NOT BEARING TOO MANY CHILDREN
The first item regarding raising up children is that you cannot care properly for too many. When you baptize someone, you are very happy, but you have to realize that this person is now your babe. You must take care of him and raise him up as your child. You are now a mother, and you have to assume the responsibilities of motherhood. This is very troublesome. Every young lady wants to get married and have children, but after she has had three children, she may weep and say, “I do not want any more children.” This is because raising up children is so difficult. Therefore, if you have too many new ones to take care of, you will not be able to do it properly.
It is good to have spiritual children, but do not have too many. In Taipei when we were experimenting with the new way, we broke this principle. We considered that the more we could baptize, the better. We baptized so many that we could not care for all of them adequately. It seems that we had only begetting ones, without anyone to feed these newborn babes. Through this we learned that every believer who preaches the gospel must also care for the new ones as a mother raising up her own children. To have home meetings is the way to fulfill this responsibility.
TAKING THE WAY OF INDIVIDUAL FAMILIES
The home meeting is for raising up the newborn believers, not only as your children but also as God’s growing children. This is the unique shortage among us and also among all of Christianity. Wherever there is a group of Christians, and among them there is the proper care for the new ones, that church will become quite large. However, this work cannot be carried out on a large scale by the church as a whole; it must be done through the individual families.
In society it is difficult to raise up children on a large scale. If every family raises three or four children in their home, eventually, many proper persons will be produced to benefit society. Every team is a family. If you are a team of three members, you must become a family raising up the new ones as your children, yet considering them as God’s children. You are simply nursing mothers doing the work of raising up these children for God.
To carry out this kind of work, you must keep certain principles. You should not leave the raising up of your children to others. Do not go out to do other things, leaving your children under others’ care. You must “stay home” and take care of your children directly by yourself. To leave your children in the care of others for even a short time may cause some damage; they may suffer and not grow so well. The work of raising up the new ones must be under your direct care.
Then you should not try to care for too many at one time. As a team of three, you should be able to take care of six to ten new ones. Once you have this many to care for, you should stop going out to baptize more and concentrate your energy, time, and attention on these six to ten. It is best to care for these new ones for about two years. For the first half year, you should render intensive care, visiting them twice each week for two months and then once each week for four months. During this period of time, to leave your children as orphans to be raised by others would cause much damage. Instead, you should fall in love with your children and be willing to sacrifice yourselves for them. Without the sacrifices of its mother, no child could be raised properly.
Based upon my study and our history of nearly sixty-five years, I have found that the only way to raise up a proper church life is by begetting babes and raising them up as children. This is the way to fulfill the Lord’s commandment to go and disciple all the nations (Matt. 28:19). To disciple the nations, we must start by discipling individuals, yet we cannot go alone; we must go as a team. The best number to have in a team is three. On the one hand, to have too many on a team may allow too many opinions to come in, but on the other hand, to have only two on a team would be too few because these two may quarrel. Therefore, a third member is needed to balance them. Also, if the members are not the same age, this will help to balance the team. We all must learn how to work together as a team without any opinion. Then our team can become a family, working together year-round to raise up the Lord’s children.
(The Exercise and Practice of the God-Ordained Way, Chapter 21, by Witness Lee)