Part III—Congregation Meetings: How the Theocratic School Is Benefiting Us
1 “I never thought I could do it. Yet here it is 20 years later and I’m still having a share in it thanks to the training I received in the Theocratic School!” A share in what? The publisher quoted here was referring to the fine training and experience he received that enabled him to share successfully in the field activity. Indeed, many have expressed heartfelt appreciation for the benefits they received from participating in the Theocratic School. Those who attend and share regularly in the school program find that their comments at meetings are greatly improved, and their participation in the field service is far more effective. It has enabled both brothers and sisters to be able to ‘handle the word of truth aright.’—2 Tim. 2:15.
2 Clearly, the Theocratic School is one of Jehovah’s generous provisions that he has made available through his organization to assist all of his people in becoming better qualified to proclaim the good news. However, in order to benefit fully from the progressive training the school offers, we should not view it as merely a 45-minute weekly meeting. If we all desire to get the most from the school, we will want to follow through on the suggestion to prepare in advance through home study. This includes Bible reading and necessary research so that we may constantly widen and ever deepen our knowledge and understanding of God’s purposes. (Rom. 11:33) In this connection, an examination of the features of the current school program should enable each one of us to reevaluate the benefits and move us to take full advantage of them.
3 Those brothers giving assignment No. 1 have a fine opportunity to demonstrate the “art of teaching.” (2 Tim. 4:2) How can this best be accomplished? By isolating important points, illustrating them and making practical application of the material to local needs.
4 Our Bible reading program and the highlights from the Bible reading are very important features of the school. It is the responsibility of the school overseer, or of another qualified elder assigned by him, to give a brief, overall view of the assigned chapters and help the audience to appreciate why and how the information is of value to the brothers. It will require more preparation on his part so as to make this practical. To the extent possible, some in the audience may be called on for comments that they have on points they learned from the Bible reading for that week. Are you personally benefiting by keeping up with the schedule of Bible reading each week? One aid in preparing our assignment is to look for scriptures that build appreciation, strengthen our families in some needed quality, or help us draw a lesson from examples in the narrative.—1 Tim. 4:13; Ps. 1:1, 2.
5 Talk No. 2 is a Bible reading that benefits all, and especially our new and younger brothers. It has helped them make advancement in their public reading ability. Due to the training in the Theocratic School, many of our school-age youngsters have made remarkable advancement in their public school classes both in language as well as in speaking ability.—1 Tim. 4:15, 16.
6 Talk No. 3 is to be given by our sisters. This assignment includes younger ones, whenever possible, and an assistant will be scheduled by the school overseer. Additional sisters may be used if desired to make various settings practical. Situations arising at home, in the field service, in the congregation and elsewhere may be used to make this portion practical, realistic and instructive for all present. Of course, the prime consideration should be directed to the material rather than the setting.
7 Talk No. 4 is to be given preferably by male students. This talk, presented to the entire audience, is based on various Watchtower and Awake! articles. The material should be truly informative and beneficial, aiding listeners to “make sure of all things; hold fast to what is fine.”—1 Thess. 5:21.
8 A most helpful feature of the school will be the counsel given from the platform after each talk. This will help students to appreciate the points to work on for improvement. All can actually benefit from this provision by applying certain principles to their own efforts in speaking the truth and making disciples. (Phil. 3:16) Do we not always look to Jehovah for counsel? As the psalmist wrote: “With your counsel you will lead me.” (Ps. 73:24) By appreciating the counsel from the school overseer, which is offered in a kindly, encouraging way, students will continue to make advancement in their speaking ability. Therefore, those enrolled in the Theocratic School should realize that such counsel, and the spirit in which it is given, are governed by the fine principles of the Bible.—Prov. 19:20; 2 Cor. 3:5.
9 Our being in attendance regularly each week will help us grow in appreciation for this provision of spiritual education. When assigned talks, all students need to be dependable, fulfilling their assignments, so that it will not become necessary for the school overseer frequently to call for someone to substitute.
10 Jehovah makes provision for his people to speak the truth clearly and understandably. In conversations with our families, our friends, at work and in the field activity, let us express ourselves in a way that will motivate others to fear God and keep his commandments. (Eccl. 12:9-14) To this end, we cannot afford to miss out on the benefits of the Theocratic School.