FORMING THE NEW BELIEVERS INTO GROUPS
In forming the new believers into groups, you do not need to wait until you have eight or nine. You could form a group meeting with just one newly baptized believer and one or two other visiting ones. Then, gradually, the group meeting will grow until it reaches a size large enough to subdivide. No group meeting should remain for over a year without subdividing, so each year the group meetings should double. By this way, the church will grow and expand. As we labor in this way, we will discover a lot of details that will help us to grow and improve our practice. Within three to five years a good foundation for growth and expansion will be laid in all the churches.
HOME MEETINGS DEVELOPING INTO GROUP MEETINGS
As we take care of the new ones, we must learn to do two things at the same time. While we are in the homes of the new ones to feed them, we are also there endeavoring to bring them into the realization and practice of a group meeting. The home meeting is mainly to cherish, nourish, and to feed the new ones a little bit. But the group meeting has other elements, such as fellowship, intercession, care, shepherding, and mutual teaching. As we are with them, we should try to add these elements of the group meeting into the home meeting. When these elements are brought into the meeting, the home meeting changes into a group meeting. But this does not mean that the home meeting with cherishing, nourishing, and feeding should be abandoned. We still should care for the new ones in the principle of the home meetings. But as we are laboring in the home meetings, we should also labor to build up the group meetings. Actually, a group meeting will also meet the need of feeding the new ones. The group meeting is really a miniature of the church life because it comprises the elements of fellowship, intercession, mutual care, shepherding, and mutual teaching, as well as gospel preaching.
LABORING IN A NEW PLACE VERSUS LABORING IN AN OLD PLACE
If my wife and I with four other brothers and their families went to an absolutely new place like Mongolia, I believe that in a single year, we could gain at least thirty new believers through the practice of the new way. This could be done mainly because the Mongolians would not have any idea about the practice of Christianity, and we would not bring anything of it to them. We would simply preach the gospel to them, baptize them, and meet with them in the home meetings and small group meetings. We would be absolutely new and keep anything of the oldness of Christianity away from them. Without the frustration of opinions and oldness, perhaps as many as five hundred could be gained in five years.
Due to the frustrations of differing opinions, the result of the practice of the new way has been greatly reduced. Because of the different opinions and attacks, as we labor according to the God-ordained way, we must build with one hand and fight the enemy with the other as Nehemiah did in rebuilding the walls of the city of Jerusalem (Neh. 4:17). Sometimes, only a small part of our strength can be applied to the positive work of carrying out the Lord’s move, and a greater part of our strength must be used to fight. This is the nature of the work in an old place.
(The Exercise and Practice of the God-Ordained Way, Chapter 29, by Witness Lee)