RECEIVING A BURDEN TO CARE FOR AND NOURISH THE NEW ONES IN THE HOME MEETINGS
The first step for practicing the new way, the God-ordained way, is to knock on doors and bring people to be saved and baptized. The second step is to set up meetings in the new ones’ homes to feed and care for them. We can say that the practice of these first two steps has been very successful. So far, we have knocked on the doors of more than one hundred thousand homes, baptized more than six thousand people, and set up approximately one thousand nine hundred home meetings with more than three thousand people meeting regularly. In other words, of the newly baptized ones, more than half are meeting regularly in the homes. On the one hand, this proves that the new way is workable, and on the other hand, it shows us how great the need is. Now the churches in all the localities are rising up to coordinate and receive training in the new way. This will meet the need considerably.
After the successful practice of the first two steps of the new way, we must go on to the third step, which is to lead the new ones in the home meetings to advance in the truth and to grow in life. This is not just nourishing but teaching. Because this step affects the constitution of the entire church life, its importance is evident. Leading a big meeting or a training is not a problem for us because for many years we already have had much experience. When we speak of leading the home meetings, however, I am afraid that we do not know what to do. Although the principles are the same for both big meetings and small meetings, the practices which we learned in the past can easily be used to take care of the big meetings but are very inadequate to take care of the weekly home meetings. Therefore, we need to learn and spend much time in the study of how to successfully take the third step of the new way.
With respect to the fourth step, we hope that after six months of teaching in life and truth, we can care for and perfect the new ones to truly, practically, and fully have the church life. In other words, the fourth step is to bring the new ones into the full knowledge of the church, that they would intrinsically know what the church is and enter into the practical church life. By that time, the church life will be completely built up in the homes. This is our goal.
PREPARATION FOR LEADING AND CARING FOR THE HOME MEETINGS
Receiving a Definite Burden from the Lord
There are a few things we must learn before we go to lead the home meetings. First, the saints raised up in the localities must have a clear burden from the Lord to consecrate two or three hours every week to Him. This time is not for empty running or aimless working, but for definitely going to lead and care for two home meetings, spending less than one hour in each home. Each home meeting should, at the most, last for fifty minutes; we must learn to be economical in our use of time.
In the past the big meetings choked the service of the saints, disabling their spirit for service and preventing the release of their desire to serve. Now the practice of the new way gives us an outlet. Unless we do not have a heart to serve, the six thousand new saints in two thousand households are a good opportunity for us to learn how to serve. We must pick up the burden in a definite way and not in a way that is careless or without much consideration. We must have a willing heart to really learn how to do this.
I hope that the full-time trainees would take the lead and help all the saints in the churches who have a serving heart to take the proper way. The trainees’ function is to lead the saints and not to replace them. The saints should, on the one hand, follow the trainees to learn something and, on the other hand, follow the Lord’s leading to receive a burden from Him to take care of two specific home meetings. Once the saints have received the burden, they should not carry out this burden half-way or in an inconsistent manner. They must go again and again to nourish and care for the new ones to such an extent that they understand and are completely sure about the new ones’ situation so that they know how to bring them on.
Furthermore, the elders must be careful to not constantly change those who lead or take care of a home meeting. Otherwise, this will be like changing a child’s nursing mother so frequently that the child loses its sense of security and has a hard time growing normally. Just as children need a sense of security, a home meeting also needs a sense of stability, so that the new ones will feel they can trust the church and be willing to receive its leading to go on. We all love the Lord, have a heart to serve Him, and are willing to consecrate two or three hours. Therefore, we should solemnly receive the burden from the Lord to lead and care for the new ones just as we lead and care for our children. Actually, they are our children. We should pray for them and care for everything about them. This is the first matter of our preparation.
(The Furtherance of the New Way for the Lord's Recovery, Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)