1985 “Integrity Keepers” Convention
As the present satanic system of things deteriorates, the integrity of Christ’s true followers will continue to be tested. Satan has tried repeatedly to break the integrity of Jehovah’s servants by various means, both subtle and direct. Men like Job and David kept their integrity, and Jehovah has seen to it that a record of their faithfulness has been preserved for our encouragement. (1 Ki. 9:4; Job 27:5; Rom. 15:4) As with those faithful men of old, Jehovah freely provides his holy spirit to those who are integrity keepers today.
The 1985 “Integrity Keepers” Convention will provide helpful information about what we must do in order to stand firm. Integrity calls for uncompromising loyalty to Jehovah’s righteous laws and principles at all times, not just when conditions are favorable. It requires deep faith in Jehovah and trust in his provision of holy spirit. Now we are looking forward to the district convention where we will receive encouragement and instruction that will help us to keep on walking in integrity.—Ps. 26:1, 11.
ATTEND ALL FOUR DAYS: Have you made plans to be in attendance all four days? From the opening session on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. until the concluding prayer on Sunday afternoon, important information vital for our spiritual health will be presented. Do not miss even one session, although this may require you to make some personal sacrifices. If you put forth genuine effort to be there, making whatever adjustments are necessary, Jehovah will certainly bless you.
We encourage you to arrive early each day and to be in your place before the sessions begin. This will give you an opportunity to enjoy Christian fellowship with your brothers and sisters from other places. It will also allow you to join in praising Jehovah with song and to share in the opening prayer. Those sitting around you will certainly appreciate that you have not distracted their attention from the program by arriving late. Christian love and consideration along with respect for Jehovah and the spiritual things he is providing should motivate us to do our best to arrive on time.
You have already been given information about the convention your congregation is assigned to attend. Information has also been sent regarding rooming accommodations and other arrangements for your convention. Considerable planning and work have been done to see that sufficient seating, literature, food, and other provisions are available for everyone. It is understandable that circumstances may prevent some from attending where they are assigned. For instance, there may be a need to assist relatives living in another area. However, wherever possible, your cooperation in attending the convention to which your congregation is assigned will help to make a success of the convention arrangement and to avoid overcrowding.
LISTEN AND LEARN: Jesus counseled his followers, “Pay attention to how you listen.” (Luke 8:18) He recognized that only by applying what we learn can we make progress in improving the quality of our service to Jehovah. Each year the district convention program is specially designed for the needs of God’s people. If we listen carefully to the instruction that is given on the convention program, we not only will be encouraged and built up spiritually but also will be receiving the current direction from Jehovah provided through his “faithful and discreet slave.” (Matthew 24:45-47) This is necessary if we are to keep ourselves strong spiritually and in line with theocratic procedure.
What are some things you can do in order to pay close attention to the program? One very important thing is to get a good night’s sleep each night so that you feel refreshed in the morning and can stay alert throughout the day. If we keep in mind that our main purpose for being in the convention city is to attend and benefit from the convention program, it will help us to be balanced as to how we use our evenings.
Another way to keep alert and benefit fully from the program is by taking brief notes. This has proved to be a valuable aid in absorbing what is said from the platform. If, as you listen to the talks, you look for the main points and write them down, it will help you to imbed these ideas in your mind so that they can be recalled. Some have found it helpful to construct their notes in an outline fashion, writing down the main points and listing supporting arguments under these main points. Keep in mind that following the district convention, there will be a review of the program on a Service Meeting in your local congregation. While taking notes, mark things that you would like to comment on during that review.
Another aid in retaining more of the information presented is reviewing the program at the end of each day. Discuss with your family or others each of the program parts. This will more firmly impress the main points on your mind. (Information on page 12 of the August 22, 1984, issue of Awake! can be helpful in recalling information presented at the convention.)
Taking notes may be more difficult for younger ones, but they can be encouraged to look up each scripture that is cited and perhaps even make a note of each scripture used. Before the session starts, parents could go over the program for that session with the young ones so they will know what subjects will be discussed. When young ones know they will be included in the review of the program and be asked what they learned that day, they will often listen more closely to what is said during the program.
CHRISTIAN CONDUCT: Jehovah’s people are known throughout the world for their good conduct. Following the 1984 district conventions, we received some very fine comments regarding the conduct of our brothers. Hotel and motel owners made such remarks as: “We really enjoyed your people. The children are so well behaved.” “They are beautiful people.” “Every year is fine. No problems.” Comments like these do not surprise us, since ‘having love among themselves’ and ‘loving their neighbors as themselves’ are identifying marks of true Christians.—John 13:35; Matt. 22:39.
However, there is still a need for improvement in this area. We have received other comments indicating that there is still a problem with some being careless about their conduct while staying in hotels and motels. Most hotels and motels have rules and regulations that visitors are expected to follow. Some of these rules have to do with cooking or eating in the room, noise levels, and the use of swimming pools. Would it not be proper to observe those rules? Surely this would show that one is “ready to obey.”—Jas. 3:17.
The conduct of some young ones at the convention site as well as in hotels and motels has been a matter of concern. Experience has shown that most problems arising from misbehaving young ones at hotels and motels have been due to a lack of supervision on the part of their parents or adult guardians. Jehovah’s Witnesses bring their children to conventions for them to be “taught by Jehovah” and so that they may ‘know the holy writings from infancy.’ (Isa. 54:13; 2 Tim. 3:15) This purpose can be accomplished only when young ones are sitting in their seats and listening to the program. Families should sit together during the program, rather than allow their youths to sit in groups with other young people. When young ones are volunteer workers at the convention, parents should make arrangements for them to be off work during the program in order to listen and to learn.
It has also been reported that some individuals, although seated in the audience, carry on conversations or cause other distractions, rather than listen attentively to the program. Respect for Jehovah’s table and consideration for our brothers should move us to use good judgment in these areas. No one should be roaming through the corridors or visiting with others during the program.—Ps. 34:11; Eccl. 3:1, 7b.
Another area that needs attention by some is that of dress and grooming. When attending conventions, we come together to praise Jehovah at his “house” and we should dress accordingly. Our dress and grooming should conform to the high standard set out for ministers of God and not be influenced by the fact that the convention site is a sports arena or other such facility. For further information regarding dress and grooming, please see paragraphs 1 and 2 along with cited scriptures on page 131 of Organized to Accomplish Our Ministry.
SAVING SEATS: Despite repeated counsel given on the subject in the past, there is a continuing problem with the saving of seats. Reports received from the field state that when the convention facility opens, many are waiting at the doors to rush in and save the best seats in preferred locations, not only for their family but also for their friends and relatives who often never show up. Thus, many of the preferred seats saved are never used.
Seats have been saved with all manner of items, such as clothing, pieces of paper, handbills, magazines, chains, tape, and rope. What has been your response to the counsel in past issues of Our Kingdom Ministry regarding the saving of seats? (Heb. 13:17) Are you one who has cooperated with the direction given, and have you cooperated with the attendants as they have endeavored to supervise this matter? Letters have been received from some interested persons stating that they went to the convention but were not able to find seats. Why? Because so many seats were being saved with something on them. So they returned home, although in reality there were more than enough seats for those in attendance.
Due to these and other factors it appears that a change is in order. Therefore, the guidelines regarding the saving of seats in the future are that SEATS MAY BE SAVED ONLY FOR YOUR IMMEDIATE FAMILY MEMBERS AND ANY WHO MAY BE TRAVELING WITH YOU IN YOUR OWN CAR GROUP. If you wish to sit with others during the convention, you can meet them at the convention site and select your seats together at the same time. Please do not leave any articles in seats around you; otherwise those looking for seats will conclude that they are already taken. Since the attendants will be instructed accordingly, please cooperate with them as they lovingly endeavor to supervise this matter for the benefit of all in attendance. Humbly submitting to this theocratic arrangement will ensure, in most cases, that there will be plenty of seats at each location and that they will be relatively easy to find. You will be following the “golden rule” and showing that you are truly ‘faithful in little things’. (Matt. 7:12; Luke 16:10; compare 1 Corinthians 13:5.) In this connection it is recommended that you take the time to review with your family and friends the fine material regarding the saving of seats, as well as other counsel on our personal conduct at district conventions, that appeared in the insert of the May Our Kingdom Ministry for the years 1980 through 1984.
BABY STROLLERS: Please keep in mind that in many states, baby strollers may not be used in places of public assembly. Fire regulations prohibit parking them in corridors, aisles, or between rows of seats. Since larger crowds may cause congested conditions, baby strollers are potentially dangerous not only to the baby but also to any who may stumble over them. However, car or infant seats are permissible, since these can be secured in seats next to the parents. Your cooperation in this matter will be appreciated.
FIELD SERVICE ARRANGEMENTS: Sharing in field service is a very important part of our worship. Do not miss this opportunity to add to your enjoyment of the convention by sharing the good news with others. On Friday the program is scheduled to conclude at 3:00 p.m. Be sure to make your arrangements for territory before the Friday afternoon session begins. It would also be helpful for the group captain to get directions to the territory when the assignment is obtained so that time is not lost unnecessarily on Friday afternoon. Please bring from your congregation a supply of current magazines for use in field service at the convention.
VOLUNTEER SERVICE: Conventions require work, and many volunteer workers are needed. Your congregation’s convention coordinator will receive information listing departments in need of volunteers, and he will make this known to the congregation. You can arrange through him to do volunteer work. Children under 16 years of age who work must do so with a parent or another adult at all times. We encourage parents and their children to volunteer and work together if possible.
During the convention there may be a need for additional volunteers. You may assist by going to the Volunteer Service desk upon your arrival at the convention. The brothers there will inform you of the help that is needed. Your willing service will be appreciated very much and will contribute toward the successful operation of the convention.—Acts 20:35.
FOOD NEEDS: Special arrangements are being made to care for our physical needs. Provisions for food and drink will be similar to what has been available at district conventions in recent years. The efforts of those who work hard in serving us are truly appreciated.
Convention tickets will be available at the cost of $1.00 per sheet of ten. It is suggested that you purchase these in advance through your congregation. Purchase enough tickets to supply your family’s food needs for the first two or three days of the convention.
What a privilege it will be to attend the 1985 “Integrity Keepers” Convention! The program will fortify us to continue faithfully serving our God, Jehovah, despite the continued attacks of Satan. You will want to make every effort to be among the thousands who will attend each day. May we declare as did David, “Judge me, O Jehovah, for I myself have walked in my own integrity,” and “as for me, in my integrity I shall walk.”—Ps. 26:1, 11.
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District Convention Reminders
ROOMING: Your cooperation in using the listing of accommodations provided by the convention in selecting your rooms is very much appreciated. If you have not already made a reservation and forwarded a deposit, it is necessary to do so immediately if you are planning to stay overnight in the convention city. Congregation convention coordinators should be sure that Special Needs Room Request Forms have been promptly forwarded to the appropriate convention address. If you find it necessary to cancel your accommodations selected from the listing, you should write or phone the hotel/motel directly, doing so as far in advance as possible. If you must cancel an accommodation made through the special needs arrangement, you should notify both the landlord or hotel/motel and the convention Rooming Department so that the room may be reassigned.
The convention Rooming Department will provide, upon your request, available information on any commercial trailer or camping facilities in the convention area. Please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope with your request.
BAPTISM: At most locations the talk for baptismal candidates will be on Saturday morning. Those who plan to symbolize their dedication by water baptism should have reviewed the questions with elders in their congregation prior to the convention. A modest bathing suit and a towel should be brought by each one who arranges to be baptized.
PROGRAM TIMES: It is the course of wisdom and shows appreciation to be in our seats when the program begins. That will be 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, 9:20 a.m. on Friday, and 9:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday at most conventions. The same fine qualities are displayed when we do not plan to leave before the sessions conclude. The closing song and prayer will be at 5:10 p.m. on Thursday. Friday afternoon will be set aside for a special effort in field service, following the closing song and prayer at 3:00 p.m. On Saturday the closing song and prayer will be at 5:00 p.m. and on Sunday at 4:00 p.m.
BETHEL AND GILEAD MEETINGS: A meeting will be held on Friday for pioneers between the ages of 20 and 40 who are interested in attending Gilead School to receive training for missionary service. There will be a meeting on Saturday for any dedicated publishers between 19 and 35 years of age who are U.S. residents and who would like to enter Bethel service. Check the program at the convention city for the exact times and locations of these meetings.
PIONEER IDENTIFICATION: All regular and special pioneers as well as traveling overseers will need to bring their Watchtower Identification and Assignment card (S-202) to the convention. Those on the list for six months at the time of the district convention they attend may receive $15 worth of convention tickets upon presentation of their Watchtower ID card at that one convention only. Treat the card as carefully as cash. It cannot be replaced at the convention. Any gift releases or other literature at pioneer rates will be available to pioneers at the bookroom only, upon showing their Watchtower ID card. Those in Bethel service may obtain these same provisions by showing their Bethel ID card.
LAPEL CARDS: These cards are provided as a means of advertising the convention as well as to facilitate identifying our brothers and sisters in attendance. To this end, please wear the specially designed lapel card at the convention and also while traveling to and from the convention site. Not only is the card a fine means of identification but it so often results in giving a fine witness while traveling. You should obtain these through your congregation as they will not be available at the conventions. The lapel cards are 2 cents each and the plastic holders are 10 cents each. (Lapel cards have already been consigned to each congregation by the Society, but the plastic holders must be ordered by the congregation.)
A WORD OF CAUTION: Regardless of where you park, you should lock your vehicle at all times and never leave anything visible inside. Keep your belongings locked inside the trunk, if possible. Also, guard against thieves and pickpockets who are attracted by large gatherings. This includes not leaving anything of value unattended on seats at the conventions. Additionally, it has been reported that there is a greater risk of falls on stairs and ramps when sisters wear high-heeled shoes.