CARING FOR THE NEW BELIEVERS AS OUR OWN CHILDREN
In raising up the new believers as children, it is best if you have your own children. However, if you do not have your own children by birth, you can adopt other children. Adoption of spiritual children takes place when you do not have children of your own. When you adopt these children, the best attitude is to consider them as your very own children.
FOUR STEPS NEEDED TO PRACTICE THE LORD’S NEW WAY
One brother related his past experience of being successful in preaching the gospel and baptizing a good number of people, but not having remaining fruit due to his own immaturity. Recently, he has gained one of his schoolmates at college, but he is reluctant to stir up his friend to preach the gospel because of his friend’s lack of growth. This brother is also reluctant to have too many spiritual children for fear of not having one who remains.
To bring people to the Lord is relatively easy, but to raise them up is not very easy. In our study over the past few years, we have discovered that we need at least four steps to raise up the new believers. The first step is to visit people by knocking on their doors in order to gain them. Second, after gaining them by saving and baptizing them, there is the need to nourish and cherish the new ones in home meetings. Third, there is the need of group meetings to perfect the saints. Fourth, we must learn to practice having our meetings in mutuality with the universal prophesying. Walking according to these steps is to practice the Lord’s new way. We must learn how to visit people as the New Testament priests of the gospel to get them saved (Rom. 15:16). Then we should take care of them as our little children to cherish them and nourish them that we may raise them up. This step requires a great deal of time, but we should not expect to have remaining fruit without exercising the proper care in the home meetings. After bearing fruit, we must take good care of the fruit; otherwise, the fruit will not remain. Once we have fruit, we should try our best to take care of it even though we may still be young and lack the growth in life. Often, the children in a family are raised not only by the parents, but also by the elder brothers and sisters. It is the same today in the church life. We must realize that the older brothers and sisters in the Lord’s recovery can help us to raise our spiritual children.
DEALING WITH THE EXPECTATIONS OF PEOPLE REGARDING CHURCH MEETINGS
Christianity has built up something in a wrong way and has given people the wrong impression concerning the meeting life among the Lord’s people. Because of this wrong impression, most people today have a certain expectation whenever they attend a so-called church meeting. When they attend a Christian meeting, they often say that they are “going to church.” This is the reason that we must have the home meetings. In the home meetings, the new ones are not distracted by the form of the church, and they can receive the nourishment. While we are feeding them in their homes, we should gradually let them know what the biblical way of gaining people for the Lord is. Then, as they are helped to realize the biblical way to meet and to serve, they will not pay that much attention to the form of the church meetings. In their homes we nourish and cherish them to raise them up and to educate them so that they can realize what the real things are. In many cases, when the saints have done a good job of educating the new ones in the home meetings, the new ones are very happy to attend the small group meetings because their taste has been changed. With this change of taste, these new ones no longer have a taste for the formality of Christianity.
THE RICHES OF CHRIST AS THE ATTRACTING ELEMENT IN ALL KINDS OF MEETINGS
In order to practice the New Testament way, we must have the riches of Christ as our content. Our meetings must have the riches of Christ as their content; otherwise, the new ones will be disappointed. When they compare the attractive facade of Christianity to our way of meeting and practice, they will not be impressed with our way. Therefore, we must have the rich content in the home meetings, small group meetings, and larger church meetings. All of these meetings must be full of the riches of Christ. As people taste these riches, they will lose their taste for the facade of Christianity.
(The Exercise and Practice of the God-Ordained Way, Chapter 22, by Witness Lee)