Our District Conventions—Powerful Testimony to the Truth
1. The seasonal festivals gave Israelites opportunity to reflect on and discuss what important spiritual truths?
1 Ancient Israelites gathered three times a year for seasonal festivals. Although only the males were required to attend, often entire families traveled to Jerusalem to enjoy these happy conventions. (Deut. 16:15, 16) Such events gave opportunity to reflect on and discuss important spiritual truths. What are some of these truths? One is that Jehovah is a generous, loving Provider. (Deut. 15:4, 5) Another is that he can be relied on for guidance and protection. (Deut. 32:9, 10) Israelites could also reflect on the fact that as a people for Jehovah’s name, they must properly reflect his righteousness. (Deut. 7:6, 11) Today our annual district conventions benefit us similarly.
2. How will the district convention program shed light on the truth?
2 The Program Shines Light on Truth: At our district conventions, we enjoy talks, dramas, demonstrations, and interviews that shine light on vital Bible truths. (John 17:17) Already, much work has gone into the upcoming convention. Jehovah’s organization is preparing a program that has been specifically designed to address the current needs of the worldwide field. (Matt. 24:45-47) Are you eager to see and hear what will be presented?
3. What must we do to benefit from the program?
3 Of course, we will get the most benefit if we are present and pay close attention all three days. If you have not already done so, talk to your employer about taking time off from work. Be sure to get sufficient rest each night so that you can be alert during the program. Many find that keeping their eyes focused on the speaker and taking brief notes helps them remain attentive. Do not allow your cell phone or pager to disturb you or others. Avoid talking, texting, eating, or drinking during the program.
4. How can parents help their children benefit during the convention?
4 In Sabbath years, when Israelite families congregated to hear the Law being read during the Festival of Booths, they had their “little ones” with them “in order that they may listen and in order that they may learn.” (Deut. 31:12) How encouraging it is to see families sitting together during the convention and the young ones staying awake and paying close attention! Each evening, why not consult your notes and discuss together points from the program that you especially enjoyed? “Foolishness is tied up with the heart of a boy,” so parents do well to supervise their children, including those in their teenage years, during the noon break and while at the hotel, rather than letting them be “on the loose.”—Prov. 22:15; 29:15.
5. How will our good conduct while at the hotel adorn the truth?
5 Our Good Conduct Adorns the Truth: Our good conduct while in the convention city adorns the truth. (Titus 2:10) Hotel personnel take note when a group follows hotel rules and demonstrates patience and graciousness with the staff. (Col. 4:6) When branch office representatives were negotiating with a hotel last year, the sales director told them: “We love to have your people come to our hotel because of the kind of people they are. They are so well-mannered and kind, and they always treat our staff and facility with such respect.”
6. How can we adorn the truth by the way we dress while in the convention city?
6 When we wear our convention badge, this not only serves to advertise the convention and enable other delegates to identify us but also gives a witness to onlookers. People in the convention city will observe that those wearing a convention badge are dressed neatly and modestly, not with the unkempt and provocative styles common in the world. (1 Tim. 2:9, 10) Therefore, we should give attention to our dress and grooming while in the convention city, including when we check in at the hotel. Arriving in shorts and a T-shirt would not reflect dignity. Even if the convention is at an open-air stadium, our clothing should be dignified. If we choose to change clothes after the program concludes and go to a restaurant, we should remember that we are still convention delegates and should not dress in an overly casual manner.
7. What is one way to enjoy our Christian unity during the convention?
7 At the seasonal festivals, the Israelites enjoyed upbuilding association with fellow worshippers from other parts of the nation and the world, and this promoted unity. (Acts 2:1, 5) During district conventions our unique Christian brotherhood is on full display. This pleasant aspect of our spiritual paradise often impresses observers. (Ps. 133:1) Rather than leaving the facility during lunch to purchase food, how much better it is to bring a light lunch with us and take advantage of the opportunities to meet and converse with brothers and sisters sitting nearby!
8. What reasons are there to volunteer to work if our circumstances permit?
8 Observers are often impressed by our well-organized and orderly conventions, especially when they learn that all the work is done by volunteers. Are you able to ‘offer yourself willingly’ to work at the convention? (Ps. 110:3) Entire families often volunteer to work as a way to train their children to give of themselves. If you are shy, working at the convention is a good way to meet other delegates. One sister remarked: “Except for my family and a handful of friends, I didn’t know many there. But when I helped with the cleaning, I met a lot of brothers and sisters. It was great fun!” Widening out our circle of friends by assisting at the convention will bring us much joy. (2 Cor. 6:12, 13) If you have never volunteered, ask the elders how you can qualify to assist.
9. How will we invite others to attend the convention?
9 Invite Others to Hear the Truth: Three weeks before the start of our convention, we will, as in previous years, participate in a campaign to invite others to attend. Congregations will want to cover as much of their territory as possible with the invitation. (See the box “How Will We Offer the Invitation?”) Any leftover invitations should be brought to the convention. These will be used by delegates to witness informally while in the convention city.
10. Relate experiences proving that our annual invitation campaign produces results.
10 Do people respond to this annual campaign? At one convention, an attendant helped a married couple find a seat. They told him that they received the invitation and “thought it looked interesting.” They drove over 200 miles [320 km] to attend! In another case, a sister going from house to house gave the invitation to a man who seemed curious about the convention. So she took time to discuss the invitation with him. A few days later while attending the convention, the sister saw the man and one of his friends at the convention, and they were carrying one of the new releases!
11. Why is attendance at our annual district conventions important?
11 The seasonal festivals were a loving provision from Jehovah to help the Israelites “serve him in faultlessness and in truth.” (Josh. 24:14) Similarly, our attendance at our yearly district conventions helps us to “go on walking in the truth” and is a vital part of our worship. (3 John 3) May Jehovah bless the efforts of all lovers of truth to attend and benefit to the full!
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Our good conduct while in the convention city adorns the truth
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Three weeks before the start of our convention, we will participate in a campaign to invite others to attend
[Box on pages 3-6]
2012 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 go to 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 3:40 p.m. on Sunday.
▪ Parking: At all convention sites where we control the parking, the spaces will be available to attendees at no charge on a first-come, first-served basis. Only those with a state-approved license plate or placard for the disabled will be allowed to park in the area reserved for them. Parking is usually limited, so carpooling should be done to the extent possible.
▪ Seat Saving: Seats may be saved only for those living in your home or traveling in your vehicle or for your current Bible students.—1 Cor. 13:5.
▪ 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 the convention. Any checks should be made payable to “Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses.” Beginning this year all conventions will accept debit/credit card donations in addition to cash and checks.
▪ Accidents and Emergencies: 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 can assess the seriousness of the situation and render assistance. If it is necessary, our first-aid personnel will call 911. This will prevent emergency-response services from receiving many cell-phone calls.
▪ Medication: If you require prescription medication, please be sure to bring an adequate supply with you, since none will be available at the convention. Diabetic syringes and needles must be disposed of properly as hazardous waste and not in trash receptacles at convention venues and hotels.
▪ 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 you to walk safely on ramps, stairs, gratings, and so forth.
▪ Hearing Impaired: The program will be broadcast in the auditorium on an FM radio frequency. To receive it, you will need to bring a small battery-operated FM receiver with earphones.
▪ Baby Strollers and Lawn Chairs: Baby strollers and lawn chairs should not be brought to the convention site. However, child-safety seats are acceptable if they can be secured in a seat next to the parents.
▪ Fragrances: Most conventions take place in enclosed areas with mechanical ventilation. Therefore, it would be loving on our part to limit the use of strong fragrances, colognes, and perfumes that may cause reactions in people with respiratory or related problems.—1 Cor. 10:24.
▪ Please Follow Up (S-43) Forms: A Please Follow Up form should be used to provide information regarding any interest found through informal witnessing during the convention. Publishers should bring one or two forms to the convention. Completed forms may be submitted to the Book Room or given to your congregation secretary on your return.—See the May 2011 Our Kingdom Ministry, page 3.
▪ Restaurants: Honor Jehovah’s name by your fine conduct at restaurants. Leave a tip if this is customary.
(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) Do not cancel your reservation except for an emergency situation, and notify the hotel as soon as it occurs.—Matt. 5:37.
(3) Please note that if you use a debit or credit card when registering at a hotel, it is standard practice for them to place a “hold” on enough funds in your account to cover your total room cost plus any possible damages or incidentals during your stay. You will not be able to use any of those funds until your account is settled within a few days after you depart.
(4) Take a luggage cart only when you are ready to use it, and return it immediately so that others may use it.
(5) Tip hotel workers when they carry your luggage, and leave a tip for the housekeeper each day.
(6) Cook only in rooms where cooking is permitted.
(7) Do not abuse any complimentary breakfast, coffee, or ice provisions that are made available for guests to consume while they are at the hotel.
(8) Display the fruitage of the spirit in dealing with the hotel staff. They are caring for a large number of guests and appreciate our kindness, patience, and reasonableness.
(9) Parents should supervise their children at all times around the hotel, including the swimming pool, lobby area, exercise room, and so forth.
(10) The room rate shown on the Recommended Lodging List is the full price per day, excluding tax. If you are overcharged, refuse these charges and inform the Rooming Department at the convention as soon as possible.
(11) If a problem arises with your hotel room, inform the Rooming Department while at the convention so they can assist you.
▪ Volunteer Service: Any who wish to volunteer should report to the Volunteer Service Department at the convention. Children under 16 years of age can work under the direction of a parent or guardian or other adult approved by a parent or guardian.
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How Will We Offer the Invitation?
In order to cover our territory, we may need to be brief. We might say something like this: “Hello. We are sharing in a global effort to distribute this invitation. Here is your copy. You will find more details on the invitation.” Be enthusiastic. When sharing in the distribution on the weekends, you should also offer the magazines when appropriate.