HAVING AN INTEREST CONCERNING PEOPLE’S CONDITION WITH THE LORD, WHICH MINISTERS LIFE IN THE ORGANIC BUILDING UP OF THE BODY OF CHRIST
The interest in others’ spiritual welfare is the interest concerning people’s condition with the Lord, which ministers life in the organic building up of the Body of Christ. We cannot know people’s condition with the Lord except by a direct contact with them. No one can know someone’s real condition unless he contacts him a number of times. We must contact someone again and again, until he has a trust in us and will open up the things on his heart. Without this, we cannot know his real condition.
BEING BURDENED WITH THE CONTACTING OF PEOPLE
FOR THE LORD’S KINGDOM
The elders must be burdened with the contacting of people for the Lord’s kingdom. It is not sufficient merely to be concerned for people. The elders must pick up the burden to contact people. This contact is not in a general way nor in an indifferent way. To contact someone in a general or indifferent way is meaningless and a waste of time. Our contacting of people must be in a particular way that concerns their spiritual life. We must speak with others about particular matters. After several contacts with an unbelieving person, we can eventually tell him that we have a real concern about his salvation.
We must first learn to open up ourselves to the ones whom we contact. This opening will cause them to open up to us. When the elders go to contact people, or when people come to contact them, they must take the lead to open themselves up in order to gain the credit of the ones they contact. We must learn to be very open to people. The contact we have with people is always based upon our opening to them. However, our opening to them should be with wisdom. Otherwise, we will be foolish and will cause trouble.
LEARNING TO PRAY WITH A PARTICULAR BURDEN
FOR THE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LORD
OF THOSE FOR WHOM YOU ARE CONCERNED
The elders must also learn to pray with a particular burden for the relationship with the Lord of those for whom they are concerned. This praying is not in the way of convenience for the elders. Rather, this praying should be in the way of a proper schedule. We must have a schedule with a proper budget of our time. This schedule should include a time to pray for the ones we contact.
If the elders take the way we have fellowshipped here, they will be very approachable. It will be easy for people to contact them. All the elders should learn to contact people. The elders should save their time from meaningless telephone calls and conversations. Many of us waste much of our time by unnecessary contacts, meaningless talk, and phone calls. We must change our way of living. The elders should schedule their time in a very narrow and strict way. In this way, they can fulfill their responsibility in the eldership. Without contacting people, they will have no way to fulfill their responsibility.
The condition of a church depends upon the eldership in that church. The proper eldership is one in which all the elders contact people daily, weekly, regularly, and consistently. The number of people the elders contact is the deciding factor of the condition of the church in their locality.
(Elders' Training, Book 11: The Eldership and the God-Ordained Way (3), Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)