As some of you may or may not know, i’m sometimes involved in discipling and answering questions from those who have left or are in the process of leaving the Jehovah’s Witnesses. This is a humbling priviledge and something I am very happy to do. Just recently, however, i’ve learned of a great need that I couldn’t possibly accomplish on my own. That is, we need a network. We need a network of informed Christians who not only know their theology really well, but Jehovah’s Witness theology too.
Let me use a recent contact as an example. I was contacted by a gentlemen who had been disfellowshipped from the organization for various reasons. Obviously, this would include a relatively lengthy period of shunning. Even if he were to return in repentance, he didn’t feel that he would be welcomed, given a chance to really explain himself, and would have to undergo a period of time whereby he would be given a minimal amount of contact with the congregation. Obviously, I can’t verify everything that is going on and can only take him at his word.
But here’s the bottom line: he feels extremely condemend, has major doubts regarding some JW doctrine, desires to know the truth on what the Bible teaches, and wants a community of believers.
I’ve spent a number of hours with him on the phone and doing my best to answer his questions. But this really isn’t going to cut it. What he needs is an individual who can meet with him, disciple him, answer his questions, and get him plugged in with a local community of Christians. Unfortunately, I simply cannot provide this to him at this time.
I’m guessing that there are many more out there like him; JW’s who have been disfellowshipped or exited who want help. As many of us know, a lot of these ones end up abandoning anything spiritual or religious altogether. I don’t want that to happen if I can help it. These need to be treated with compassion and given truth in hopes that they will embrace the gospel.
Ideally, here is what I would propose unless such a thing exists already. A website that lists trusted contacts in all the major cities in the US (maybe even internationally too?). I would propose that each contact meet a set of qualifications. While I haven’t thought about the specifics yet, each contact would be capable of discipleship, know their theology well, belong to a local fellowship, hold to a particular statement of faith (not yet established), has experience with the JW’s, and knows JW theology well. This would simply be a list that is categorized by city where anyone could visit this website and find someone who is willing to sit down with them in public. Assuming I would qualify, I would be one such person in the Atlanta area.
I’m sure some would suggest that there are already such sites out there. I’ve seen many of these and found them to beneficial in some respects. But here are some of the shortcomings i’ve seen:
- It’s filled with Christians and non-Christians
- A lot of these are simply discussion forums
- It might be discouraging for someone who is desparate for help.
- Not everyone is vulnerable enough to post in a public forum.
- There’s no telling how good or bad the forum’s theology might be.
- It could do more harm than good. What if they found someone in a forum who is a very bitter ex-JW; or worse, an atheist who leads them away from Christ?
I’m sure I could think of more, but I am thinking of a place with a much more specific filter. Think about how beneficial this could be! Knowledgeable Christians all over the country who are readily available to help disciple ex-JW’s!
I would propose a URL that is very simple: http://www.jwhelp.org or something similar.
I’m very open to ideas. Who wants to help get this going? Either contact me directly using the contact tab at the top or leave your comments here.