GOSPEL PREACHING BEING A MATTER NOT OF TECHNIQUES BUT OF THE SPIRIT
Superficially speaking, you have come to the training to learn some very useful techniques for home visitation. However, gospel preaching is not a matter of techniques but a matter of the spirit. The proper technique is required to do anything; but this does not mean that with the technique one can succeed. To have the technique is one thing, to have the proper element as the means is another. For example, a forty-year-old sprint coach may be very successful in teaching others to run the one hundred-meter dash, but if he himself were to run, he would probably not make it physically. However, when he teaches the young athletes who have the strength to run in the field the proper technique, they will surely win the championship. Before you go for the outreach, you need to learn the techniques. Never despise the techniques. There are many techniques in preaching the gospel through home visitation. There are also many techniques in inviting people to the small group meetings. There are also many techniques in speaking with gospel friends. However, regardless of the technique employed, the power and the strength is the spirit.
There is no problem with the Holy Spirit; He is always waiting for us. The problem is on our side. Some Christians do not know that they have a spirit. Others know that they have a spirit but do not know how to use it. Often, when the time comes for us to preach the gospel, we are like a blind cat bumping into a dead mouse; everything is by chance. When you go to the villages, be a live cat catching live mice. We need to be agile and exercised, bringing in fresh and living people. Techniques are needed to preach the gospel; but above all, there must be the spirit. Most seminaries train people in techniques. The Pentecostal movement, on the other hand, mostly stresses the spirit and ignores the techniques. I hope that you will have both the techniques and the spirit. From now on, you should start exercising your spirit. While you speak in your daily life, you should use your spirit. In your daily life, you should learn to use the highest part within you. We all know that the body is merely a passive instrument among man’s three parts; it cannot purpose by itself. It is either our soul or our spirit that directs our body. Most people speak from their soul and rarely from their spirit. We, however, are people who love the Lord. We should learn to speak from within our spirit.
Whether or not our meeting is rich in content depends on the speaking of the brothers and sisters. Is the speaking from the soul or from the spirit? The fundamental difference lies in the source. If the source of the speaking is the soul, the word spoken will spontaneously be from the soul. Whether it is spoken from the spirit or from the soul all depends on the attitude of the speaker. The word of the speaker when spoken lightly is in the soul, but when spoken weightily it is in the spirit. When an unbeliever becomes angry, he uses his spirit the most. Since he has nowhere to release his anger, he has to put his whole being into his speaking, exercising all his physical strength. When we prophesy for the Lord, our tone will be weighty if we put our whole being into it. Once our tone is weighty, our word will definitely come out of the depth of our being. What comes out of the depth of our being is surely the spirit. If our attitude is casual, our tone will spontaneously be light. All the casual speaking comes from the soul. The Chinese describe a remark which does not come from the heart as “words from the lips.” Even the speaker himself will easily forget his own “words from the lips” after they are spoken. Weightless words spoken in the meeting are not a supply, but rather a distraction.
A Christian’s life should not be inconsequential, but should be one that is significant every day. Even now while you have not yet gone out for the outreach, you should not be a loose person. The way you speak in your daily life should carry a weighty tone. You must learn to use your spirit the moment you open your mouth. If you always exercise to speak with your spirit, when you go for the outreach in the villages, whether people come to visit you or you go to visit them, the gospel will flow out the moment you open your mouth. On the contrary, if you are a person who is careless about everything and not exercised in your ordinary speaking, you will not be able to impart the gospel, the truth, and the life to people quickly when you meet them.
(Messages in Preparation for the Spread of the Gospel, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)