Rejoicing and Praising God at Assemblies
From the early 1880’s the Bible Students saw that, in addition to local meetings, it would be beneficial for them to become acquainted with their fellow believers from other areas. So they began to arrange yearly conventions of Bible Students from all over the United States, and later also from Canada. These were periods of spiritual refreshment; for several days intensive Bible instruction was provided, and all enjoyed a delightful interchange of encouragement. Baptism of new believers became a regular feature at conventions. Conventions were also used to give a more extensive witness to the public.—Romans 1:11, 12.
Today Jehovah’s Witnesses enjoy regular assemblies. Usually about 18 to 25 congregations are grouped together in what are called circuits, which are visited, or served, by traveling overseers. Twice a year, assemblies are arranged where the congregations in a circuit, or part of that circuit, meet together on Saturday and/or Sunday.
Once a year, larger three- or four-day conventions, called district conventions, are arranged in each country, where thousands can be gathered together at one place. These conventions provide spiritual upbuilding for Jehovah’s Witnesses and others interested in their activities, and they also give a public witness.
The program for these assemblies and conventions is prepared by the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses and is based on the needs of the Witnesses worldwide. It consists of talks, discussions, and true-to-life presentations called demonstrations, presented by traveling overseers and qualified Witnesses from congregations. Various ones also relate experiences about how they are meeting the challenge of living as Christians in a godless world or what results they are having in the ministry. At district conventions there is an additional feature—live presentations in the form of Bible dramas or dramas in modern-day settings, depicting how Christians cope with problems they face today.
Pleasant fellowship can be enjoyed when meetings are not in session. All the work involved in operating these events is done by volunteers from among Jehovah’s Witnesses. The cost of the facilities and other expenses are covered by voluntary contributions. Admittance is free, and no collections are taken.
You can find out from the local congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses when and where these gatherings are scheduled in your area. Information will also be provided about any travel arrangements, as well as how to obtain rooming accommodations.
These assemblies and conventions help Jehovah’s Witnesses and all associating with them to see beyond their local congregation and to appreciate the whole association of their brothers in the world.—1 Peter 2:17.
• What benefits did the early Bible Students gain from their conventions?
• Describe the arrangement and program for circuit assemblies and district conventions.
[Pictures on page 18]
Bible drama at district convention, United States
International convention, Poland
International convention, Argentina
Circuit assembly, Japan
Delegates obtain Bible literature, Switzerland
Baptism at international convention, South Africa
Releasing new Bible publication, Canada
Convention delegates join in singing, Spain