not be made on those who are active apostates, on those who are trying to lead others into sin, or on those who have made it known that they want nothing to do with God’s people. The body will assign two elders to make each call, preferably elders familiar with the case. During a brief visit, the elders may kindly ex- plain what the individual can do to return. In some cases there may be good reason for a follow-up visit. They will report the results to the Congregation Ser- vice Committee, and the body will be informed at the next meeting of the elders. 2. If the elders learn that a disfellowshipped or disassociated person has moved, they should not send his Congregation’s Publisher Record (S-21) cards or the conﬁdential ﬁle to the congregation where he lives or attends meetings. Since he cannot share in the ministry, the congregation that took dis- fellowshipping action or acknowledged the disasso- Chapter Ten Matters Related to Disfellowshipped and Disassociated Ones Make yearly visits on those who qualify Permit them to obtain personal literature at the Kingdom Hall Assist those having undue association with dis- fellowshipped or disassociated relatives 114 ciation should retain the cards. However, a brief letter should be sent to the body of elders in whose territo- ry he lives to inform them that a disfellowshipped or disassociated person lives in their territory and to provide his address. This will enable the local elders to follow through and make yearly visits on this one if he qualiﬁes. Generally, there would be no need for the letter to include speciﬁc information on the de- tails of the judicial case. However, if the elders are aware of a situation that would disqualify him from yearly visits or there is reason for the elders in the new congregation to be especially on guard, this can be explained in the letter. 3. If someone gives evidence of repentance and a desire to be reinstated by changing his course or asks about reinstatement, the authorized el- ders may speak with him and kindly explain what he needs to do in order to be reinstated. 4. Disfellowshipped and disassociated ones may obtain a personal copy of the magazines and other literature at the magazine and literature counters at the Kingdom Hall. Our Kingdom Ministry is not dis- tributed to such ones. If someone is an active apos- tate and known to misuse our literature to oppose the organization, the local elders may decide not to make literature available to him. 5. Disfellowshipped and disassociated ones are generally expected to make their own arrangements for transportation to and from congregation meetings. However, in some instances a disfellow- shipped or disassociated individual who is making a determined eﬀort to regain a right standing with Je- hovah may be in a situation that prevents him from obtaining transportation. It may be that he has no car and that family members or others are not able to help him. Perhaps he cannot aﬀord public transpor- tation, or it is not available in his area. It may be that the distance involved, personal safety, or severe Chapter 10 115 weather make it inadvisable to walk. In cases of such desperate need, the elders can determine whether some assistance may be provided. (w81 9/15 p. 18 par.14) Such assistance would be viewed as similar to public transportation in that there should be no fra- ternizing or conversing with the disfellowshipped or disassociated person. (2 John 10, 11) The elders should monitor the situation to make sure that any arrangements made are not abused. 6. If members of the congregation are known to have undue association with disfellowshipped or disassociated relatives who are not in the household, elders should counsel and reason with those members of the congregation from the Scrip- tures. Review with them information from the “God’s Love” book, pages 207-208; The Watchtower of April 15, 1988, pages 26-30; or the article “Dis- play Christian Loyalty When a Relative Is Disfellow- shipped” in the August 2002 Our Kingdom Ministry. If it is clear that a Christian is violating the spirit of the disfellowshipping decree in this regard and does not respond to counsel, it may be that he would not qualify for congregation privileges, which require one to be exemplary. He would not be dealt with judi- cially unless there is persistent spiritual association or he openly criticizes the disfellowshipping decision. 116 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 Chapter 10 117 When a Plea for Reinstatement Is Received 1. The ﬁnal decision to reinstate a disfellow- shipped person is always made by a judicial com- mittee of the congregation that took the disfel- lowshipping action. If possible, the elders in that congregation who served on the judicial commit- tee should be used for the reinstatement committee. Even if the committee feels that it is much too soon to consider reinstatement, two members of the com- mittee should acknowledge receipt of the request and brieﬂy inform the disfellowshipped one that more time must pass. Written requests for reinstate- ment should be responded to promptly. 2. After oﬀering prayer without the disfellow- shipped person present, the committee will invite him into the room. The committee should endeavor to put the disfellowshipped one at ease, commending him for his progress and desire to be reinstated. The chairman invites the disfellowshipped one to make a Chapter Eleven Reinstatement Committee Procedure Allow suﬃcient time for a wrongdoer to prove his repentance Be especially cautious if the individual: Was deceptive Secretly practiced sin over an extended peri- od of time Was reproved or disfellowshipped previously Conspired to put away his marriage mate 118 personal statement. The committee should seek to determine his conduct since the time of disfellow- shipping and ascertain his attitude. The disfellow- shipped person is then excused from the room while the committee deliberates. 3. The committee should be careful to allow suf- ﬁcient time, perhaps many months, a year, or even longer, for the disfellowshipped person to prove that his profession of repentance is genuine. (od p. 156; it-2 p. 771) The committee should be especially cau- tious in some cases. For instance, the wrongdoer may have been deceptive, may have secretly prac- ticed wrongdoing over a long period of time, or may have been repeatedly dealt with judicially in the past for the same or other wrongdoing. Quickly reinstat- ing such a person may embolden others to com- mit serious sin, as they may feel that little or no discipline will be administered. Where there is evi- dence of conspiracy between individuals to put away their mates and marry each other, considerable time should elapse for them to prove their repentance and gain reinstatement.—w83 3/15 p. 29. 4. The reinstatement committee needs to be bal- anced. Genuine repentance and a turning away from the wrong course—not the attitude of others or mere- ly the time elapsed—are the chief determining factors in deciding when a person may be reinstated.—1 Cor. 5:1, 11-13; 2 Cor. 2:6, 7. 5. The committee should consider the overall pat- tern of the wrongdoer’s life. Does it now show that he is repentant? If so, elders should guard against going to extremes by exacting a point-by-point ad- mission of sins that may not have been clearly proved. 6. If it is determined that the individual should not be reinstated, the committee should Chapter 11 119 explain their reasons and what they expect the indi- vidual to do in the future to qualify for reinstate- ment. After he is dismissed, the committee will con- clude with prayer. 7. If the disfellowshipped person has moved, a local judicial committee will hear his request for reinstatement where he is now attending meetings. If those elders believe he should be reinstated, they will give the judicial committee of the congregation that disfellowshipped the person their recommendation. They should not let the disfellowshipped one know their recommendation; if the other committee does not agree, knowing that would only cause him frus- tration. The committee should merely tell him that they must correspond with the elders where he was disfellowshipped and that he will be informed of the decision in due course. 8. The local judicial committee should not pres- sure the original committee to reinstate the person. The elders on the original committee may be aware of important factors not apparent to others, so it is usually best to respect their judgment. Likewise, the original committee should carefully consider the recommendation of the other committee. Suﬃcient time may have passed, and the individual may have made drastic changes that the elders on the original committee have not observed. They should keep in mind that the elders making the recommendation have met the individual and have had opportunity to observe his conduct. 9. If the two congregations are reasonably close to each other, the committee of the congrega- tion that took the disfellowshipping action should promptly arrange to meet with the disfellowshipped individual after receiving a positive recommendation from the committee of the congregation where he made his plea for reinstatement. 120 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 10. If the elders on the committee of the con- gregation that took the disfellowshipping ac- tion disagree with the recommendation to rein- state, they should clearly explain their reasons to the other committee. If the Decision Is to Reinstate 11. If he is being reinstated, the disfellowshipped person can be invited back into the room and in- formed. At that time Scriptural encouragement and counsel should be given to help him to continue to make spiritual progress. Until the reinstatement is an- nounced, he should continue to conduct himself as a disfellowshipped one. The committee concludes with prayer with the individual present. The committee should make sure the branch oﬃce is properly in- formed of the reinstatement. 12. In all cases of reinstatement, judicial restric- tions should be imposed to help the person see the need for continuing to make ‘straight paths for his feet’ and out of consideration for the congrega- tion’s conscience. (Heb. 12:13) The privilege of shar- ing in the ﬁeld service is restored when the individu- al is reinstated. Other privileges, such as commenting at meetings and giving Theocratic Ministry School talks, can be restored progressively when it is deter- mined that the individual has progressed spiritually to the point that he is qualiﬁed and when it is judged by the committee that the extending of such privi- leges will not be oﬀensive to the congregation. It may be discouraging to the repentant wrongdoer if restric- tions are imposed for a prolonged period of time. Therefore, when informing a repentant wrongdoer of restrictions, it would be helpful for the elders to in- form him of the date for the next meeting when his progress will be reviewed. The committee may also arrange for a Bible study to be conducted, if needed, which would be reported as ﬁeld service. It would be Chapter 11 121 an exceptional case when many months have passed and restrictions have not been lifted.—See 7:19. 13. Reinstatement is announced in the congre- gation where that person was disfellowshipped as well as in the congregation where he now attends. The coordinator of the body of elders should approve the announcement before an elder reads it to the congregation. The announcement should read as fol- lows: “[Name of person] is reinstated as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.” Judicial restrictions should not be announced. The committee where he attends will supervise the gradual removal of restrictions. 14. A committee will deal with a disassociated per- son similarly if he requests reinstatement. 15. When a person is reinstated, he will still need much spiritual assistance. The committee should continue to monitor the person’s spiritual progress. 122 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 Chapter 11 123 Marking Disorderly Ones 1. At times it may be necessary to mark those who display a ﬂagrant disregard for theocratic order though not practicing a grave sin that would result in judicial action. (w99 7/15 pp. 29-31) This could in- clude such things as being grossly lazy or critical or being a proﬁtless talker who is a constant ‘meddler with what does not concern him.’ (2 Thess. 3:11) It may involve one who schemes to take material ad- vantage of others, indulges in entertainment that is clearly improper, or dates when not legally or Scrip- turally free.—od p.150-151. 2. If the disorderly conduct is generally unknown to others and poses no threat to their spiritual well- being, usually it is best to handle things through ad- monition and counsel. The elders should not be hasty in giving a warning talk. However, if the individual does not see the error of his way but con- tinues to be an unwholesome inﬂuence, a warning Chapter Twelve Clariﬁcations and Guidelines on Handling Certain Matters Marking disorderly ones Weddings Scriptural freedom to remarry Adulterous marriage Child abuse Taking brothers to court When disasters occur 124 talk may be given to the congregation.—2 Thess. 3:6, 14, 15; w99 7/15 pp. 29-31; w85 4/15 pp. 30-31. ˙ Example—mark for dating an “unbeliev- er”: The elders should ﬁrst counsel and try to help a disorderly one. If a person persists in a way that is disturbing and that has the poten- tial for spreading, they may conclude that there would be reason for a warning talk to be given to the congregation.—2 Cor. 6:14; 2 Thess. 3:11, 14; w99 7/15 p. 31. ˙ It may be that an individual is dating not an ac- tual ‘unbeliever’ but an unbaptized publisher. In such cases a warning talk may not be need- ed, depending on the circumstances, on the attitude of the Christian, on the level of dis- turbance to the congregation, and other fac- tors. Nonetheless, if he is dating with a view to marrying someone who is unbaptized, he is not obeying the Bible’s counsel at 1 Corinthi- ans 7:39 to marry “only in the Lord,” and lov- ing counsel should be given. Elders will use reasonableness and discernment in determining whether a particular situation is suﬃciently seri- ous and disturbing to require a warning talk. —od pp.150-151; w04 7/1 pp. 30-31. 3. If the disorderly one becomes ashamed of his ways and is moved to change, then as elders of the congregation see the adjustment, they can individu- ally decide to end the limitation they have put on personally socializing with him. This will indicate to the congregation that he is no longer marked. Weddings 4. Elders may perform a wedding of two Chris- tians or of two unbaptized publishers who are pro- gressing toward baptism. If the couple have a specif- ic elder in mind, they can personally ask him to Chapter 12 125 oﬃciate at their wedding. If the couple have no pref- erence, the body of elders can select one of their number to do this. The elder solemnizing a marriage should make sure that he is legally qualiﬁed in the state or locality where the wedding takes place. If the speaker does not legally qualify to administer the vows, another elder who meets such legal require- ments could administer the wedding vows after the speaker gives the discourse. The elder who adminis- ters the vows would complete the necessary docu- ments. Any elder who is asked to give a wedding talk or administer the vows should conscientiously de- cide whether he wishes to serve in such capacity. (w97 4/15 p. 24; w84 4/15 pp. 13-14) Elders should not perform the wedding of two persons who are not seriously involved in the activities of Jehovah’s Wit- nesses. Neither should the elders be involved, directly or indirectly, in the wedding of a baptized individual to an unbaptized, disassociated, or disfellowshipped person. (1 Cor. 5:11; 7:39) It would be improper to participate in a second wedding years after the initial ceremony, as this would imply that the ﬁrst wedding was not binding.—w0610/15 p.19 par. 8. 5. Before agreeing to oﬃciate, an elder should personally speak with the couple and tactfully but straightforwardly inquire about their conduct during courtship. Make sure that all involved are familiar with and follow the direction in the arti- cles in the November 2008 Our Kingdom Ministry, page 3; the October 15, 2006, Watchtower, pages 18- 31; the April 15, 1997, Watchtower, pages 23-26; and the April 15, 1984, Watchtower, pages 11-15. If it is learned that they have engaged in sexual immorality that requires assistance from a judicial committee, the couple cannot use the Kingdom Hall. If neither is disfellowshipped, it will be up to the discretion of the elder as to whether he will oﬃciate at another loca- tion. He may also want to inquire about some of the plans for the wedding and reception and give kind- ly reminders if needed to help them demonstrate 126 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 reasonableness. However, he should remember that what they choose to do is a personal matter as long as this is not unscriptural. (Phil. 4:5; w84 4/15 pp. 11- 12) The elder should also make sure that the bride and groom are legally and Scripturally free to marry. If either was married before, the elder should ask to see a copy of the divorce decree to make sure that the divorce was ﬁnalized. He should also be sat- isﬁed that the divorce is Scriptural. If the person’s di- vorce occurred before baptism, the elder should not assume the individual is Scripturally free, as baptism does not dissolve previous marital ties. If either the bride or the groom is from another congregation, the elder should speak or correspond with the el- ders from that congregation to conﬁrm the person’s standing in the congregation, Scriptural freedom to marry, and so forth. 6. If a couple wishes to use the Kingdom Hall, they should submit a written request well in advance of the wedding date indicating the speciﬁc day and time they desire to use the hall. The Congregation Service Committee should promptly consider the re- quest on behalf of the bodyof elders. Though it is not a requirement that all in the wedding party be bap- tized, the wedding party should not include any per- son whose lifestyle grossly conﬂicts with Bible princi- ples. (km 11/08 p. 3; w84 4/15 p. 15) Any decoration of the Kingdom Hall or rearrangement of the chairs must be approved. Only music selected from King- dom Melodies or that is found in our songbook may be used. The elders may permit a rehearsal at the Kingdom Hall as long as it does not interfere with other congregation arrangements. 7. The marriage discourse should reﬂect digni- ty, honor, and seriousness. (Heb. 13:4) Its purpose is to impress on the minds of the participants, as well as those observing, the God-given responsibilities that married couples must assume and discharge in full harmony with the Scriptures. It is not appropriate to Chapter 12 127 tell humorous stories or read poems simply to enter- tain or amuse the audience. If the branch oﬃce pro- vides an outline in the local language, it should be used. 8. Since much of the direction outlined above has generally been given only to congregation elders, ap- pointed elders should be used to oﬃciate at weddings, if available. (km 11/08 p. 3; w84 4/15 pp. 13-14) Also, elders are certiﬁed teachers of God’s Word, so they are the ones most qualiﬁed to high- light the important Scriptural principles that apply on this special occasion.—1 Tim. 3:2. Scriptural Freedom to Remarry 9. Elders should be very careful when it comes to giving direction on whether an individual is Scrip- turally free and should consult with the branch oﬃce on any questions. This is especially true since the decisions a person makes in such matters will af- fect not only their relationship with their marriage mate but also their relationship with Jehovah. We therefore as elders shoulder a heavy responsibility in such matters and need to be cautious when oﬀer- ing counsel, especially when the answer may not be readily apparent.—Luke 12:48; Jas. 3:1. 10. Scriptural freedom to remarry requires three conditions: por·neia; a rejection (refusal to reconcile) by the innocent mate; and a legal, ﬁnal divorce. —Matt. 5:31, 32; 19:9; Heb.13:4. 11. If a dedicated Christian who accuses his be- lieving mate of adultery and wishes to establish freedom to divorce and remarry approaches an elder, the matter should be referred to the body of el- ders. The accuser is not free unless the evidence es- tablishing wrongdoing is suﬃcient to warrant the formation of a judicial committee. (Deut.19:15; John 8:17) If the accused mate is associated with another congregation, the evidence should be presented to 128 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 the elders of that congregation for review and a de- termination. The publisher should be advised that he is not to view himselfas Scripturally free until the elders have investigated and guilt is established. 12. In some cases adultery is not proved, but it is established by confession or by two or more witness- es that the mate stayed all night in the same house with a person of the opposite sex (or a known ho- mosexual) under improper circumstances. The elders should carefully consider the situation. Were the in- dividuals together all night? Were improper circum- stances involved? For example, were the two persons alone? Is there evidence of a romantic relationship? What were the sleeping arrangements? Even if adul- tery is not established, it may be that the Christian was involved in an immoral sleeping arrangement. Although the elders cannot tell the innocent mate that he is free to marry because adultery was not proved, in view of the circumstances, if the innocent mate is convinced that adultery did occur, the elders may allow him to take responsibility before Jehovah for obtaining a Scriptural divorce; if he remarries, no judicial action will be taken. 13. Even if the accused mate is not one of Je- hovah’s Witnesses (disfellowshipped, disassociated, or never baptized), two witnesses are also generally required to establish wrongdoing that would provide a basis for Scriptural freedom. An exception may be made, however, if the unbeliever privately makes an unambiguous confession of adultery to the Christian mate. In such a case, if the innocent Chris- tian mate believes that the confession is true and does not wish to reconcile, he can submit a letter to the elders outlining his situation. The body of elders should then consider the letter. Is there any known reason to conclude other than that the unbeliev- ing mate has been immoral? For example, was the confession worded ambiguously? Did the unbeliever Chapter 12 129 later deny making the confession? If the unbeliever is willing to speak with the elders and matters are un- clear, the elders may choose to ask the accused mate directly. If there is no known reason to conclude oth- erwise, the innocent mate can be allowed to take re- sponsibility before Jehovah for obtaining a Scriptural divorce; if he remarries, no judicial action will be tak- en.—w77 pp. 607-608. 14. The following constitutes rejection by the in- nocent mate: ˙ The innocent mate initiates a divorce either be- fore or after learning of the adultery. ˙ The innocent mate signs a divorce decree indicat- ing he does not object to a divorce initiated by the guilty mate, either before or after learning of the adultery. Note: In some lands it is possible for the innocent mate to sign divorce docu- ments that stipulate custody of the children and ﬁnancial support without indicating he agrees with the divorce; his signing such papers in it- self would not indicate a rejection.—w00 12/15 pp. 28-29. ˙ Though verbally expressing forgiveness and not seeking a divorce, the innocent mate refuses to resume sexual relations for a very prolonged period of time, a year or even years. Before indicating to the guilty mate that he is free to pursue a Scrip- tural divorce, the elders should consult with the branch oﬃce. Note: The innocent mate is not required to make a quick decision whether to forgive or not.—w74 pp. 671-672. Adulterous Marriage 15. If a divorced person remarries and he was not Scripturally free to do so—in other words, if adul- tery and rejection by the innocent mate had not oc- curred—he has entered into an adulterous marriage. 130 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 In Jehovah’s eyes, he has married someone while still bound to another. Entering into such a marriage would call for judicial action. 16. If the disfellowshipped one was eventually reinstated, the elders would be very cautious in ex- tending any special privileges. He could share in the cleaning and repair of the local Kingdom Hall. He may eventually give student talks in the Theocratic Ministry School if his doing so would not disturb others. However, he would not be assigned to help with literature, accounts, magazines, at- tendants, or similar privileges in the congrega- tion as long as the innocent former mate is alive, unmarried, and has not been guilty of por·neia.—w83 3/15 p. 29. 17. If a Christian did not enter into an adulterous marriage but deliberately committed adultery in a scheming way so as to end his marriage or he pressured the innocent mate to reject him and eventually agree to a divorce, he has dealt treacher- ously with her. (Mal. 2:14-16) His conduct is simi- lar to entering into an adulterous marriage, and he would not qualify for special privileges for many years. Child Abuse 18. You should immediately call the branch oﬃce for direction if you learn of an accusation of child abuse, regardless of the age of the victim now or at the time of the alleged abuse, even if it occurred before the alleged perpetrator’s baptism. The branch oﬃce will then give direction based on the circum- stances involved in each situation. 19. Child abuse is a crime. Never suggest to any- one that they should not report an allegation of child abuse to the police or other authorities. If you are asked, make it clear that whether to report the matter to the authorities or not is a personal Chapter 12 131 decision for each individual to make and that there are no congregation sanctions for either decision. El- ders will not criticize anyone who reports such an al- legation to the authorities. If the victim wishes to make a report, it is his or her absolute right to do so. —Gal. 6:5. 20. When a known child molester moves to an- other congregation, the Congregation Service Com- mittee should send a letter of introduction with full and complete information about his background and current situation. Any letter from the branch oﬃce concerning the child molester should not be photo- copied or sent to the new congregation. However, the new congregation should be clearly informed of any restrictions imposed by the branch ofﬁce. A copy of the letter of introduction should be sent to the branch oﬃce. 21. In a case in which a brother denies an allega- tion of child abuse and he has been accused by only one witness, the following direction is given if he moves to another congregation. The elders should consult the branch oﬃce before sending any infor- mation regarding the accusation to the elders in the new congregation. It would be helpful if your letter to the branch oﬃce provided a detailed summary of the matter and explained the spiritual condition and personal circumstances of the accused and the accus- er. With regard to the accused, the following ques- tions should be answered: (1) What is his interaction with children? (2) Does he admit to any activity with the accuser that could have been misinterpreted by the accuser as sexual abuse, or does he claim to have a poor memory of the accusation? (3) What is his re- sponse to why the accuser has made the allegation? (4) Has he had to be counseled for any other matters of a sexual nature, such as inappropriate conduct with adult sisters or pornography? (5) What is the level of his spirituality? (6) Do all the elders on the body believe that he can be trusted with children? 132 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 The following questions should be answered with re- gard to the accuser: (1) What is the level of maturity of the child or youth? (2) Is he (or she) describing conduct that one his age would not normally know about? (3) Is the child or his parents known to be se- rious, mature? (4) Is his memory consistent, or is it intermittent, or does it involve repressed memories? (w95 11/1 pp. 25-26) (5) What is the reputation of the parents? (6) Are they spiritually and emotionally mature? After carefully considering the matter, the branch oﬃce will then give you direction as to what information about the allegation should be shared, if any, with the elders of the new congregation. Taking Brothers to Court 22. At 1 Corinthians 6:1-8, the apostle Paul gave strong counsel that Christians should not take other Christians before secular courts to settle personal dis- putes that should be settled with the help of the congregation elders.—w97 3/15 pp. 21-22; w86 11/15 p. 20; g83 2/8 pp.13-15; w73 11/15 pp. 703-704. ˙ If an individual ignores God’s Word on this matter, it may aﬀect his congregation privileges. ˙ There is no diﬀerence between taking an indi- vidual brother or sister to court and taking to court a corporation whose owners are all Jeho- vah’s Witnesses. The spirit of 1 Corinthians 6: 1-8 would be violated by relying on the secular courts to settle business disputes among corpo- rations that are made up entirely of brothers. 23. However, there are legal matters over which the congregation does not have authority and which may therefore be taken to a secular court for judg- ment without violating the principle or the spirit of 1 Corinthians 6:1-8. These include: ˙ Getting a divorce decree, child custody and sup- port, alimony. Chapter 12 133 ˙ Obtaining insurance compensation. If a person suﬀers loss or is injured in or by an automobile owned by a spiritual brother, it might be neces- sary legally to sue the brother in order to obtain compensation from the brother’s insurer. ˙ Being listed among creditors in bankruptcy pro- cedures. ˙ Probating wills. ˙ Certain countersuits. For example, if a worldly creditor sues a brother, it might be necessary for the brother, for his own protection, to ﬁle a countersuit even though spiritual brothers may be included in the action. ˙ If a brother takes legal action against another baptized Witness, it would not be a violation of 1 Corinthians 6:1-8 for the one being sued to defend himself or to countersue. This is true whether the matter was ﬁrst taken before the el- ders or not. When Disasters Occur 24. When the local congregation is aﬀected by a disaster, elders should assist the publishers in the fol- lowing ways: ˙ Quickly make assessment of the immedi- ate needs of the brothers and sisters. Group overseers can take the lead to locate each family in their ﬁeld service group and inquire of their well-being. They will next want to communi- cate their ﬁndings to the coordinator or another elder, if he is not available, even if all is well. ˙ Take care of the immediate needs by arrang- ing for medical treatment and supplies, such as water, food, and shelter. (John 13:35; Gal. 6:10) If advance warning of a disaster is given, as with some major storms, elders should ensure that everyone is in a safe location and if time per- 134 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 mits, should obtain and distribute supplies that may be needed. ˙ Give spiritual and emotional support to the congregation, and resume congregation meet- ings as quickly as possible.—km 1/07 p. 4; g96 6/22 p.17. ˙ In addition to the immediate physical needs of the brothers, is there property damage? Is dam- age to Kingdom Halls and individual homes ma- jor or minor? (For example, major would be roof destroyed, several feet of water in home; minor would be missing shingles on roof, win- dows broken, and so forth.) To gather the nec- essary information, responsible elders in the area may help in assessing the damage. Once this information is gathered, the coordinator or another elder may inform the circuit over- seer of the damage and the health condition of the brothers and sisters in the congregation. ˙ When the circuit overseer has received the re- port from the elders, he will promptly call the branch oﬃce. The branch oﬃce will deter- mine whether there is a need for further assis- tance. ˙ Other assistance may be provided, such as checking to see what government aid may be available.—w66 2/1 pp. 95-96. 25. If the disaster occurs in another area, elders can take the lead in assisting by doing the following: ˙ Remember the brothers and sisters in your prayers.—2 Cor.1:8-11. ˙ If you wish to provide monetary assistance, you may send your donations to the world- wide work in the land in which you live, either through the congregation or directly. In this way, “the faithful and discreet slave,” through the organizational arrangements set in place Chapter 12 135 by the Governing Body, cares for the needs of the worldwide brotherhood in an orderly man- ner.—Matt. 24:45-47; 1 Cor. 14:33, 40; km 1/05 “Question Box.” ˙ Do not send materials or supplies to the disaster area unless speciﬁcally requested by the broth- ers in charge. This will assure an orderly relief ef- fort and the proper distribution of goods. ˙ Please do not telephone the branch oﬃce just for information, as this can tie up phone lines that are needed to handle incoming calls from the disaster area. 26. Following a disaster, the publishers can make good use of opportunities to comfort others spiritually and, to the extent possible, to help in prac- tical ways according to the need. Aiding the brothers in these ways takes time and eﬀort. However, 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. 136 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 Chapter 12 137 A Accusations adultery 12:11-13 child sexual abuse 12:18-19 to secular authorities 5:27; 12:19 Adultery accusations 12:11-13 adulterous marriage 12:15-17 announcing reproof for 7:20 confession to mate 5:37, 44; 12:13 establishing Scriptural freedom 12:9-14 evidence 5:37; 12:11-13 forgiveness 6:13; 12:14 rejection by innocent mate 12:10, 14 scheming to end marriage 3:8; 11:3; 12:17 unbelieving mate 12:13 Announcements deletion 3:26-27 disassociation 9:4-5 disfellowshipping 7:31-32; 8:12, 20 judicial reproof 7:20-21 misuse of blood, repentant regarding 9:3 reinstatement 11:13 unbaptized publisher 5:55, 57, 60 Apostasy 5:16 Appeal committee accused dissatisﬁed with judgment of 8:14-15 accused moves 8:5 agrees with judicial committee 8:11-15 correspondence with branch oﬃce 8:10, 13-15, 18-20 disagrees with judicial committee 8:16-20 hearing procedure 8:6-10 judicial committee receives appeal after seven days 8:2 objective of hearing 8:4, 9 oﬀering prayer 8:6, 17 Appointments meeting with brother after appointment is received 3:12-13 B Bankruptcy appointed brother 3:17 listed as a creditor 12:23 Baptism reviewing questions 2:12 validity 5:46-48 Bible study child of Christian parent 2:12, 18 inactive person 2:21; 4:15 reinstated person 11:12 Blood misuse 9:3 Branch oﬃce seeking direction from 2:4 Brazen conduct, loose conduct 5:9-12 Bride price 5:33 C Causing divisions, promoting sects 5:16 Celebrating false religious holidays 5:16 Children Bible study with 2:12, 18 custody disputes 5:22; 12:14, 23 of elders and ministerial servants 3:5, 15 Child sexual abuse accusations 12:18-19 accused molester moves to another con- gregation 12:21 announcing reproof for 7:20 assisting victims 4:21-26, 28 committed years in the past 3:20; 5:44 judicial oﬀense 5:10 known molester moves to another congre- gation 12:20 reporting allegation to secular authorities 5:27; 12:19 victim confronting accused 5:38 when learning of an accusation 5:38-39; 12:18-19 wrongdoer a victim of 7:11 Index 138 Circuit overseer consulting with during diﬃcult judicial case 7:15 Confession adultery by unbelieving mate 12:13 establishing wrongdoing 5:37 wrongdoing years in past 5:43-45 Congregation secretary qualiﬁcations 2:15 responsibilities 2:16; 4:12; 5:62 Congregation Service Committee correspondence requiring signature 2:13, 21; 3:11, 25, 27-28, 30 responsibilities 2:19, 21; 3:30; 4:15; 5:55; 12:6, 20-21 substitute signer in absence of member 2:21 when to consult body of elders 2:20 Coordinator of the body of elders chairing elders’ meetings 2:6-7 qualiﬁcations 2:11 responsibilities 2:12 temporary change 2:13-14 Counsel 4:7-11 Courting though not Scripturally free 5:10 Court (secular) accused threatens legal action 6:17-19 false statements in 5:22 plea bargain 5:37 taking brothers to 12:22-23 D Deletion announcement 3:26-27 corresponding with branch oﬃce 3:25, 27 procedure when considering 3:22-24 resignation 3:25 written record 3:29 Disassociation actions that indicate 9:3 announcement 9:4-5 deﬁnition 9:1 during a judicial hearing 9:2 no arrangement for appeal 9:5 reporting to branch oﬃce 9:5 written record 9:2-3 Disasters local 12:24 other areas 12:25 Disfellowshipped and disassociated ones annual review and visit 10:1 assistance 10:1-5 Congregation’s Publisher Record (S-21) cards 10:2 informational letter if they move 10:2 nonrelatives, associating with 5:10 personal literature 10:4 relatives, associating with 10:6 transportation to meetings 10:5 Disfellowshipping announcement 7:31-32; 8:12, 20 appeal (See “Appeal committee”) informing accused of decision 7:26-29 oﬀenses that merit 5:2-36 reporting to branch oﬃce 7:33 when to pray at hearing 7:1, 28 written record 7:34 Divorce announcing reproof if potential for divorce exists 7:20 publishers contemplating 4:20 Scriptural freedom (See “Marriage”) signing decree 12:14 Drugs (addictive) 5:15 Drunkenness 5:17-18 E Employment gambling 5:31 in false religious organization 5:16 in nonneutral organization 9:3 Elders appointed in only one congregation 3:32 concealed wrongdoing years in the past 3:19-21 maintaining peace 2:27-30 meetings 2:2-9 moving into congregation 3:32 Index 139 moving out of congregation 3:30-31 procedure when considering deletion of 3:23 qualiﬁcations 3:1-5 resignation 3:25 seeking direction from branch oﬃce 2:4 spirituality of household 3:5 when decision not unanimous 2:8-9 Evidence establishing wrongdoing 5:37-39 F Fits of anger, violence 5:35-36 Fraud 5:23-26 G Gluttony 5:19 Greed, gambling, extortion 5:30-33 Gross uncleanness 5:13-14 Group overseer qualiﬁcations 2:22 responsibilities 2:23; 4:12; 12:24 H Heavy petting 5:14 Holidays (false religious) 5:16 I Idolatry 5:16 Immoral conversations 5:14 Inactive publishers 4:12-17 Interfaith 5:16 J Judicial committee abuse victims 7:11 accused has not associated for many years 5:40-42 baptized minors 6:14 consulting with mature elder in another congregation 7:15 disbanding 7:4, 12 formed by which congregation 5:49-51 hearing witnesses 7:2-3 incarcerated ones 6:15 inviting the accused 6:6-10 legal action threatened 6:17-19 marriage mates 6:11-13 media coverage 6:18 mental problems 7:12 new wrongdoing after decision rendered 7:25 prayer at hearing 7:1, 18, 28; 11:2, 6, 11 preparing for hearing 6:3-5 reconsidering decision to reprove 7:24 repentance 7:6-16 selecting members, chairman 6:1-2 suicide threatened 6:16 wrongdoers in diﬀerent congregations 5:52 wrongdoing years in the past 5:43-45 Judicial oﬀenses apostasy 5:16 brazen conduct, loose conduct 5:9-12 drunkenness 5:17-18 evaluating seriousness of alleged wrongdo- ing 5:2 ﬁts of anger, violence 5:35-36 fraud, slander 5:23-27 gluttony 5:19 greed, gambling, extortion 5:30-33 gross uncleanness 5:13-14 lying 5:21-22 manslaughter 5:3 misuse of addictive drugs 5:15 obscene speech 5:29 por·neia 5:5-8, 11 refusal to provide materially for family 5:34 reviling 5:28 stealing, thievery 5:20 Judicial reproof announcement 7:20-21 before onlookers 7:18 new wrongdoing after decision rendered 7:25 reconsidering decision 7:24 restrictions 7:19, 22 140 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 talk given to congregation 7:23 whether to announce 7:20 L Letter of introduction accused child abuser moves 12:21 appointed brother moves 2:21; 3:30-31 known child abuser moves 12:20 publisher with judicial restrictions moves 7:22 responsibility of secretary 2:16 Lying 5:21-22 M Manslaughter 5:3 Marking 12:1-3 Marriage adulterous 12:15-17 assisting those with problems 4:18-20, 27 Scriptural freedom 12:5, 9-14 separation 3:9; 4:20 tacit approval of marriage to unbaptized person 3:18 Masturbation 5:6 Ministerial servants appointed in only one congregation 3:32 concealed wrongdoing years in the past 3:19-21 moving into congregation 3:32 moving out of congregation 3:30-31 procedure when considering deletion of 3:24 qualiﬁcations 3:1-5 questions for baptism 2:12 resignation 3:25 spirituality of household 3:5 training 2:23 Misuse of addictive drugs 5:15 Misuse of tobacco 5:14 N Neutrality 9:3 O Obscene speech 5:29 P Plea bargain 5:37 Por·neia 5:5-8, 11 Pornography showing to child 5:10 viewing abhorrent forms 5:14 Prayer at judicial and appeal hearings 7:1, 18, 28; 8:6, 17; 11:2, 6, 11 when discussion of body of elders fal- ters 2:1 Q Qualiﬁcations of elders and ministerial servants bankruptcy 3:17 concealed wrongdoing years in the past 3:19-21 disfellowshipped family member moves into home 3:16 member of household involved in wrong- doing 3:15 poor judgment 3:25 Scriptural guidelines 3:1-5 tacit approval of marriage to unbaptized person 3:18 R Rape considering claim 5:7 victim confronting accused 5:38 Recommendations appointed brother moving out of congre- gation 3:30-31 cautions before recommending certain brothers to branch oﬃce 3:6-10 occasions to submit to branch oﬃce 3:11 Records accusation against one who has not associ- ated for many years 5:41 accusation by only one witness 5:39 Index 141 accusation of child abuse 2:16 Congregation’s Publisher Record (S-21) cards 2:16; 10:2 deletion 3:29 disassociation 9:2-3 judicial 2:16; 7:17, 34 legal 2:16 wrongdoing of unbaptized publisher 5:62 Refusal to provide materially for fami- ly 5:34 Reinstatement announcement 11:13 Bible study with reinstated person 11:12 judging repentance 11:3-5 person attends another congregation 11:7- 10, 13 prayer at hearing 11:2, 6, 11 reporting to branch oﬃce 11:11 restrictions 11:12-13 who makes decision 11:1 Repentance committee is not unanimous 7:16 consulting with mature elder in another congregation 7:15 determining 7:6-16; 11:3-5 extenuating circumstances 7:11-12 if unclear 7:13-16 Reproof (See “Judicial reproof”) Restrictions following reinstatement 11:12-13 following reproof 7:19 unbaptized publishers 5:54, 57 Reviling 5:28 S Secretary (See “Congregation secre- tary”) Service committee (See “Congregation Service Committee”) Service overseer qualiﬁcations 2:17 responsibilities 2:18; 4:12, 15 Shepherding giving counsel 4:7-11 inactive 4:12-17 sisters 4:24, 27-28 those with marital problems 4:18-20 those with spiritual weakness 4:4-5 training ministerial servants 2:23 victims of abuse 4:21-26 visits 4:6 Slander 5:23-27 Spiritism 5:16 Spreading teachings contrary to Bible truth 5:16 Staying all night with a person of the opposite sex under improper circum- stances 5:11; 12:12 Stealing, thievery 5:20 Suicide attempted 5:4 threatened 6:16 T Theocratic Ministry School overseer 2:26 U Unbaptized publishers announcements 5:55, 57, 60 restrictions after wrongdoing 5:54, 57 written record of wrongdoing 5:62 wrongdoing of minor 5:61 Uncleanness, physical 5:14 W Warning talk when to give 5:10, 14; 12:1-3 Watchtower Study conductor qualiﬁcations 2:24 responsibilities 2:25 Weddings discourse 12:7-8 responsibilities of oﬃciating elder 12:4-5, 7-8 Scriptural freedom (See “Marriage”) use of Kingdom Hall 12:6 Witnesses (judicial) evaluating testimony 5:37; 7:2-3 present at appeal hearing if needed 8:7 separate incidents 5:37 142 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 al reproof announcement 7:20-21 before onlookers 7:18 new wrongdoing after decision rendered 7:25 reconsidering decision 7:24 restrictions 7:19, 22 140 “Shepherd the Flock of God”—1 Peter 5:2 talk given to congregation 7:23 whether to announce 7:20 L Letter of introduction accused child abuser moves 12:21 appointed brother moves 2:21; 3:30-31 known child abuser moves 12:20 publisher with judicial restrictions moves 7:22 responsibility of secretary 2:16 Lying 5:21-22 M Manslaughter 5:3 Marking 12:1-3 Marriage adulterous 12:15-17 assisting those with problems 4:18-20, 27 Scriptural freedom 12:5, 9-14 separation 3:9; 4:20 tacit approval of marriage to unbaptized person 3:18 Masturbation 5:6 Ministerial servants appointed in only one congregation 3:32 concealed wrongdoing years in the past 3:19-21 moving into congregation 3:32 moving out of congregation 3:30-31 procedure when considering deletion of 3:24 qualiﬁcations 3:1-5 questions for baptism 2:12 resignation 3:25 spirituality of household 3:5 training 2:23 Misuse of addictive drugs 5:15 Misuse of tobacco 5:14 N Neutrality 9:3 O Obscene speech 5:29 P Plea bargain 5:37 Por·neia 5:5-8, 11 Pornography showing to child 5:10 viewing abhorrent forms 5:14 Prayer at judicial and appeal hearings 7:1, 18, 28; 8:6, 17; 11:2, 6, 11 when discussion of body of elders fal- ters 2:1 Q Qualiﬁcations of elders and ministerial servants bankruptcy 3:17 concealed wrongdoing years in the past 3:19-21 disfellowshipped family member moves into home 3:16 member of household involved in wrong- doing 3:15 poor judgment 3:25 Scriptural guidelines 3:1-5 tacit approval of marriage to unbaptized person 3:18 R Rape considering claim 5:7 victim confronting accused 5:38 Recommendations appointed brother moving out of congre- gation 3:30-31 cautions before recommending certain brothers to branch oﬃce 3:6-10 occasions to submit to branch oﬃce 3:11 Records accusation against one who has not associ- ated for many years 5:41 accusation by only one witness 5:39 Index 141 accusation of child abuse 2:16 Congregation’s Publisher Record (S-21) cards 2:16; 10:2 deletion 3:29 disassociation 9:2-3 judicial 2:16; 7:17, 34 legal 2:16 wrongdoing of unbaptized publisher 5:62 Refusal to provide materially for fami- ly 5:34 Reinstatement announcement 11:13 Bible study with reinstated person 11:12 judging repentance 11:3-5 person attends another congregation 11:7- 10, 13 prayer at hearing 11:2, 6, 11 reporting to branch oﬃce 11:11 restrictions 11:12-13 who makes decision 11:1 Repentance committee is not unanimous 7:16 consulting with mature elder in another congregation 7:15 determining 7:6-16; 11:3-5 extenuating circumstances 7:11-12 if unclear 7:13-16 Reproof (See “Judicial reproof”) Restrictions following reinstatement 11:12-13 following reproof 7:19 unbaptized publishers 5:54, 57 Reviling 5:28 S Secretary (See “Congregation secre- tary”) Service committee (See “Congregation Service Committee”) Service overseer qualiﬁcations 2:17 responsibilities 2:18; 4:12, 15 Shepherding giving counsel 4:7-11 inactive 4:12-17 sisters 4:24, 27-28 those with marital problems 4:18-20 those with spiritual weakness 4:4-5 training ministeri