DIVIDING THE GROUP MEETINGS FOR THE INCREASE
In the group meeting, we should never be contented with the same number week after week. We may feel that fifteen is a good number for the group meeting, but we should not be content with this. We must fellowship with the brothers and sisters in the group meeting that we all have to be burdened for our group to grow. We may speak to a certain brother, “Near your home there are a number of saints in the recovery. Maybe you could go and visit one of these and bring him to our group meeting next week.”
If a group of fifteen has been meeting together for a few months without any increase, they may need to divide into two groups. Then these smaller groups will endeavor to gain others and will grow. Some may be afraid that to divide a group in this way may cause some to be lost. However, I assure you that what is lost will be small compared to what will be gained. Still, before you divide the fifteen, you must spend two or three weeks to fellowship with them to prepare them. Then when you divide them into two groups, in only two weeks, each group may have ten to twelve.
After a group meeting has been together for some time, the saints may not want to leave one another. The grandparents want to keep their children and grandchildren with them forever. However, I do not care for that; I care for the spreading. Let the children be scattered. Then they will grow, establish their homes, and raise up families. Do not keep your children with you for too long. The Bible tells us that when someone is married, he has to leave his parents and be joined to his wife (Gen. 2:24; Eph. 5:31). You should let the saints go to form their own families, that is, to form their own groups. In principle, a group meeting should divide within six months or, at the most, one year. If you practice this, you will immediately see the growth, the increase.
A WORD TO THE FULL-TIME TRAINEES
A number of the full-time trainees will not come back for the second term of training. This is glorious because they have graduated and can go back to their places. Wherever they go, they can be a blessing. The Lord promised Abraham that his seed would be a blessing to all the nations (Gen. 12:3). I hope that those who are going back after this term will be a blessing to their churches. Whether they are a blessing or not depends upon the way they conduct themselves.
I would like to share a few points for you who are going back to your churches after receiving some training in the practice of the God-ordained way. When you go back, do not preach the new way, and do not promote it among the saints. When people ask you about the full-time training, you must restrain yourselves in answering. Do not say, “The training was glorious! Let me tell you everything I have learned.” If you are so excited in your speaking concerning the training, you may cause trouble. If I were you, I would only say, “The training was very nice.” However, some saints like to be the “information desk” of the church. They would not be satisfied with such an answer. However, others may have a genuine concern for the Lord’s interest. You must be wise and answer according to your discernment. You have to discern whether this person is the one to whom you should tell more.
The first time you attend a meeting, the elders may ask you to give a report concerning the training. You must be careful. If you do not do it, you will offend them. If you do it improperly, you will cause trouble. Therefore, you have to learn to speak the right word at the right time. While you are speaking you must discern the atmosphere, whether the atmosphere is good for you to speak more or not. If it is not, you can close your speaking in a nice way. Be patient; if you cannot speak something today, there will be a tomorrow.
Do not preach or promote anything; simply live the new way. You have received help from the training. Now, go back and pray to the Lord, and I believe the Lord will give you one or two companions. You can fellowship with these companions, and the two or three of you can go out to get your relatives and neighbors saved. If you practice in this way, you will never stir up any kind of opposition. Simply go out to visit people to get them saved and baptized. Then, go back to their homes to cherish, nourish, and feed them so that they will grow. When you bring them to the church meetings, the elders and all the saints will be happy to see some new ones. You also must stir up the new ones to give testimonies in the meetings. New faces and new voices in the meeting really refresh people. They will all find out that these are your fruit, yet you still must be careful in your speaking. Do not boast and do not vindicate the new way; even more, do not criticize anything the church is doing or has done in the past. That would kill the church. Do not advertise what you are doing. Simply labor quietly and even somewhat hiddenly as a New Testament priest of the gospel according to what you have learned.
Some of the saints may be interested in what you are doing. If others ask what you are doing, do not reject them. To reject them is to oppose them. Simply tell them that you sometimes go out with one or two others to visit people and preach the gospel to them. Again, there is the need for discernment to know how much you should speak to them.
Many times you will be frustrated in your work, but you have to believe all things are sovereign of the Lord. Every frustration helps you. Do not say or do anything quickly. Always work in a gradual way, bit by bit, believing that whatever you do, if it is of the Lord, the Lord will perform it. If you do this, the Lord will lead you, and you will not cause any trouble. If you have any problems, we would be willing to help you. You can write to us. This kind of fellowship will be a profit to all the churches.
In principle, whatever you do must be peaceful and altogether constructive to the saints and to the church. You should never try to destroy anything. Learn to be wise, to help people, and to avoid causing trouble. By your proper behavior, after two months, even a dissenting one toward the new way may be convinced. Do not think that men cannot be turned; many will be turned.
In this term of the training, we were not able to cover the fourth step of the God-ordained way, that is, the prophesying for the direct building up of the organic Body of Christ. However, we intend to cover this matter in the second term of the training, and all those messages should be made available to the saints as these have been. I would also encourage you to get a copy of the book Prophesying in the Church Meetings for the Organic Building Up of the Church as the Body of Christ. This is a book of detailed outlines compiled from all the messages that I have given in the past three years concerning prophesying. If you will read these outlines, point after point, slowly and carefully with much consideration, you will receive much help. Another book that I would recommend is The Advance of the Lord’s Recovery Today. This book covers the four main steps of the God-ordained way in detail. You can receive much help concerning prophesying from these publications.
One thing which I have spoken about very much in the past, but have not covered in this term of the training, is the matter of speaking hymns, psalms, and songs in the meetings. I covered this subject thoroughly in February of 1988 at the beginning of the first term of the full-time training in Irving, Texas. In order to make up this lack, I recommend that you study another book of outlines: Speaking Poems in the Church Meetings for the Organic Building Up of the Church as the Body of Christ. The word poems used in this title refers to the psalms, hymns, and songs used in the church meetings. I hope that you will read these outlines carefully and then begin to practice speaking hymns, psalms, and songs in the church meetings for the organic building up of the Body of Christ.
(The Exercise and Practice of the God-Ordained Way, Chapter 30, by Witness Lee)