EVERYONE HAVING THE OPPORTUNITY TO TEACH IN THE GROUP MEETINGS
In the group meetings, everyone has equal opportunity and equal time to teach. Even those who are very young in the Lord can speak something as a teaching. This kind of exercise will improve our ability to teach, and it will also bring out the riches of Christ within each brother or sister. One person teaching is not as rich as everyone teaching. In a group meeting, a sister who was saved three months ago may ask a question concerning abiding in the vine. She may ask, “I do not know what it is to abide in the vine. What is the vine, and how do you abide in the vine?” Her question opens the door for everyone in the group to say something. Another young sister in the group may say that, although she does not know very much about this subject, she does know that the vine is the Lord Jesus according to John 15:1. This little word is very good, because this sister has given a little teaching. Another sister who knows a little more may add to the first sister’s answer by saying that to abide in the vine is to abide in the Lord Jesus. These two answers put together form a very good teaching concerning abiding in the vine. Another brother who is quite learned and experienced may say that the word “abide” means to remain. He may also say that to abide in the vine means to remain in the Lord Jesus. Another brother sitting next to the first brother may then say that our need is to always stay with the Lord Jesus. Four brothers and sisters have spoken a few short sentences, but when these sentences are added together, they constitute a good message. This kind of teaching is often much better than what you can receive in many Christian books. The teaching of these four brothers and sisters is good, but it may still need to be strengthened, so another brother may add something. He may say that Christ today is in our spirit, so to abide in Christ is to stay in our spirit.
After listening to the speaking of the saints, some of the young ones may still not be satisfied with the saints’ answers. These young ones may then seek out some of our publications in order to find out what others in the recovery have said concerning abiding in the vine. This is very good. In the past sixty-seven years, a number of books have been published on many different items of the truth. There is a long history among us of understanding the truths, and these truths have been printed. So, today we have printed many books dealing with various subjects for the young believers to get into and to uplift their realization concerning many different truths.
The group meeting will not only open the way for all to teach and all to learn, it will also help the seeking ones to seek the truth in a deeper way. Whenever we come together as a group, we must practice not to do anything according to religion. Rather, we should practice to come together in a living way, rejoicing, singing, and praying. Then as we fellowship with one another, intercession will issue forth spontaneously. The proper care for one another, as well as shepherding, should then be exercised. Ultimately, questions will be raised for all the members of the group to answer. This gives the way for everyone to teach.
LEADING THE NEW ONES TO ENTER INTO EACH ITEM OF THE NEW WAY
All those in the group meetings, including the new ones, should be helped to practice all of the items of the new way in the church life. The first item of the new way is the priesthood of the gospel, the preaching of the gospel by visiting others. In the group meeting, we must teach the younger ones to preach the gospel. One of the sisters in one of the group meetings may ask if each of the saints in the group is participating in going out to visit people by knocking on their doors. Out of a group of fifteen members, seven new ones may not have entered into this kind of exercise. Thus, there is the need to say something to teach them and to stir them up to participate in the gospel preaching. Following this, there is the need to give them some instructions in preaching the gospel and to help them to form visiting teams to go out.
In another group meeting, another brother or sister may say, “It is very good that everyone in our group meeting is going out to get people saved and baptized. But I would like to know if all of us are practicing to feed these new believers in the home meetings.” This question deals with the second item of the new way, that is, nourishing new believers in the home meetings. It may be that ten out of fifteen do not have the practice of caring for the new ones in home meetings. This indicates that there is a need to promote and stir up the saints for the home meetings. Then in subsequent group meetings, the third step of helping the young believers to group together with others needs to be touched. Though some of the saints in the group are already meeting with new ones in their homes, there is still the need to bring these new ones into the group meeting with the other saints. Once these new ones are brought into the group meeting, this may increase the size of the group from fifteen to twenty-five. With such a large number, there is the need to subdivide into two groups.
THE GROUP MEETINGS BEING A MINIATURE OF THE CHURCH LIFE
Through this kind of exercise—from preaching the gospel by knocking on doors to home meetings with the new ones to group meetings, we all learn how to build up a group meeting. This is for the perfecting of the saints. In a sense, the group meeting is a miniature of the church life. The real and practical church life is in the group meetings. Whether the church life is strong or weak depends upon the strength of the group meetings. Therefore, the group meetings are very important. If the church is still in the stage of one man speaking and all the rest listening, the church is not very healthy. Without the group meetings, the church will be weak. The attendance in the Lord’s Day morning meeting and the messages may be good, but without the group meetings, the church is really not very healthy. The church is the healthiest and strongest when all the saints in the church are in group meetings. When all are in the group meetings as I have described, everyone will be practicing the church life adequately and thoroughly.
(The Exercise and Practice of the God-Ordained Way, Chapter 27, by Witness Lee)