The Path of a Need Greater

Need Greaters. Self supported and diligent, it takes determination and trust in Jehovah to fulfill this role successfully. In fact, in Bethel, they refer to Need Greaters as 'Self Supported Missionaries' (See below). Here are some common questions regarding need greating, and my feeble attempt at answering them. :D

What exactly IS a 'Need Greater'?
-A need greater is someone who serves where the need is greater. (Thus, Need Greater) This means serving specifically where there is a high need for kingdom publishers. This can be any language, any land. Japan has a high need for English speaking brothers, many congregations in English only having 15 publishers and a lot of territory! NY has a need for Chinese speaking brothers, as they also have a sizable Chinese population but relatively few Chinese speaking brothers. Alaska has a large territory and few brothers in many areas. Many areas in the U.S.A. have unassigned territory because of a lack of publishers. Fort Portal, Uganda, has 50,000 people in it, but only around 60 publishers! So as you might be able to see, there is NO shortage of need.

Doesn't Need Greating mean foreign assignments?
-Not necessarily. As said above, there are needs in our own home towns and cities. Close and far, the need for the good news to be spread is abundant, and as Jesus said, the harvest is great and the workers are few. Realistically speaking, not everyone can need great in another country. However, maybe different circumstances can be arranged to allow some to serve where the need is greater in their own city, state, country, etc etc. For instance, suppose a young couple lives in a congregation that has 150 publishers, 15 pioneers, 8 elders and 6 Ministerial servants. A town over, there is a congregation that has 25 publishers, 3 elders, and 1 Ministerial Servant. If that couple left to support that congregation and its field ministry, then they would be Need Greaters. It falls into each family's responsibility to look at their own circumstances/service to Jehovah and evaluate what they can or cannot do.

What if I get sent somewhere I don't want to go?
-Wait, what? No no no, Need Greating is different from a Missionary. You see, Missionaries are couples that are sent to Patterson, Bethel in NY to study and learn for 5 months. From there, they are assigned to countries with a particularly high need. But to get to that point, the couple has to willingly fill out a form and send it to the Branch, thereby hoping to be accepted. The Branch supports them by buying their ticket for their assigned country, providing housing, and so on. The missionaries are specifically assigned by Jehovah's earthly organization. Now, for the Need Greaters.
While I was serving in Bethel, the term 'Self Supported Missionary' came up. That means to be Need Greaters. The Organization does not support a Need Greater financially, nor does it actually assign them. The Need Greaters go of their own accord, where they choose. However, a Need Greater could ask a Circut Overseer or write the Branch through their congregations Service Committee (Ask your elders) and ask them where the need is great in their country, and thus get suggestions from the Branch. Even then, though, the Branch is not assigning them, but rather it is providing information. A fair warning, don't be one of those Need Greaters that are actually serving where the beach is greater. There is a difference between moving to where the need is greater, and serving where the need is greater. If you plan to Need Great, devote yourself to it fully. The brothers need whatever help can be given, and just think about it: Jehovah could use you to help fill that void! Is there really any better blessing?? Yes, but this is still really high up there. :D

Any Suggestions?
-Through my experiences, I must say this. Don't be afraid of failing, and don't let your heart scare you out of trying Need Greating. Of course, you have to be honest with your limitations as to what you can do physically, what you can adapt to, and what you are able to handle as regards stress, responsibility, finance, and so on. However, how are you ever going to find your limits if you never reach out to find them? And remember that Jehovah knows better than we do what we are capable of and what we would enjoy. If you ask the Branch, don't be afraid of their answer. If they say that they need you in Texas, and you are more of an Alaska fellow, just give it a try. After a few months, the worst thing that can happen is that you go home, and forever have a little Need Greating under your belt. There is a good chance, however, that you will learn to love it, even if it is the last thing you would ever had wanted to do. Trust me, this is coming from the last person to ever want to go to Bethel. I walked in dreading every thought of Bethel, and left absolutely in love with it. Jehovah knows what we want more than we do!

What did you do?
-Me? Well first I went to Bethel. I would recommend Bethel in a heartbeat, even if you would never want to have that type of life. To be honest, neither did I. I dont like super regimented daily life. Bethel was that. I dont like super strict rules. Bethel was that. I am the kind of guy to sprawl out on the grass and enjoy the sun on my face. You cant lay on the lawn at Bethel. However, I fell in such love with Bethel that I still have tears in my eyes thinking about it. It is not something that can be said with words, no matter who you are. Its something to live and experience. A new perspective will rock your life like nothing else.
After I got home, however, I started to get stagnate, so I desperately needed to continue reaching out or I was afraid of losing my zeal. The Field (As Bethelites call it. It refers to life outside of Bethel Service) has a strong tendency to drain you of zeal and of the 'nearness' feeling of the end of this system of things. It can make you fall into the 'everydaylife' syndrome. So to avoid falling back into that, I went to a Circuit Overseer that I personally really looked up to. He has been to Bethel like myself, and he was well aware of what it was like to leave, and to feel empty and hollow. So when I walked up to him, it seemed like he already knew what I was going to say. One question was all it took: "Brother Ratety, what can I do so I don't suffocate and lose my zeal?" He replied with a wicked smile that exuded confidence: "Have you ever thought of Africa?" At that moment, my mind was rocked, and my future forever changed, again. He gave me contacts of people all over the world. Bolivia, Uganda, Costa Rica, and I emailed all of them. Still, Uganda stood out the most, and Jehovah seemed to have poured more blessing and spirit on Uganda than anything else. So I chased that mouse down, cornered it, and held tight. Here I am.
The thing is, though, that I would have never wanted any of that if I had never gone to Bethel. Bethel Service changed me so thoroughly that I actually wanted to try these things. I never, ever, EVER would have wanted to do so before Bethel. As an insider to what it is like to be Trevor, trust me when I say that Trevor would NEVER try anything like this before. It looks like Jehovah knew just what it would take to get me going. I hate being outsmarted like that...

All in all, just give Jehovah a chance to prove that he knows what you want more than you do. I guarantee that you will be pleasantly shocked/rocked/locked.

Questions? Comments? (Or just leave a comment, lazy bums.)

~Trevor B