OPENING TO ONE ANOTHER IN THE GROUP MEETINGS
I have mentioned many points concerning the group meetings, but few have put them into practice. I have mentioned that we need to come to the group meetings in a living way, either by singing, praising, or praying. We also need to open to one another in the group meetings. If we come together without singing, praying, or praising and without a willingness to open to one another, the group meeting will suffer. Many of us will not open ourselves up to others. We do not like to let others know the things that have happened to us in our ordinary daily life. We may like others to tell their stories, but we do not like to tell our own story. Some object to opening to others they do not know, but even those who have known each other for a long time do not like to open to one another. We must learn to open to one another. In saying this, I do not mean that we should open everything to others without restriction. Such a practice would be foolish. But we do need to learn to open our ordinary, daily matters to our fellow believers.
Without the proper opening of ourselves to one another, it is difficult to practice the group meetings. Without this proper opening, there is no possibility to have the mutual intercession, mutual care, or mutual shepherding. Furthermore, if we do not have these things, it is difficult to have the mutual teaching through asking and answering questions. Thus, the group meeting depends upon our opening to one another.
MUTUAL TEACHING ACCORDING TO
OUR CAPACITY IN THE GROUP MEETINGS
The teaching in the group meetings is carried out through asking and answering questions in a mutual way. In this matter we must realize that we have all been reborn with God’s life and nature and that there is a certain capacity in the divine life. The divine life is greater than our natural life, so the capacity in the divine life is also greater and richer than our natural life. But the degree to which each of us is able to function still differs. Some are very capable, while others are not so capable. There is a big difference between a person who has been saved many years and one who has been saved for a few days. In every group there will be some capable ones who have been in the church life for a number of years and who are more knowledgeable than others in the group. These saints should bear more responsibility in the meetings, yet they should not be assigned to do this in an official way. To make anything official would kill the situation. These saints should function voluntarily out of a willingness to pick up the burden.
In a group of four brothers and sisters who have come together with their spiritual children, two of them may be able to render more help in teaching than the other two. Although we all should try to teach, those who are more capable in teaching should spontaneously pick up more burden in teaching. Those who are less capable in teaching should learn more. In order to teach, we all have to learn. If you are not rich in knowing the Bible or rich in experiencing Christ, you will not have much to teach others. Therefore, in attending the group meetings, you should always have an attitude of learning.
TEACHING AND PERFECTING IN THE GROUP MEETINGS
Second Timothy 2:2 says, "And the things which you have heard from me through many witnesses, these commit to faithful men, who will be competent to teach others also." Paul charged Timothy—a gifted co-worker—to commit what he had heard to faithful men who would be competent to teach others. How should Timothy have carried out this word? According to Acts 20:20 Paul’s way was to teach publicly and from house to house. The way to practice teaching from house to house is revealed in Hebrews 10:24-25: "And let us consider one another for inciting to love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the custom with some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the day drawing near." Verse 24 says that we must "consider one another for inciting to love and good works." We must incite one another to love and to good works. Verse 25 mentions "not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together." The meaning of this phrase is that we should not forsake our own assembly. This assembly, according to the context, must be some kind of group meeting.
This meeting should not be too large or too small. If it is too large, it is difficult for you to consider one another or to incite one another. If it is too small, you may lose your interest in meeting together. If only three or four come together in a regular way, it is hard to stir up the interest of the attendants. According to our experience, it is better to have at least twelve members in the group meeting in order to keep the interest of those meeting together. The best number for the group meeting is between fifteen to twenty. With fifteen to twenty, it is easy to hold the interest of all the attendants.
(Messages to the Trainees in Fall 1990, Chapter 16, by Witness Lee)