CONSECRATING OURSELVES FOR THE GOSPEL
We need to help all the brothers and sisters learn how to pray, on the one hand, and learn how to preach, on the other hand. However, this does not mean that we give people a sermon. In order to help the brothers and sisters to preach the gospel, we must help them to consecrate themselves again. Even though they may have consecrated themselves many times, they still need to consecrate themselves once again purposely and specifically for this matter. This is absolutely according to the principle of the teachings of the Scriptures. The Scriptures teach us that whenever we are going to do something specifically, we need to consecrate ourselves again for that very specific purpose. We may ask the brothers to come together to have a meeting for some prayer to offer themselves to the Lord for this purpose.
CONSIDERING OUR RELATIVES, NEIGHBORS, FRIENDS, SCHOOLMATES, AND COLLEAGUES
It is helpful to consider before the Lord all the names of our relatives, neighbors, friends, schoolmates, and colleagues, and all the persons with whom we are familiar, and it is better to write these names down. Then we should consider how many of them are already Christians and truly saved, and if possible, we should pray for them. In this prayer, the Lord may lead us to do something, perhaps not for all of them but for a few of them. There are many details to consider. We should consider whom to visit and whom to write, sending them gospel tracts, booklets, and helpful messages. We should invite some of these persons to our homes to eat. If we have friends or relatives in other cities, we can mail them something and tell them where the meeting place is in their city. We can also ask the brothers there to visit them. We should first take care of the persons with whom we are familiar. This is our responsibility, and we should carry this out not once for all but all the time, year after year.
THE NEED FOR THE CHURCH TO BEAR FRUIT
The first commission from the Lord to the church is to preach the gospel, to bring new believers to the church. I met a group of brothers and sisters who considered themselves to be the most spiritual persons in their locality. They were very nice, spiritual, and everything about them was good. However, I asked them, “Brothers, how long have you been meeting in this way, and with how many persons did you start to meet?” They said that they had been meeting for a long time and that they had started with about twenty persons, the same number they had when I spoke with them. Whenever they came together, they were very nice and spiritual, but they had no fruit, no converts. This is wrong.
How can a tree not bring forth fruit if it is truly living? As a church, we must be prevailing in winning souls. We need to check ourselves by many ways to see if we are right or wrong; one way to check ourselves is by whether or not we bring forth fruit. The number of the members of the church must increase all the time. New converts must be added to the church constantly. I hope that the churches will bring forth fruit in the next half year. Then that will be our “fruit season.” If we do not bring forth fruit, there must be something wrong with us. We cannot and should not gather together week after week, singing hymns and listening to good messages, but after one, two, or even three years not bringing in new converts. If so, there is something wrong with the church, and there is also something wrong with the believers.
A necessary item for training young believers is to help them to promise to bring one person to the Lord each year. Some need to promise to bring two or four persons a year to the Lord, and one saint may even promise to bring ten persons. If they promise, they will do it. If every brother or sister brings one new convert to the church each year, the entire world will be evangelized in about thirty years. The first year we will start with one hundred, then the next year we will have two hundred, and each year we will double again. If we just do it, it will be easy to bring one person to the Lord in three hundred sixty-five days.
We need the ways to carry this out. As I have said, the first way is to consider our relatives, neighbors, and all the persons with whom we are familiar. If we will consider in this way, I am sure that we can bring one person to the Lord each year. When D. L. Moody was young, he made the decision to speak to one person about Jesus each day. One day after he went to bed, he remembered that he had not told anyone about the Lord that day. He went out, but since it was late in the night, he could find only a policeman. The policeman asked him what he was doing, and Moody told him he must believe in Jesus. The policeman was angry with Moody, but eventually he was saved.
I do not like to speak about myself, but I must tell you that when I was about twenty-five years old, I always carried gospel tracts in my pocket. When I walked on the street, I distributed them whenever there was the opportunity. Some fruit came out of that practice. We should encourage the young brothers and sisters to carry tracts in their pockets and distribute them in order to contact people. By doing this, they will eventually bring someone to the Lord. At the least, this will create the atmosphere of the gospel. There are many ways to preach the gospel, if we would just do it.
(Basic Principles for the Service in the Church Life, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)