REACHING PEOPLE BY GOING TO WHERE THEY ARE
In this message I have no intention to stir up a so-called revival. In over sixty years of Christian experience, I have found that the way of big revivals does not work. What really works is the way ordained by God and revealed in the New Testament. The God-ordained way to preach the gospel is by every believer going to visit people to preach the gospel to them personally and directly. The New Testament charges us to “go!” (Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:15). We must go to reach people by visiting them where they are. To visit people for the gospel preaching is not merely to knock on doors; it is to reach people where they are. The Lord Jesus Himself went to reach people (Matt. 4:18-22; 9:9; John 4:1-42), and He also sent the twelve to do the same (Luke 9:1-6). Then He sent seventy to go into every city and place to find the homes of the sons of peace (Luke 10:1, 4-5). Physically speaking, as one person, the Lord could not go to many villages to visit that many people, so He sent the seventy to do this visiting work.
The basic principle in preaching the gospel is for you to go to people; do not ask them to come to you. If you will go to them, you will see that this makes a big difference. Go to a sinner’s home to visit him. Sit down with him and talk to him. Take the lead to pray with him, asking him to follow you. Then you could say: “Because you have prayed to the Lord Jesus and have believed in Him, you are now qualified to be baptized. Let us baptize you in the bathtub.” This is absolutely different from inviting people to come to you. Many of the saints have been quite successful in preaching the gospel in this God-ordained way.
BEING FLEXIBLE IN OUR WAY OF REACHING PEOPLE
We must be flexible in our way of reaching people in the gospel preaching. What does it mean to be flexible? Human beings are very legalistic. We easily make everything a legality. In the full-time training in Taipei, because there were so many large high-rise apartment buildings, we instructed the trainees to always turn to the left after leaving a door. In that kind of building, there might be over eighty units on one floor, so this kind of instruction helped the trainees make efficient use of their time. But in the United States, we do not have so many large high-rise apartment buildings. Many people live in single houses. To rigidly practice this kind of “turning to the left” in the United States may not work so well because the situation is quite different.
The best way for the saints to visit homes is to form teams. Ideally, a team should have three persons, one older, one younger, and one middle-aged, with either one sister and two brothers or one brother and two sisters. But in the United States, many have taken this as a legality. Because we could not get an older one or a younger one, we would not form a team. Therefore, nothing is done because of our legality. We all must learn to be flexible. This does not mean that I am annulling my previous fellowship. If you practice those things, they will work; but it all depends upon the situation.
DIFFERENT WAYS TO REACH PEOPLE WITH THE GOSPEL
Do not think that the only way to reach people is by going as a team of three. There are many ways to visit people. In this message, I will present a number of different ways to reach people with the gospel.
Visiting Our Close Relatives
The first and best way is to visit your close relatives. Suppose you go to visit your grandfather. Although your grandfather loves you, he may not listen to you, so you should take some mature brothers with you. Then when you go to visit your grandfather, he will listen to these brothers and get saved and baptized. What you could not do in twenty-five years of preaching to him, these brothers could do in a short visit.
You also have many other relatives to reach with the gospel. You should make a list of all your relatives and go to visit each one. You do not need to knock on strangers’ doors. A stranger may slam the door in your face. Those are “cold doors.” You better go first to the “warm doors.” Your close relatives would never slam the door. You have the right to visit them. There are so many “warm doors,” so many close relatives, for us to visit with the gospel.
(The Exercise and Practice of the God-Ordained Way, Chapter 7, by Witness Lee)