The Training and the Practice of the Vital Groups, by Witness Lee


The only thing is this: when you take action, you should not do anything by trusting in yourself. Always hold the following prayerful attitude: “Lord, regardless of how much I’ve been working for You, without You I am nothing. I don’t depend upon anything from the human side. I only trust in You.” In 1963 I started to visit a group of saints in Las Vegas. Eventually, they made the decision to sell their hall and move to Los Angeles to meet with the church there, although I never said anything to them about doing this. I simply went there to minister Christ to them. Before I came to the United States, I did not dream that such things would happen. I did not dream that the Lord’s recovery would spread from the United States to countries like Russia and Poland.

You should not think that I can do something in the Lord but you cannot. This is wrong. All of you can do something in the Lord. You should just take action. The result depends upon His blessing. Throughout the years this has been my loving prayer: “Lord, I trust in Your mercy. I trust in Your blessing. I trust in Your presence. I trust in Your word. I trust in Your Spirit. I don’t have any trust at all in myself, in anything else, or in anyone else.” We all need to pray such a prayer. Many of us have received much equipping in the years that we have been in the Lord’s recovery. If we remain simple and single toward the Lord and take action in Him, He can work through us. If I would not have taken action to come to the United States thirty-two years ago, that would have been a great loss. I am saying this to encourage us all to take action.


When we take action, we should not forget that the main thing is to contact people. We must have an interest in people. We must love people and like to talk to people. Whether or not you know how to talk does not matter. You had better speak something you do not know. Sometimes I did this as a young person. People thought I knew a lot, but actually I did not know that much. But when we speak, the Lord has a way to speak through us. Do not forget that you do not need to talk too much. Just say a few sentences concerning Christ. You must sow the seed of Christ through your contact. This seed will grow. Now is the time for you all to take action. The more that you do, the more you will learn. What I have received through the years was mostly gained by doing and learning.


I would like to say a word to the elders concerning the going on of the vital groups. The elders should be those who shepherd the flock. They may be one hundred percent for the vital groups and yet not charge the flock. I am concerned that they may not contact the individual sheep to find out how they are doing in the vital groups. The elders must do something to raise up the saints. They are not only the shepherds but also the “head sheep” at the head of the flock. If the head sheep would not take action, the whole flock will be stopped. The elders do not need to rebuke others. They just need to take care of the sheep. Every week they should contact a few saints for fellowship. Such fellowship will stir up the saints to go on.

The elders should take some action to supervise, but they may not like to oversee others to find out the real situation. Some of them may be afraid to do this for fear that the saints will be offended. But I assure you that most of the saints want the elders to visit them. Most of the saints love the elders and want to see them and fellowship with them. A certain saint may not like the elders, but the elders should still try to visit him. After two years, he may tell a particular elder, “Probably you don’t know how much help you rendered to me. Without your coming to visit me two years ago, I would not be here. I might be out of the church life.”

We should not do things according to our culture or constitution. We should do things according to the need of the Lord. The Lord needs a flock; the Lord needs the elders to shepherd the flock. Of course, I noticed that many of the elders are very careful not to offend the saints or make them unhappy. This is good. But if the parents are always so good to the children and do not correct them, the children will be spoiled. I am saying this to point out that eventually the perfected saints will be grateful to the elders who care for them properly.

I am burdened for both the elders and the rest of the saints. The saints may think, “We are small; we have only one talent. What can we do? Even if we do something, there will probably be no result, so it is better not to do it. It is better to wait.” Then the elders may think, “We need to be careful not to touch the saints too much. If we touch them too much, we will interfere with them, bother them, offend them, and lose them.” Thus, the elders do not feel free, because they have been bound by the saints.

I am burdened that all the saints would rise up to take action. I am also burdened to see the elders rise up to supervise and shepherd the flock in order to help them go on in the way of the vital groups. If all of us rise up to contact people every day, the Lord will really have a way to gain something. Just contact one or two people each day. If you do not know how to speak, just speak. If you speak, you will learn how to speak. This training should usher in your action. There is no reason or excuse that you would not take action to contact people.

(The Training and the Practice of the Vital Groups, Chapter 11, by Witness Lee)