The Life and Way for the Practice of the Church Life, by Witness Lee


Furthermore, we should never have anything organized among the workers. Just as with the church nothing should be organized, so also with the workers nothing should be organized. You are just a servant of the Lord, and the others are also servants of the Lord. If you are asked to work with certain co-workers, you just come together by the Lord’s guidance and go on to work together. Maybe this year we will work together, and the next year you will feel led by the Lord to go to another place. Whether we work together or we work separately, there is no problem. Whether we are here or we are there, we do not work for ourselves. Our intention is just to help people to know Christ and to be built up and strengthened as a local expression of His Body. If this is the case, there will be no trouble among us. But if we have something organized, a lot of problems will arise.

Furthermore, do not try to unify the work. Do not say, "We are in America, so we should be unified. Let us have a conference to unify the situation." This is wrong. We strongly insist on having the unity, but we are altogether against unification and uniformity. I have the full assurance that in the early days the churches in Judea were quite different from the churches in the Gentile world. The apostles did not try to unify the churches or make them uniform.


The church in Los Angeles may use one cup for the Lord’s table, and the church in San Francisco may use many cups. That is all right. Let them be different. The brothers in one locality may practice immersion, and the brothers in another locality may practice sprinkling. Be liberal. Do not try to unify their action; do not try to make them uniform. What good is it for all of us to be unified or uniform? As long as our intention is to build up the Body of Christ, it is good enough.

Perhaps some will accuse me of being too liberal. Actually, I know which practice is better and which practice is inferior, but what I mean is that there is not much difference in reality, in spirituality, between this and that. There is no need to insist that everyone do the same thing.

All the local brothers and sisters have to learn the same lesson of being liberal. Whatever is good for helping people know Christ, we are for it. Whatever is good for the preaching of the gospel to get sinners saved, we have to be for it. However, whatever is divisive, factious, we must keep our hands off.

Do not say, "I am of Paul" or "I am of Apollos" or "I am of Peter." Do not regard someone as higher than others. If their ministry is a help to you, take it. You have to realize that you are not for any ministry, but you are for the church, for the expression of the Body of Christ. Do not say that you are for this brother or that brother. This is something fleshly (1 Cor. 3:4). We recognize that all the servants of the Lord are sent by the Lord and are given as gifts to His Body and that they have different ministries. We take all the good matters of these ministries. But if there is anything factious, divisive, we have to be careful.

None of us is here for the ministry. We are all here for the Body, the church. The workers should take the attitude that their work is not for their own ministry, and all the local saints should learn the lesson not to stand for anything other than the church. Simply stand for the local expression of the church because the local church, not the ministry, is the lampstand for Christ.

By the Lord’s mercy, I am a brother with a ministry here. If the saints here are standing for my ministry instead of the local expression, I have to tell you that you are wrong. You should not stand for any ministry, even my ministry. What you have to stand for is the church, the local church. Any minister with any ministry or any worker with any work who comes here must be for the local church. If it is not for the local church, you have to say, "No, you are going to build up something other than the lampstand, something other than the local expression of the Body. We would not go along with this."

We know God’s eternal purpose in this age is to build up the churches in different localities as the local expressions of Christ for the building up of the Body of Christ. We are absolutely for this. If we would all learn to take such an attitude, that would be a great help to the practice of the church life. What the Lord is going to build up is the local church, not the ministry, as the expression of Christ. The ministry is just a means, an instrument, for the Lord to build up the local church for the building up of the Body of Christ.

(The Life and Way for the Practice of the Church Life, Chapter 13, by Witness Lee)