HOW TO TAKE THE CHURCHES ON
As the leading ones, we need to ask ourselves what we will do as we function in the churches. Shall we remain in our old practice prior to October of 1984? Shall we preach the gospel by inviting people to our meetings and meet on the Lord’s Day morning with a big congregation and a good speaker while the rest sit and listen? We need to ask ourselves where the real functioning of the acting members in the church is. How do the co-workers among us function? Are they perfecting the saints? We are short in our experience of the scriptural way of service. We must cooperate with the Lord.
I do not expect this God-ordained way to be fully consummated among us in five years. Rather, it may take twenty, twenty-five, thirty, or fifty years for the Lord to carry this out. To the Lord one thousand years are as one day. We have published many books concerning the scriptural way of meeting and serving for the building up of the Body of Christ in the advance of the Lord’s recovery today. Sooner or later, some of the seeking saints will pick up some copies of these books and practice what has been released in them.
I do not like to impose this on anyone, but I do have a burden to promote this scriptural way. This way is like a diamond that I am presenting. I will not impose this diamond on you, but if you are wise, you will not miss the opportunity to pay the price to buy it. I realize that some of the churches are not fully ready to take this scriptural way. I am not saying that we need to begin practicing these four major practices right away. But we all have to see that in this age something is coming as a tide. Whether you are for it or against it, the tide will still come. I have the full assurance that this way is easy to work out. We only need to practice it by laboring, striving, and struggling.
In our locality we need to pray and seek the Lord’s leading concerning how to take the church on. It is not necessary for all the churches to be unified at the same time. We need to go on according to what we feel in the Lord and before the Lord. I would like to share something with those of us who have a burden to practice this new way. The best way to begin such a practice is to have a small local conference of three or four messages. In this conference we can present to the saints what the Lord has shown us. We should tell them that this practice is the practice of the New Testament priesthood. Therefore, we all need to have a new beginning in our Christian life every day by being revived every morning. When we have this conference, we should ask the church to pray that we could have the power to stir up all the saints to be revived and ask them to consecrate themselves anew for this practice. Later, some arrangement should be made for the consecrated saints so that they can be formed into groups of three to go out in a regular way to reach people.
The saints do not need to do too much because that will tire them out and frustrate them. It is better not to do too much. Instead we need to labor regularly and constantly. We only need to go out once a week for two hours. If we have the proper practice with adequate prayer, we will get some to believe and be baptized. Once we baptize two or three new ones, we should not go out to gain more people. We need to care for the two or three the Lord has given us by having home meetings with them in their homes. We should have home meetings with them at least once a week. Probably at the beginning we need to visit them twice a week, every three or four days. We have to visit them to nourish and cherish them. Then we gradually need to encourage them to come out of their homes to join the group meetings.
(Elders' Training, Book 09: The Eldership and the God-Ordained Way (1), Chapter 10, by Witness Lee)