PRACTICAL POINTS CONCERNING THE WAY TO GO ON
I would like to say a word to the elders. In our locality we should not do anything in haste. At the present time, some of the saints may not feel good about changing our way of meeting from one person speaking to a meeting of mutuality with all prophesying. They may be concerned that nothing will come out if we begin to meet in mutuality and that this will result in a drop in attendance. We need to consider the situation of the saints in our locality. We have to fellowship with the saints who are concerned and with the whole church. We also have to help the prophesying in the larger church meetings. The elders need to do a supporting work. If the church is having a prophesying meeting and nothing substantial comes out in forty minutes, the elders need to take the last fifteen minutes to speak a word to the saints. When we first begin to take the way of meeting in mutuality, this may be needed. A word from the leading ones in the final fifteen minutes will fill in the gap. The elders should exercise to be very flexible in bringing the church into this God-ordained way of meeting. As long as we have a will, there is a way. We have the Bible and many spiritual books that open up the Bible. These can help us to get ourselves prepared to give a word full of the riches of Christ. In some meetings there may be no need for the elders to supply something special to support the meeting. But when we begin to take this way of meeting, the elders and certain gifted ones need to get themselves prepared and need to be on the alert to supply a word full of the riches of Christ if the meeting is empty. This God-ordained way will open up the mine for the riches of Christ to be released.
Every group meeting is a digging meeting, and every district meeting, the larger meeting of the church, is a meeting to exhibit, to display, the riches. If we have fifty meeting together on the Lord’s Day, I believe five will be very rich. They will always have some riches in their pocket. If the others in the meeting do something to support and to supply the meeting, that is sufficient. If they do not, some of the rich ones can function to make up the lack. Therefore, no meeting will be empty.
It would be very difficult for other Christian groups to take the way of all speaking in mutuality. The Bible has not been opened up among them, and they have very few books to help them get into the riches of the Bible. But with us it is different. Many of the brothers and sisters in the recovery have the riches of Christ, and they have the capacity to release these riches for the building up of the Body. They need to be given the opportunity to practice to release their riches. If we will be faithful to take the Lord’s ordained way, I believe that all the local churches will be brought on the right track within ten years. By that time the “custom” of the new way will be built up in the Lord’s recovery.
Furthermore, we should not despise anyone or any church if they do not fully practice the ordained way. Criticism and gossip obviously are absolutely not from the Spirit. Whether a brother or sister takes this way or not, they are still in the hand of the Lord. Whether a church takes this way or not should be left to the Lord. All of the churches and all of the saints are members of the Body of Christ in the recovery. Whether someone takes this way or not should not concern us. But since we have seen something, we should be faithful to practice what we have seen.
We must also realize that the gifted persons have to perfect the saints. The best way and the best place to perfect the saints is in the group meetings. If you are a gifted person, you should go to a group meeting to perfect the saints in that group. When you are with them, you can observe them and get to know everyone’s condition. Then you can not only perfect them in the meetings but also perfect them outside the meetings by going to be with them. Paul said in Acts 20 that he taught the saints publicly and from house to house (v. 20) and that he admonished each one with tears (v. 31). He taught the saints not only in the big meetings but also in the homes and one by one. This is a detailed, fine work. It takes much labor and time. If I am a person who has the portion, the capacity, and the gift to perfect the saints, I should attend a group meeting all the time. As everyone speaks in the group meeting, I will get to know their real situation. Then I can go to their homes to spend personal time with them. Perhaps I could visit one person each week to have a direct talk with each one of them. This is for the purpose of promoting each one’s gifts, to develop his capacity, and to enrich his speaking. We can render much tutoring by this one-on-one contact. In this way the saints will be perfected face to face by some of the gifted persons. This labor will not be in vain because some saints will be perfected. Eventually, the saints will be perfected to do what the gifted persons do. Furthermore, the gifted persons will produce gifted persons.
In the old way, there was not such a result because the way was wrong. In this producing way, we all learn to do something and to share something, and we will fully use our capacity to function. Then the riches of Christ will come out of every member of His Body. We will perfect one another, and everyone will be perfected. It may be that in a five-year period, we will perfect someone. But after this, he will perfect us because he has learned more. By this God-ordained way, everyone will be perfected, everyone will be useful, and everyone will have the development of his capacity in the divine life. Every saint will be occupied, and no time, energy, or persons will be wasted. The numbers will increase, and the life and spiritual knowledge will grow. We need to cooperate with our Lord to take His ordained way to organically build up the Body of Christ.
(A Summary of the Study of the New Testament Way of Christian Service, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)