Elders' Training, Book 09: The Eldership and the God-Ordained Way (1), by Witness Lee

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I realize that it is not easy for the elders of the church to suddenly change to a new way. It is much easier to remain in the old way because something has been set up, and every week they can do a routine work. They do not need to learn anything. They can routinely make the announcements about the scheduled times of the meetings, and appoint certain brothers to speak in the meetings. The only one that really bears the burden for the meeting is the one who has been assigned to speak. The others become passive.

I believe that we all love the Lord, the saints, and the church. Since this is the case, we must pay the price. Regardless of our age, we should pick up the burden to learn. Those who are close to me have reminded me of my age and have urged me not to labor so much, but I told them that I will not stop laboring until I die. Many of us are still young, and we have many years to learn new things for the Lord’s new way. To go on with the Lord, we all have to condemn our habit. Habit is the biggest enemy. A number of years ago, some advised me that we needed computers for our editing work. Now our polishers use computers to do their work, but I do not use one because it is not my habit. I use this example as an illustration of how our habit can hinder us from progressing. I believe that some of the opposition to and criticism of the new way has been due to certain ones’ old habit. It may not be out of their heart to criticize or out of their intention to oppose, but their old habit is the problem. They do not want to have a change.

Some of the elders may want everything in the church under their control. If all the saints have the liberty to go out to knock on doors and baptize people, they may feel that the church will be confused and out of control. They may restrict all the activities of the saints so that everything is in good order under their control. I must say a frank word to my fellow co-workers who act in this way. Let all the saints be freed. Let them go out to baptize people. Give them the freedom to make mistakes. We all know that one of the best ways to learn is to make mistakes. If we are never mistaken, we will never learn anything.

Furthermore, the old way is not according to the holy Word. The new way is the scriptural way of meeting and serving to build up the Body of Christ. Let us put the old way aside and pick up the new "machine." If a person does not know how to use a computer, he may criticize the use of it. In the same way, I heard the criticism of the new way by those who did not want to give up the old way which was according to their old habit. For Christian brothers to criticize other brothers who go out with the gospel to visit people in their homes is not in a right spirit, with a right attitude, or with a right heart. We need to humble ourselves to learn something that excels. No one can deny that there are many ways to preach the gospel, but the top way is to visit people where they are by knocking on their doors. We should go to their homes and speak to them concerning God, Christ, the Bible, the gospel, salvation, grace, and redemption. This is more than acceptable to our God. Some saints have gone out to visit people when it was raining heavily. This touched the hearts of the people they visited. They were touched that some would suffer to go out in such heavy rain to come to their home to preach the gospel. Nothing can restrict, frustrate, or stop the preaching of the gospel by visiting people in their homes. We can go to every street and every home of the city where we live to find the sons of peace (Luke 10:5-6). Why would we not pick up this way? I have the assurance that if thirty percent of the saints would pick up this burden, every church could be doubled yearly.

My burden is to present to you what I have received in my four-year study beginning in 1984 in Taipei. We must practice four things. First, we need to visit people in their homes for the preaching of the gospel. Second, we need to have home meetings to nourish the new believers. Third, we need to have small group meetings to take care of the saints and to teach them the truth for their edification. Fourth, we need to have church meetings to exhibit Christ and minister Christ to the saints for the building up of the Body of Christ by the developing and exercising of the saints’ organic functions. For this we need to perfect every saint to prophesy. According to the principle of the Bible, it is better that every week we have one day for the church to come together. In this meeting the saints must learn to prophesy. If one third of the saints in a meeting of fifty to one hundred saints would prophesy, the time would be filled up with the riches of Christ. Then the saints will be built up as members of the organic Body of Christ, and the church as the organism of the Triune God will be organically built up.

If we practice the four points mentioned above, 1 Corinthians 14 and Ephesians 4 will be fully recovered and the building up of the organic Body of Christ will be taking place on this earth as a strong testimony of the resurrected Christ. Then the bride will make herself ready for Christ, the Bridegroom, to return. Let us endeavor to pick up these four points, these four "machines," to reach the goal.

(Elders' Training, Book 09: The Eldership and the God-Ordained Way (1), Chapter 7, by Witness Lee)