1 Jehovah’s people enjoy getting together. This is true of small groups, as in a family, and of larger assemblies. The Bible encourages us to do this, with a view to inciting one another to Christian love and fine works.—Heb. 10:24, 25.
2 It is not only at congregation meetings that we enjoy being together. At times, two or more family groups get together to do Bible reading or to prepare for the weekly Watchtower study. On occasion, they may also arrange to spend time together, not primarily for Bible study, but for relaxation and recreation. This, too, can be upbuilding. But, of course, when you plan such a gathering, it is not wise to make it larger than you can adequately supervise.
3 Occasionally we hear that brothers or sisters have rented facilities for dancing, skating and other socializing by Witnesses. The Society has received a number of letters from brothers who are disturbed over what they observe or hear is taking place. Are such arrangements proper?
4 It is not the business of the Society or the elders in the congregations to make rulings as to what individuals may or may not do in arranging social gatherings, although loving counsel by the elders is certainly appropriate.
5 It definitely is proper for Christians to be hospitable. (Rom. 12:13) But when arranging to entertain others, the size of the gathering is a factor to consider. Experience has shown that there can be pitfalls and problems in connection with large social gatherings. The one who is the host has a serious responsibility. He is accountable for what takes place at a gathering that is under his jurisdiction. At a get-together in one’s own home it is not usually difficult to determine who will be present and what the activities will be. But problems along these lines may increase when there is a large group in a rented facility.
6 It is wise to know who you are welcoming as close associates. The disciple Jude wrote that there are some who, while professing to be fellow Christians, turn “the undeserved kindness of our God into an excuse for loose conduct.” He warned against fleshly-minded persons who, he said, were like “rocks hidden below water in your love feasts while they feast with you, . . . wild waves of the sea that foam up their own causes for shame.” (Jude 4, 12, 13) So it is good to be cautious.
7 Of course, it is not only what others may do that should be of concern to us. Our own conduct and any activities in which we might invite others to engage likewise deserve serious thought. At 1 Corinthians 10:31 the apostle Paul set out a principle that should guide us, saying: “Whether you are eating or drinking or doing anything else, do all things for God’s glory.” If we do this, there will be nothing about what we eat or drink or the way we do it that might stumble others. Our attire will be modest, as befits Christians. Our conversation will be wholesome—in sharp contrast with the foolish talking and obscene jesting of the world. And, if there is dancing, we certainly will not do it in a manner that might stimulate unclean desires. Are these things really true of your social activities?—Rom. 14:13, 21; 1 Tim. 2:9, 10; Eph. 5:3, 4.
8 As individuals, our needs as to recreation may vary. But is it wise to give it such prominence that one travels long distances, spending considerable money, in order to be in on every social event? And even of get-togethers that are close to home, if those who attend do not get home until late at night, how many will feel refreshed physically or stimulated spiritually for congregation meetings or field service the next morning?
9 There are times when congregations plan group travel for a tour of one of the Society’s branch offices, or to an assembly, perhaps with stops along the way for a picnic or for sight-seeing. But, as for activities that are purely recreational, the congregations usually find it best to leave arrangements for such things to individuals. And, since the times for meetings are set by the congregation as a whole, they do not lightly set these aside when certain ones in their midst express a desire to arrange for an outing.
10 Spending time for relaxation has its proper place and can provide enjoyment and benefit. But our principal concern is to strengthen our brothers spiritually and to accomplish fully the urgent work of preaching and making disciples. To this end we need to give serious thought to using our time wisely.