Follow the Christ by Manifesting Dignity
1. How does this year’s convention theme relate to manifesting dignity?
1 The Bible describes the Universal Sovereign, Jehovah, as being clothed with dignity. (Ps. 104:1) Jesus always spoke and acted in a way that honored his Father and his Father’s provisions. (John 17:4) Each of us will have opportunities to imitate Jesus and bring glory to Jehovah during our upcoming “Follow the Christ!” District Conventions.
2. How does our preparation for being present at each session honor Jehovah?
2 Dignified Worship: We can honor Jehovah by arranging to be present for the spiritual feast that he has prepared for us. Have you spoken with your employer and arranged your affairs to attend each day of the convention, including Friday? Have you planned to arrive in sufficient time to locate seating and share in the opening song and prayer? Have you planned your noon meals so that you can eat at the convention site with your brothers? At the beginning of each session when the chairman kindly invites us to take our seats before the music starts, we should quickly end our conversations and be seated for the beginning of the program.
3. How does paying close attention to the program dignify our worship?
3 Paying close attention to the program also honors our heavenly Father. After observing a local district convention, a reporter wrote that onlookers would be impressed by “the exemplary behavior of those present, as they follow what is being said in respectful silence and with evident spiritual affinity.” He also commented on “the exceptional number of children . . . , all strangely well behaved or even busy consulting verses in the Holy Bible.” While the program is in session, it is not the time for needless talking, text messaging, eating, or roaming the corridors. Youths should be seated with their parents so that parents can help them to benefit from the program. (Deut. 31:12; Prov. 29:15) Such efforts show respect for others and appreciation for the vital spiritual food being served.
4. Why should we have a dignified appearance while at the convention?
4 Dignified Appearance: Many expressed appreciation for the reminders in last year’s district convention talk “Manifest Christian Dignity at All Times,” which emphasized that God’s servants should strive to manifest Christian dignity in their dress and grooming. This year we should again give this matter our serious attention. Our appearance reflects our feelings for Jehovah and for the privilege of being his Witnesses. We should always dress as those “professing to reverence God.”—1 Tim. 2:9, 10.
5. How can we maintain a dignified appearance during leisure time in the convention city?
5 Should we manifest a dignified appearance only when attending the program? Remember that many will observe us wearing our convention badges while in the convention city. Our appearance should make us stand out from the general public. Therefore, even during leisure time, such as when going out to eat after the program, we should dress as befits ministers who are in the city for the purpose of attending a Christian convention and should not wear such clothing as jeans, shorts, or T-shirts. What a witness this will give to the community! Jehovah is pleased when our appearance bespeaks our role as ministers.
6. What are the positive results of manifesting Christian dignity?
6 Satisfying Results: Manifesting Christian dignity at our conventions creates opportunities to witness informally and leaves observers with a favorable impression. At the end of one convention, an official remarked: “We have never seen such well-behaved people. You are the way God expects us to be.” Manifesting dignity shows respect and love for one another and glorifies Jehovah. (1 Pet. 2:12) It demonstrates our godly fear and our appreciation for the privilege of being instructed by our Father. (Heb. 12:28) May we strive to manifest dignity as we anticipate this year’s “Follow the Christ!” District Convention.
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District Convention Reminders
◼ Program Times: The program will begin at 9:20 a.m. all three days. The doors will open at 8:00 a.m. When the introductory Kingdom music begins, all of us should take our seats so that the program can begin in a dignified manner. The program will conclude at 5:05 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 4:10 p.m. on Sunday.
◼ Parking: At all convention sites where we have secured control of the parking facilities, the spaces will be made available at no charge on a first-come, first-served basis. Convention badge cards will serve as identification for parking. Only those disabled persons who have a state-approved disabled license plate or placard will be allowed to park in the area reserved for the disabled. Since parking space is usually limited, carpooling should be done to the extent possible.
◼ Seat Saving: Seats may be saved only for those traveling with you in the same vehicle or living with you in the same home.
◼ Noon Meal: Please bring a lunch rather than leave the convention site to obtain a meal during the noon break. A small cooler that can be placed under your seat may be used. Large family-size picnic coolers, glass containers, and alcoholic beverages are not permitted in the convention facility.
◼ Donations: Considerable expense is involved in arranging a district convention. We can show our appreciation by making voluntary contributions to the worldwide work at our Kingdom Hall or at the convention. Any checks contributed at the convention should be made payable to “Watch Tower.”
◼ Accidents and Emergencies: Emergency-response services have complained that they receive many cell-phone calls over minor matters. If a medical emergency arises at the convention site, please contact a nearby attendant, who will immediately notify First Aid so that our qualified first-aid personnel on-site can assess the seriousness of the situation and render assistance. If necessary, 911 will be called by our first-aid personnel on-site.
◼ Hearing Impaired: The program will be broadcast in the vicinity of the auditorium on an FM radio frequency. To make use of this provision, you will need to bring a small FM receiver along with earphones.
◼ Recording: Recorders of any type should not be connected to the facility’s electric or sound system and may be used only in a way that does not disturb others.
◼ Fragrances: Most conventions take place in enclosed areas where we depend on mechanical ventilation. Therefore, it would be a kindness for us to limit the use of strong fragrances, colognes, and perfumes that may cause reactions to those who suffer from respiratory or related problems.—1 Cor. 10:24.
◼ Follow-Up Forms: A Please Follow Up (S-43) form should be used to provide information regarding any who show interest as a result of our informal witnessing during the convention. Publishers should bring one or two follow-up forms to the convention. The forms will also be available at the convention Book Room Department. Completed forms may be submitted to the Book Room for handling or to your congregation secretary upon your return.—See the February 2005 Our Kingdom Ministry, p. 6.
◼ Restaurants: In many places, it is customary to leave a 15 to 20 percent tip, depending on the service.
◼ Hotels: (1) Please do not reserve more rooms than will actually be needed, and do not have more people stay in your room than what is allowed. (2) If you must cancel your reservation, notify the hotel immediately. (3) Take a luggage cart only when you are ready to use it, and return it immediately so that others may use it. (4) Do not cook in rooms where cooking is not permitted. (5) Leave a tip for the housekeeper each day. (6) As Christians, surely we will not abuse any complimentary breakfast, coffee, or ice provisions that are made available for guests to use while they are at the hotel. (7) Display the fruitage of the spirit in dealing with the hotel staff at all times. (8) The room rate shown on the Recommended Lodging List is the full price per day, excluding tax. If you are billed for any additional charges for anything you did not request or use, refuse these charges and inform the Rooming Department at the convention as soon as possible. (9) If a problem arises with your hotel room, be sure to inform the Rooming Department while at the convention.