II. IN SPIRIT
To be an authority, one must not only be in love, but must be in spirit as well. We all know what it is to be in spirit. You cannot say that you are an elder, and that you are an authority in the church, and therefore you will assume your authority and will deal with matters and manage things your way. You cannot do this. We must learn to live in the spirit. The judgment and handling of every matter must be carried out in spirit. Although you may be an elder, you cannot act unless there is the moving, the prompting, and the burden in your spirit. You cannot be an elder in position only; you must learn to be an elder in spirit. Whether or not a matter should be handled by you, whether or not you should say something, and whether or not you should go to a brother and have some fellowship with him, these matters should not be determined by your position as an elder. You cannot say that something is within the jurisdiction of the elders, that the elders should take charge of the matter, and that it is therefore right for you to deal with it. This is wrong. We must learn to live in the spirit. You can say that this is a matter of leading, or a matter of burden, but I would say that this is to be in spirit.
When you hear that a brother is involved in trouble, you should bear his burden and should go before the Lord to touch His feeling and to inquire in spirit as to what you should do. Should you leave the matter as it is, should you take up the case, or should you deal with it together with the other elders? You must sense the feeling of the spirit and act according to this feeling.
Nothing else requires a person to be in the spirit more than being an elder. Unfortunately, I have met many elders in many localities who are willing to check if they are in spirit in their daily lives, but who neglect the matter of being in spirit when confronted with matters related to the management of church affairs, because they think that these are their rightful duties and that they should take charge of them. For this reason, in the handling of these matters, many times others do not sense the anointing and do not touch the supply of life.
I hope that all the elders would see that every time they handle things, even if the things are within their jurisdiction, they have to turn back to their spirit. If you need to say a few words of rebuke, you should do so in spirit. If you need to speak a few words of comfort, you also need to be in spirit. If you need to speak a few words of praise, you need to be in spirit. In handling all the affairs of the church, you have to turn to your spirit. If there is no sense in the spirit and no move in the spirit, it would be better for you to drop the matter. Brothers, this is not a doctrine. In order for the church that you are overseeing to be in life and with anointing, every arrangement you make in the church must be made in the spirit.
(The Elders' Management of the Church, Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)