A few months ago during the elders' meeting with the C.O. I could not help but express myself to him when the subject of meeting attendance came up. Now this is a nice guy as far as C.O.'s go. He's young and all pumped up with Brooklyn sunshine but I believe that he's sincerely trying to help where he can. I raised my hand and this is what I told him in front of the group:
Sometime ago we had a ks (school for elders and m.servants) that was totally devoted to Improving the Quality of Our Meetings . Now I can't imagine anyone arguing against improving the quality of our meetings. BUT the information was presented in such a way (all through the program) as to make it perfectly clear to all of us present that the reason meeting attendance was dropping off was due to the poor quality of our meetings. Not 'the information' mind you, just how it was presented to the congregation. Now I'm wondering why the same amount of consideration given to the presentation had not been given to the information. We were told, in essence, that the reason for the drop in attendance was our fault. Now just in case we didn't 'get' it, we had a followup to the school shortly thereafter and spent another entire day talking about the same thing.
Now mind you, no comments or suggestions were solicited from the elders who deal with their respective congregations on a daily basis. The only questions that were asked were leading questions like we ask our Bible Studies, something for which we already have an answer and, I might add like the questions asked of the elders at these elders' meetings.
When I was a young man we drove twenty miles to the nearest kingdom hall twice a week. No easy feat when you consider that although gasoline was less than fifty cents a gallon, my father only made twenty five dollars a week working from dark to dark in a filling station, six days a week. Anyway, we went. At that time we met in a small, rented hall near the railroad track (on the 'wrong' side of town) and sat in metal folding chairs. We listened to men who could barely sign their name and some who could not even read beyond the first grade level. The quality of the meetings by today's standards was deplorable but we went every week!. Why? Why did we go then and we felt so good about it and today we don't want to go?
THATwas what should have been addressed at that ks school. THAT is the issue that we need to address today. You see, I know what the problem is. It's not how fluent the speaker on the platform is, or how nicely decorated our halls are, or how well-rehearsed the demonstrations are. That has NOTHINGto do with meeting attendance.
"Do you know what the problem is?" I asked him and he didn't say a word. "Faith. We don't have it anymore. We don't believe anymore. Bring that back and you can forget about all those meeting parts threatening our people with destruction at armageddon for not attending meetings. Give them back their faith and they will fill our kingdom halls to overflowing. They'll be out in service every day. Until and unless we do this, nothing will improve."
Then I asked him because I could see that he was really listening. "When was the last time you cried at a meeting? How long has it been since you heard a talk that really moved you, one that wanted to make you go out and shout to the world about the goodness of God and Christ?"
He put his head down for a few seconds. He resumed the meeting but that Sunday, out in service, he told me that he appreciated what I had said and I could see that he was thinking about it. Those are my feelings on the matter.
What about all of you here? What do you think has happened to us? Can what's left be salvaged? If not, then where do we go?
Edited by - Frenchy on 29 May 2000 8:12:23
Edited by - Frenchy on 29 May 2000 8:14:19