Meeting Attendance—A Serious Responsibility
1 How seriously do you take meeting attendance? That is a searching question, is it not? No doubt most of us feel that we appreciate the meetings. However, reports indicate that meeting attendance in many congregations has recently declined. What could be the cause? Are some of us allowing unnecessary secular work, tiredness, homework, a slight physical indisposition, or a little bad weather to interfere with our obligation to attend meetings regularly? (Deut. 31:12) Since this is a Scriptural requirement, every one of us should give prayerful consideration to the question, How seriously do I take meeting attendance?
2 Some of our brothers walk for hours along dusty roads and cross crocodile-infested rivers in order to attend meetings. In your own congregation, there may be faithful ones who are “never missing” despite severe health problems, physical disabilities, crushing work loads at their place of employment, or demanding assignments at school. (Luke 2:37) Why do they make the effort to attend? Because they know that they cannot meet the challenges of this pressure-filled world in their own strength. They must rely on the strength that God provides.—2 Cor. 12:9, 10.
3 Today we follow the pattern set by the early Christians, who met regularly to pray, share experiences, and study God’s Word. (Acts 4:23-30; 11:4-18; Col. 4:16) We receive instruction on Bible prophecy and doctrine, as well as on godly conduct and Christian morals, along with timely admonition on improving our lives now by careful application of Scriptural principles. (1 Tim. 4:8) In addition, we are reminded of our hope that one day there will be an end to problems and suffering. It is vital that this hope be kept alive.—Heb. 6:19.
4 How seriously does your family take meeting attendance? Is it as much a part of your schedule as mealtime or secular work? On meeting nights, do you find yourself debating whether to attend or not, or is regular association with your brothers not optional in your household? Many publishers remember the example of their dedicated parents when they were growing up. “One thing about Dad,” an elder fondly recalls, “was that he always made sure the family got to the meetings. If someone was sick, one of us would stay home with him, but the rest went to the meeting!”
5 In succeeding issues of Our Kingdom Ministry, we will discuss the value of each congregation meeting with a view to helping build appreciation for these spiritual provisions. If your meeting attendance could be more consistent, we are sure that the articles will help you to realize what you are missing. They will include helpful reminders for those who conduct the meetings, as well as suggestions all of us can apply when preparing for and participating in them. Why not sit down as a family and give prayerful consideration to your pattern of meeting attendance? Then make any necessary adjustments in your schedule. Regular meeting attendance is a vital part of our theocratic education and should be taken very seriously indeed.