New Congregation Meeting Schedule
1, 2. What changes to the meetings will take place beginning in January 2009?
1 During the week of April 21-27, 2008, the worldwide brotherhood heard an exciting announcement. “Commencing January 1, 2009, the Congregation Book Study will be held at the same time as the Theocratic Ministry School and the Service Meeting. The name of the Congregation Book Study will be changed to Congregation Bible Study.”
2 Schedule for This Weekly Meeting: The total time for this meeting, including the songs and prayers, will be 1 hour and 45 minutes. The meeting will begin with song and prayer (5 min.), followed by the Congregation Bible Study (25 min.). The Theocratic Ministry School (30 min.) will follow directly thereafter. Then, a song (5 min.) introduces the Service Meeting (35 min.). The meeting concludes with song and prayer (5 min.). To assist you in preparing for these meetings, the schedule for the Congregation Bible Study, the Theocratic Ministry School, and the Service Meeting will be published month by month in Our Kingdom Ministry.
3. How will the Congregation Bible Study be conducted?
3 Congregation Bible Study: This meeting will be patterned after the Watchtower Study. There will be no need to begin with a review of the previous week’s material. Rather, the meeting should have only a very brief introduction. This will allow sufficient time for all present to give brief comments. The presiding overseer will supervise the assigning of elders to take turns conducting this meeting, a different elder each week.
4. To what extent will the Service Meeting change?
4 Service Meeting: The Service Meeting will remain the same but with shorter parts. Announcements will usually take five minutes. This should be sufficient time for essential announcements and certain letters from the branch. Such announcements as field service arrangements, cleaning schedules, accounts reports, and routine letters from the branch office do not need to be read from the platform but will be posted on the information board for the brothers to read. Those with assigned program parts should prepare well and adhere closely to the time allotted and to the instructions provided.
5. During the week of the circuit overseer’s visit, what will be the congregation meeting schedule?
5 Circuit Overseer’s Visit: The circuit overseer’s weekly schedule will not be adjusted. On Tuesday the Theocratic Ministry School and Service Meeting will be held followed by a song. Then the circuit overseer will give a 30-minute talk. As is currently done during the week of his visit, another evening will be designated for the Congregation Bible Study followed by a song and the circuit overseer’s service talk. The meeting will close with a song and prayer.
6. What is the role of the group overseer?
6 Meetings for Field Service: Group overseers will be assigned by the body of elders to care for field service groups and shepherd the individuals making up the group. When a ministerial servant is needed to fill that role, he should be designated as the “group servant.”
7. What can we anticipate with our new congregation meeting schedule?
7 As outlined, we will have the opportunity to enjoy an instructive, upbuilding evening of spiritual banqueting. This will enable us to be effective preachers and teachers, trained for a more fruitful ministry.—Eph. 4:13, 14; 2 Tim. 3:17.
8. How will advance individual preparation benefit us as well as others?
8 Studying in advance for these meetings will help us focus clearly on the main points highlighted during each meeting. We will all have opportunity to share in commenting, contributing to a fine interchange of encouragement. (Rom. 1:11, 12; Heb. 10:24) Our aim should be to ‘make our advancement manifest’ by “handling the word of the truth aright.”—1 Tim. 4:15; 2 Tim. 2:15.
9. What is our resolve, and why?
9 We rejoice in this significant change of our congregation meetings. May we all keep on availing ourselves of the guidance that “the faithful and discreet slave” provides and stay close to our Great Shepherd as he prepares us for the great “tribulation” now on the horizon.—Matt. 24:21, 45; Heb. 13:20, 21; Rev. 7:14.