A CHURCH LIFE IN WHICH EVERYONE SERVES
Passing On the Burden
to Every Brother and Sister
When a co-worker goes out to work and to build up a church, he should pass on all his work to the brothers and sisters. In the beginning he may come with a burden. But gradually, the burden should be passed on to the shoulders of the brothers and sisters. Suppose here is a brother. First, you would hold his hand and work together with him. Gradually, you would pass on your work to him, while you stand beside him to help him. Up to a certain point, you can let go completely and transfer everything to his hand. If you do this, when you leave, you will not need to go through any transfer procedure, for all the things will have been passed on to him already. In 1943, on April 12, I became ill. Immediately, I conferred with the responsible brothers and made arrangements for the Lord’s Day meeting. After this, I lay down on my bed and began to rest. All the services were taken over by the brothers and sisters immediately. The church at that time had many areas of service. Offerings alone were classified under seven or eight categories. There were many other kinds of work besides. At that time, we had about a thousand brothers and sisters, and business affairs were complicated. Yet all the saints divided up the work and proceeded in an orderly way. This lasts until today. A few years have elapsed, but today the brothers and sisters are still serving in the same way as they did then.
The Example of the Church in Chefoo
Here is how we divided up the services among the brothers and sisters in the church in Chefoo: one brother who was a postman was responsible for mopping the floor. He would come every Saturday to mop the floor, and he would find out in detail from the responsible brothers how to mop it. After he had found out the way from the responsible brothers, he would go about doing his work quietly. When he completed his work, he would leave. In the same way, all the brothers and sisters learned to listen and to work without talking. This is the best kind of service. One brother who worked in an insurance company was assigned to clean the windows. At home, he had his own maid, and at work, he had people working for him. But when he came to the meeting hall, he did everything with his own hands. We have to learn to start with the small chores. At the beginning, I washed the toilets. Later, other brothers and sisters joined me. One sister was responsible just for putting clean rags in a bin. Every Saturday, some serving ones would come and pick up the rags for cleaning. After they finished their service, this sister would pick up the rags and bring them to be washed. Some sisters in Shanghai are doing the same thing with the hospitality linens.
Not Replacing, but Perfecting the Saints
When I first came to Nanking, some brothers and sisters thought that I came to "run" the church. I told them that I did not come to "run" the church. Instead, I came to give them trouble. I came to generate work for them. It is true that I came with a burden, but this burden had to be passed on to the brothers and sisters. Do not think that because Brother Lee has come, everyone is now free. The same is true in the church in Shanghai. This time, when I left Shanghai, I did it in such a way that I do not have to go back anymore, because all the responsibilities have been transferred over to the local saints. When the Western missionaries came to China, they came to "run" churches. They monopolized everything. They even solicited foreign money for them to "run" their churches. This is not our way. We are here to help the brothers and sisters to fulfill their functions.
(Messages Given During the Resumption of Watchman Nee's Ministry (2 volume set), Chapter 32, by Watchman Nee/Witness Lee)