LEARNING TO BE FLEXIBLE IN CARING FOR THE NEW BELIEVERS ON DIFFERENT LEVELS
The saints visited a new believer who comes from a strong Christian background and began to teach her a very simple song in order to help her call on the name of the Lord. They told her that they like to sing such a song in the morning, especially when they do not feel so good or when they have a lot of problems. She responded by saying, “Yes, it seems that we always go through a lot of problems.” Based upon this response, the saints read Romans 8:28-29 with her and began to share with her concerning the contents of these two verses. In reading verse 29, she noticed the word “predestinated,” which reminded her of a verse in Ephesians 1 where she had been reading concerning the matter of sealing and pledging. The saints then turned to Ephesians 1 and began to share with her about sealing and pledging. The new believer was excited by the saints’ fellowship on this subject and remarked that she had never heard such things before. The saints shared a little further concerning this matter, and at the end of the meeting, they sang the song again and encouraged her to remember it during the coming week.
In principle, when introducing something such as a new song to the new believers, it is best to avoid using the word teach in your fellowship. You should try not to say, “We would like to teach you a new song.” It is better to say, “We would like to sing a song with you,” or “Would you please sing a song with us?” To use the words teach or teaching brings in an element which damages the situation with the new ones.
The new believers, in principle, are like babes; therefore, we must feed them with baby food. But we also have to learn to be flexible when we realize that the one for whom we are caring is more than a babe. In this case, the person the saints were taking care of was not a babyish person. Thus, the saints should have been very flexible and adjusted themselves to the level of the new believer. The saints also tried to deal with too many different things in this one visit. It would have been better to discern which one of the things was the subject for that visit and to feed the new one the proper food based upon that subject. In this matter there is the need for a lot of training because we often do more than we should in one visit. A trained and experienced person, however, would be able to handle this situation in a proper way.
In this home meeting, the saints should not have left their subject of singing a song to help the new one to call on the name of the Lord. She introduced the subject of sufferings, but in order to keep the subject of calling on the name of the Lord and avoid changing subjects, they might have said, “Not only do we Christians suffer, but everybody on this earth suffers. This is the reason that we need to call on the name of the Lord. To be rescued from suffering, we must call on the name of the Lord.” By such a short word, the new one is brought back to the subject. Instead of being led by the new one from subject to subject, the saints should have brought her back to the subject of calling, using any word spoken by her to strengthen their subject. According to the Lord’s leading, the saints may have felt to explain a little concerning the name of the Lord being powerful and being above all names. Then they could have led her to call a few times, and as they were calling, one of them could have begun to sing. Spontaneously, the new one would have followed them to sing also. It then may have been appropriate to share a short testimony of their experience of calling on the name of the Lord. This kind of testimony should not be given in the way of teaching, but in a spontaneous way as the opportunity presents itself. We all must learn to lay aside the way of teaching in a formal way and to take the way of caring for the new ones in a very living, flexible, and pleasant way.
EXERCISING DISCERNMENT IN PREACHING THE GOSPEL
The principle in visiting people with the gospel is to first help them to get saved and baptized. As we are preaching the gospel we should learn to exercise our discernment concerning whether a person will be difficult to gain or not. If we discern that the environment, the family, and so forth would make it difficult to gain someone, we should not invest our time in that person. A carpenter selects a certain kind of wood based upon what he intends to make with it. He must discern what kind of material will be fitting for his use. We should also discern in the same way when we preach the gospel, because there are many different kinds of people on the earth. We must be wise and learn to discern people while we are talking to them.
(The Exercise and Practice of the God-Ordained Way, Chapter 22, by Witness Lee)