Assisting Others Through the Congregation Book Study
1 Early Christians met in homes in order to worship Jehovah. (Rom. 16:3, 5; Philem. 1, 2) In many lands today, especially where our brothers work under difficulty, meetings are held in the homes of the brothers. Today, too, many Congregation Book Studies are held in the homes of the brothers and this arrangement continues to have Jehovah’s blessing.
2 Through the Congregation Book Study, elders can give more personal attention to each individual’s spiritual growth—something that may be difficult to do at larger meetings. The study conductor makes a special effort to become well acquainted with all in his group, shepherding them primarily and caring for their spiritual needs. (Prov. 27:23) He endeavors to work with them in the field service and at times to visit them in their home.
3 A study is generally located in the vicinity of those attending. For this reason it usually becomes a focal point for field service arrangements. This provides you with opportunities to work with different ones in your group and thus benefit from observing their approach at the door. Right after the book study is a good time to make arrangements to work together.
SHOW PERSONAL INTEREST
4 Do you find that there is a familylike atmosphere at your book study? When all show a personal interest in other members of the group it contributes to such feelings of closeness. (Gal. 6:10) For example, do you notice when some are not at the meeting and then let them know that they were missed? If a family member was missing from a meal it would surely not go unnoticed by others in the household. All would be concerned. Such a spirit in a book study group draws brothers closer together and encourages them not to miss a “meal.” When you take a personal interest in each one in the group you will be helping to engender this “family” spirit.
5 Can you think of additional ways to show personal interest in others? One thing you can do is to make a special effort to engage others in conversation at the meetings, not just greeting them. Some may tend to be shy but are looking for someone to talk with and would respond if approached. There are many other things that can be done. Your book study conductor may have some specific suggestions. Why not ask him?
6 How can you help when another member of your book study group seems to be discouraged or to have a problem? The counsel to “speak consolingly to the depressed souls” would surely be fitting. (1 Thess. 5:14) If someone is ill, how comforting it is when friends stop by to visit and offer assistance! Often just knowing someone else noticed and cares is all that is needed. The book study conductor, much like a parent, should especially be alert to notice signs of discouragement and to offer needed help.
HOW CAN YOU CONTRIBUTE?
7 There are other ways you can contribute to the book study arrangement. Your good example is one way. For instance, when you dress as you would to attend a meeting at the Kingdom Hall you show respect. You set a positive example for those who may have developed the habit of dressing casually. Do you make it a practice to be on time so as not to disturb the meeting?
8 It is clear that the study is more lively when all prepare well, perhaps underlining the answers and then commenting in their own words. Looking up cited scriptures in advance and then commenting on them can add much to the meeting. Some also find time to look up supporting material on important points and then they share this with the group. This is appreciated. All these things contribute toward making the Congregation Book Study spiritually refreshing and upbuilding to all in attendance.
9 Those who regularly attend the book study are convinced that it has Jehovah’s blessing. It is a place where one can get personal assistance and contribute to the spiritual refreshment of others. If you are not attending this meeting regularly, why not make the necessary adjustments in your schedule so that you can enjoy this excellent meeting that Jehovah and his organization have prepared for you.