ARRIVING AT THE PRACTICE OF THE DISTRICT MEETINGS
The fourth step is arriving at the practice of the district meetings. We still need to gradually bring the new believers from the group meetings to the district meetings to help them come further into the church life. The meeting content is richer in the district meetings. There is the breaking of the bread to remember the Lord, the learning of the truths, as well as the mutual fellowship and sharing. Everyone has more opportunity to function, to speak for the Lord, and to edify one another. We all can also have a higher enjoyment, hear more complete messages, and obtain a more perfect edification and comprehensive building up. Therefore, we ought to inspire the ones we are helping, to speak for the Lord and to speak forth the Lord in the district meetings. Then all the saints in the meeting can function organically, speak to supply one another, and edify mutually, and thus build up the Body of Christ.
I have given you a sketch hoping we all may see that the practical steps in building up the Body of Christ are completely different from the organized ways of religion. The way of organized religion is to get together, collect some capital, and hire a preacher or pastor to bear a particular responsibility and do a particular work. Most there merely offer some financial support and have no direct relation with this work. Among us, however, it is not so. As soon as we bring people to salvation, we should meet in their homes, lead them to call on the name of the Lord, lead them to pray-read the Word, and bring them closer to the Lord. As they grow in life, spontaneously they will speak and testify for the Lord. They do this not for money or gain, but spontaneously they have an organic function because they have the Lord’s life and the Lord’s Spirit within them. If, in a local church, quite a few brothers and sisters all function organically by the ability of the inward life, the effect will surely be living and organic.
Through participating in the home meetings, the group meetings, and the district meetings, it will take about a year for a new believer to go from being saved and baptized to functioning a little in the district meeting. At this time we can hand him over to the care of the church to be built up in the Body of Christ. He then will become a useful member and will lead others in the same way. He will also be able to care for, lead, perfect, and meet others’ needs. This way of “teachers bringing up students” will raise up many useful persons. The new way that the Lord is leading us into is indeed an organic way. Those raised up in this way are naturally organic. Contained in our preaching of the gospel by visiting people to give freely the grace which we have obtained freely is the life power with the organic ability. Further on in this way, an organic entity, which is the church in a locality, will develop. This church is the local expression of the universal Body of Christ, and her functioning in the locality is not organizational but organic.
EVERYONE PRACTICING THE NEW WAY
We all love the Lord and are concerned for the Lord’s move. We know that the Lord’s building up of His Body is not accomplished just by a few gifted persons. It takes all those who belong to the Lord, who are motivated by the Lord’s love, to bear their share in preaching the gospel by visiting, perfecting the new believers, establishing the group meetings, and arriving at the practice of the district meetings. Only thus can the Body of Christ be built up.
Today, the practical steps of the new way have already been put before us. This is now our responsibility. As long as there are one thousand saints in Taipei who would receive this word, pay the price, exert themselves, put themselves willingly in the Lord’s move, and practice the new way according to the Lord’s leading, the situation in the church will be greatly improved. The church will have a dynamic spreading, and the Body of Christ will also be properly built up.
As an illustration, in a place with one hundred meeting together, we hope there would be thirty who are motivated by the Lord’s love to be willing to take the Lord’s leading to practice the new way step by step. Grouped in threes, with different ages and sexes, they would coordinate to preach the gospel by visiting people. Doing so every other week, for two hours each time, they can bring one to salvation in a month. They can bring twelve people to be saved in a year, since there are twelve months in a year. Thus, thirty saints, divided into ten teams, can in one year bring a hundred and twenty people to be saved, which is more than the original number. Then they can lead the new believers to have home, group, and district meetings. Even if we figure that two out of four will be lost, eventually there will be sixty remaining out of the one hundred and twenty. Thus the rate of increase is still sixty percent. In addition, this place of one hundred saints can support at least two or three full-timers. They, laboring this way, can also bring in fifty. Adding the two together, there will be one hundred and ten added in a year. This is quite a considerable number.
Concerning the weekly meeting schedule, we can arrange it in the following way. The district meeting will be on the Lord’s Day morning to break the bread for remembering the Lord, to learn the truths, and to fellowship and share. The prayer and service meeting will be on Tuesday to cry out to the Lord for the new way with one accord. Then, either preach the gospel by visiting people or go to a home or a group meeting on two other evenings to bear the responsibility for caring for and perfecting the saints. If we all do this willingly, faithfully, and with much labor, the church in Taipei will be on the track of the organic way. The whole church life will be organic and not organizational, and it will belong to all the saints, not to just a few. In this way, it will be a prosperous and blessed situation, and the effect will be glorious and bountiful.
(A message given by Brother Witness Lee on April 21, 1988 in Taipei)
(Messages Given to the Working Saints, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)