I. FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD
The first one with whom the elders should have fellowship is God. All of the elders must be those who have fellowship with God. If their fellowship with God is cut off, they should not be elders any longer. Not only should the elders have fellowship with God, but they must also bring all the matters that fall into their hands to God and fellowship with God about these things. While the elders are bearing the responsibilities of the church, they should bring all the matters within their responsibility to God and fellowship with God about them. They should bring all the responsibilities, all the matters, and all the problems before God and fellowship with God about them. Not only should the elders themselves live in fellowship all the time and have dealings before God, but in serving together as elders, when they are confronted with problems in the church which require their handling, their solving, or their facilitating, they need to bring these matters corporately before God and have fellowship with God. They have to deal with them like a business, and they should ask God, "Can this be done? Is this right? How should we do it?" They must fellowship thoroughly with God in everything before they act. The elders must never cut off their fellowship with God. Any decision made apart from fellowship is wrong. All the management in the church, all the decisions, work, promotions, and leading in the church, and everything that passes through the hands of the elders must be brought before God and carried out through fellowship with God. Individually, the elders should have fellowship with God, and, as a whole, every time a decision is made or a matter promoted, the elders must first fellowship with God.
II. FELLOWSHIP AMONG THE ELDERS
The elders must also fellowship with each other. This mutual fellowship must be a one-hundred percent, undiscounted fellowship. In the chapter on coordination, we have mentioned that to coordinate together, there must be openness. This openness is the fellowship. When we serve as elders together, you cannot fellowship only ninety percent, while holding back ten percent. Anything that is held back will cause problems. When the elders serve together, they must fellowship to such an extent that not one brother is holding back anything from the other elders.
I want to tell the brothers and sisters that the guidance and burden of the elders comes from their fellowship. Likewise, their handling of matters and their solutions to problems come out of fellowship. The elders’ ability, light, and foresight also come out of fellowship. Even the elders’ management comes out of fellowship. Where the elders hold back a little, reserve a little, or close themselves up a little, there the wisdom and light are lacking a little. Any time you detect something or see something, you have to fellowship the matter over with the elders one hundred percent, fully, and completely. If you do not do this, the management of the elders will never be carried out properly.
In order to manage a church, the elders must have thorough fellowship. If there are five elders, they are like five lumps of clay. They must be mingled together in water until the five lumps become one lump, and they become indistinguishable one from another. This mingling is the fellowship. The five elders should be seeking the Lord’s leading together. The thing to fear in the management of the church is not the ignorance of the elders in handling affairs, but their unwillingness to fellowship. If the five brothers are willing to be mingled together and are willing to fellowship together, morning and evening, today, tomorrow, and every day, you will see the Lord’s leading there, and you will see God’s way, God’s wisdom, light, revelation, and burden all there. Through the fellowship, the burden for the gospel will come, the burden to edify the saints will come, the light from the Bible will come, and the gifts will also come. If the elders are willing to fellowship this way, at the right time some will receive the gifts.
(The Elders' Management of the Church, Chapter 10, by Witness Lee)