Jehovah's Witnesses Convention - file

In this file photo from August 2017, over 2,800 people pack into the Forum River Center for the second day of the three-day Jehovah's Witnesses Convention. (Spencer Lahr /

The three-day event starts Friday morning and runs through Sunday evening at the Forum River Center.

This year's theme is "Be Courageous" and anyone who's interested is welcome to join in, spokesman DeVon Michels said Tuesday.

"The world is a mess. We're all agreed with that. But whether it's kids, adults who work, people affected by age or health — the Bible can give us courage to withstand those pressures," Michels said.

"That's what we're going to do: Go to the Bible to see how it can bring us comfort."

Programs start at 9:30 a.m. after a short music video presentation  and a prayer. They'll break for lunch and then return for more talks and videos from about 1:30 to 5 p.m.

Friday's symposium is based on Joshua 1:17, "Be courageous and very strong." Saturday's talks focus on how to speak God's word fearlessly and Sunday looks to the future, according to the agenda every regional conference will be following.

Michels said a wide variety of topics are addressed in a series of short segments that are designed to get people thinking about how they live.

"There might be a talk for youth that's 15 minutes long and a video showing how they can deal with peer pressure. Another talk about when young people get married looks at how they can handle their relationship better," he explained.

"It's all about how to be courageous using the Bible as your guide."

The convention will reconvene for two more weekends this summer — July 27 through 29 and Aug. 31 through Sept. 2. The final gathering will be in Spanish.

Michels said the programs are geared toward family units and they're open to the public. There's no charge to attend — "We don't even pass the hat" —  and people are free to come and go as they please.

Jehovah's Witnesses coming to Rome will be drawn from three states. Michels said about 2,000 to 2,500 are expected from as far away as Chattanooga, Tennessee; Gadsden, Alabama; and the north Atlanta metro area. At the same time, other regions will be holding their own conventions.

"It's an earth-wide thing, not just in the United States," Michels said. "There are thousands and thousands of us ... We spread it out so we can have it in smaller venues."