Are You Prepared for a Spiritual Banquet?
1. What type of preparation is involved for a banquet?
1 A banquet requires much preparation. Food items have to be obtained, tastefully prepared, and then presented. The serving of the meal needs to be organized. In addition, the place where the meal will be eaten must be made ready. Guests must also prepare, especially if they will travel some distance to get there. Though much work is involved, enjoying a delicious, nourishing meal with friends and family makes it all worthwhile. Soon Jehovah’s Witnesses earth wide will come together in groups large and small to enjoy a much anticipated spiritual feast—the “Keep on the Watch!” District Convention. Much work has already gone into preparing the program and getting things ready. We have all been invited. In order to be in attendance and gain the most benefit, we too must prepare personally.—Prov. 21:5.
2. Being present for each course of our spiritual banquet requires what?
2 Get the Most Benefit: Have you finalized your plans so that you can be present at each course of this spiritual banquet? If necessary, speak with your employer to inform him that you will be attending all sessions of your convention, including the first day. Have you finalized arrangements for transportation and lodging? Elders should verify that the elderly and infirm as well as others who may need assistance have been cared for.—Jer. 23:4; Gal. 6:10.
3. Why should we not attend an international convention to which we were not invited?
3 Some areas will enjoy international conventions. Keep in mind that specific congregations and foreign delegates have been invited to these events. In making these arrangements, the branch office has carefully calculated how many to invite, considering the number of seats and hotel rooms available. Overcrowding may occur if publishers attend an international convention to which they have not been invited.
4. What reminders will help us to be ready for the start of the program each day?
4 Prepare to arrive at the convention early enough each day to find a seat before the program begins. Use a few minutes before the session begins to look over the printed program. This will help you to prepare your heart for the information to be presented. (Ezra 7:10) When the session chairman introduces a musical interlude, enjoy listening to it and then be ready to share in the opening song and prayer.
5. How may our family get the most benefit from the program?
5 If family members sit together during the convention, parents will be able to make sure that their children are listening closely to the program. (Deut. 31:12) All are encouraged to follow along in their Bible as scriptures are read. Taking brief notes may help you to pay close attention. Later, your notes will help you recall the main points of the talks. Resist the temptation to talk needlessly during the session or to leave your seat. If you have a cell phone, do not allow it to distract you or others during the program. After each day’s sessions, why not discuss with others what you appreciated from the program?
6. What is an outstanding aspect of our conventions, and how may we enjoy it to the full?
6 At the district convention, we have the opportunity to enjoy a unique bond with our brothers and sisters that is not experienced in the world. (Ps. 133:1-3; Mark 10:29, 30) Why not make it a point to introduce yourself to those sitting near you and converse with them during the lunch break? This is one of the advantages of bringing a light lunch and remaining at the convention facility rather than going outside to a restaurant. Make sure not to miss out on such an opportunity for an interchange of encouragement.—Rom. 1:11, 12.
7. What preparations should we make regarding the clothing we will wear?
7 Dress: It is noteworthy that Jehovah commanded the Israelites to make fringed edges on the skirts of their garments, with a blue string above the fringe. (Num. 15:37-41) This was a visual reminder that they were a people set apart to worship Jehovah. Today, our dignified, modest dress worn when at the convention sets us apart from the world. It serves as a powerful witness to onlookers even when we may go out to eat after the program. Therefore, give careful advance thought to the clothing you will wear.
8. How may we witness to others while at the convention city?
8 Give a Witness: With a little forethought, we may be able to witness to people while in the convention city. One brother who went to a restaurant with his wife after the program simply pointed to his convention badge and asked the waiter: “Have you seen many people wearing these badges?” The waiter said that he had noticed them and wondered what they were about. This led to a conversation, and the brother invited the waiter to the convention.
9. How can we demonstrate appreciation to our Host, Jehovah?
9 Though our brothers will present all the talks, interviews, and demonstrations, it is our heavenly Father, Jehovah, who is the loving Provider of this yearly spiritual banquet. (Isa. 65:13, 14) We demonstrate appreciation to our Host by being present each day and savoring every morsel of spiritual food that is served. Have you finalized your preparations to do so?
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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 music is announced, all of us should be at our seats so that the program can begin in a dignified manner. The program will conclude at 4:55 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. For international conventions, the program for Thursday will begin at 1:20 p.m. and conclude at 4:45 p.m.
◼ Parking: At all convention sites where we control the parking, the spaces will be made available to attendees at no charge on a first-come, first-served basis. Only 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 a seat may be used. Large family-size picnic coolers and glass containers are not permitted in the convention facility.
◼ Donations: We can show our appreciation for the convention arrangements 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 “Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
◼ Accidents and Emergencies: Emergency-response services 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 it is necessary, our first-aid personnel will call 911.
◼ Footwear: Each year a number of injuries occur that are related to footwear. It is best to choose modest, well-fitting shoes that will allow one to walk safely on stairs, gratings, and so forth.
◼ Hearing Impaired: The program will be broadcast in the auditorium on an FM radio frequency. To use this provision, you will need to bring a small battery-operated FM receiver with earphones.
◼ Recording: Recording devices should not be connected to the facility’s electric or sound system and may only be used in a way that does not disturb others.
◼ Baby Strollers and Lawn Chairs: Baby strollers and lawn chairs should not be brought to the convention site. However, child-safety seats that can be secured in a seat next to the parents are acceptable.
◼ Fragrances: Most conventions take place in enclosed areas with mechanical ventilation. Therefore, it would be a kindness for us to limit the use of strong fragrances, colognes, and perfumes that may cause reactions in persons with 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 interest from informal witnessing during the convention. Publishers should bring one or two follow-up forms to the convention. 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: Honor Jehovah’s name by your fine conduct at 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 you will actually use, 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) Do 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. They are caring for a large number of guests and appreciate our kindness, patience, and reasonableness. (8) The room rate shown on the Recommended Lodging List is the full price per day, excluding tax. If you are overcharged or billed for things 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.