MINISTERING THE WORD OF GOD IN VARIOUS MEETINGS
In the truth meeting on the Lord’s Day, sometimes there may be unbelievers in attendance. In such a situation we should arrange a gospel meeting at that moment to meet their need. This would require certain ones to be ready; once they see that ten or twenty persons have come to listen to the gospel, they should invite them into a room prepared beforehand. We need to have some brothers preaching the gospel and others serving and helping people there. This is the church—everyone functions and everyone has the opportunity to be employed.
Besides this, after every baptism we should immediately arrange a new believers’ edification meeting for the newly baptized ones. A newly baptized believer does not know a great deal of truth. In this kind of meeting, which is best to hold on the Lord’s Day, we should teach them the truths related to new believers, such as what to do after being baptized, knowing the church, reading the Bible, and prayer. We need to teach them these things topic by topic. The church ought to release a great deal of truths on the Lord’s Day so that the saints can learn the truths on their days off and in their spare time.
Furthermore, every Lord’s Day, preferably in the evening, we should come together to remember the Lord. In addition, in the middle of the week we should have a prayer meeting, and on the weekends, either on Friday or Saturday, we should have a small group meeting. In this way every week we would have three meetings: the Lord’s table, the prayer meeting, and the small group meeting. On the Lord’s Day after the Lord’s table, we should leave about half an hour for a brother who has prepared beforehand to lead all the saints in reading a message together which covers a specific topic. We do not need to spend too much time to read; the best way is to read one message thoroughly in twenty or thirty minutes. All this has to be carefully prepared ahead of time. We could let everybody know a week ahead so that they could prepare the pertinent books to be read together in the meeting. If the message is short, instead of asking the saints to bring the book, we can make copies for them to read together and to fellowship over together. In this way, for fifty-two weeks a year, on fifty-two Lord’s Days, we could have fifty-two life-supplying messages.
The same principle should apply to the prayer meeting on Tuesday evening. We should leave about half an hour to read some materials prepared beforehand on the truth, preferably those materials that are related to spiritual service. In the latter part of the Lord’s table we should have life-supplying messages, and in the second half of the prayer meeting we should cover some spiritual principles concerning service. In this way every week the saints will gain one life-supplying message and also learn some spiritual principles for service. In the long run everyone can go deeper and be perfected.
On Friday or Saturday we should have the small group meeting. Concerning the materials for the group meeting, the best thing to do may be to select one book from the life-study of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament that would suit the need of the church in your locality, and then arrange for someone to take charge. Do not read word by word, sentence by sentence; rather, the one who is in charge should prepare ahead of time to find out the important points, and then when he comes to the group meeting, he should use these crucial points for the saints to pray-read, fellowship, and share. I believe that such a definite help will be very enriching.
If the saints are faithful, week after week, fifty-two weeks a year, they can obtain a thorough knowledge of the truth, gain the supply of life, and receive guidance concerning service. Besides these, in the small group meetings they can have the mutual care, they can all exercise their function, and they can preach the gospel and lead people to salvation. In this way we will be able to take care of all the aspects.
Although we may use materials published by the Taiwan Gospel Book Room, this does not mean that we should let go of the Bible. The aim of all the publications of the Taiwan Gospel Book Room, particularly the Life-study of the New Testament and the Recovery Version of the New Testament, is to bring people to the Lord and to the Word as soon as they open a volume. We hope that through reading these books we could be brought into the Lord and into His Word. I believe that all these meetings will not waste our time.
The church should also have a big gospel meeting every two months. If the meeting hall does not have sufficient seating capacity, we should rent a bigger meeting facility. In these special gospel meetings, it would be best to ask one or two saints to give their testimonies and to ask another one to receive the burden to release a message. For a series of gospel messages, the book Gospel Outlines may be quite useful. This book contains a total of two hundred and sixty-four choice gospel subjects selected from every book of the Old and New Testaments, from Genesis through Revelation. When you use this book, there is no need to always use the whole portion of a subject; you may use one half of the material of one subject and another half of the material of another subject, thus combining two subjects into one message. That book can surely supply a great deal of gospel material, and it can also provide us with many points and lines on the gospel.
I hope that from now on in every meeting the saints would not just give a message according to what pleases them. We all must enter into the depths of the truth; otherwise, we will not be able to minister to the saints in the meeting. We may illustrate in this way. When a teacher is teaching, he cannot just talk as he does ordinarily, speaking words “off the top of his head.” That would be irresponsible. Before he teaches, he must properly prepare the lesson. Furthermore, in his preparation, he must prepare according to the textbook; he cannot just gather any material he likes outside of the textbook. Today the lines have all been laid out. Whether for gospel lessons, for prayer, or for the Lord’s table, the guidelines have been pointed out to you. You have to enter into the depths; then eventually the content of your speaking will be the riches of the truth. In this way, after a period of time all the local churches will be rich in truth and vigorous in life.
(Speaking for God, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)