ENDEAVORING TO CHANGE
TO THE NEW WAY, THE GOD-ORDAINED WAY
We need to change our way. To change to a way to which we are not accustomed is difficult. It is difficult for many Chinese to use a fork instead of chopsticks. No one likes to change to a new way. A Chinese person who has moved to the United States may use chopsticks ninety percent of the time and a fork only ten percent of the time. This illustrates our situation today in changing from the old way to the God-ordained way.
For the preaching of the gospel, we need the individual, direct contact with people, one on one. We also need this kind of personal contact for the feeding of the new believers. We have to feed the new believers one by one. This requires much endeavor and labor. Instead of doing this, though, many of us are occupied with other things which we think are necessary for the managing of the church. These things may be right, but actually they are not so necessary. The necessary thing for the elders is to visit people and contact them one by one.
We have to endeavor to pick up our "fork" and throw away our "chopsticks." To pick up the fork is to pick up the practice of contacting people one by one. This is why I have said that the elders should endeavor to contact twenty people a week. Contacting people one by one saves us from building up a religion. This personal contact with people builds up the Body of Christ. This is a very serious matter. The only thing that bothers me, burdens me, and troubles me is that the elders and co-workers are not so absolute, adequate, and quick in changing to the new way. Our practice of the new way thus far has just about maintained our present number in the churches. Actually, there has not been enough advance, increase, or growth.
We have to change our way, especially for the practice of the group meetings. Thus far, it is difficult to see a group meeting fully practicing in an organic way according to what we have seen and ministered as revealed in the Word. A group which is meeting together may not constitute a proper group meeting. A proper group meeting should have the mutuality in every way. The teaching should be mutual, the asking and answering of questions should be mutual, the fellowship should be mutual, the intercession should be mutual, and the shepherding and care of the saints should be mutual. When we carry out all these mutual things, that is a proper group meeting. This kind of group meeting perfects the saints. Many of our group meetings are natural. They are not group meetings which are practiced according to the New Testament teaching, especially in Hebrews 10:24-25. There is the need of much learning to practice the charge in Hebrews 10:24-25.
The co-workers and elders should learn how to contact individual saints to fellowship with them particularly concerning the group meetings. We need to fellowship with them concerning how to have the mutual teaching, the mutual asking and answering of questions, the mutual fellowship, the mutual interceding, the mutual care, and the mutual shepherding. All of this is the mutual equipping and perfecting. If there is an elder in a group meeting, the entire group may look to him for help, thinking that they do not have much knowledge or experience. This is absolutely wrong. This is the philosophy of the papal system and of the clergy-laity system. This philosophy should be put aside.
(Elders' Training, Book 11: The Eldership and the God-Ordained Way (3), Chapter 10, by Witness Lee)