Elders' Training, Book 09: The Eldership and the God-Ordained Way (1), by Witness Lee

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It is only when the church has degraded and deviated from the line of life, that organization is needed. If the elders take the lead in an organizational way, this indicates that the church has degraded. If the elders live in the spirit by life to nourish, cherish, and shepherd the church, they are not organizational but organic. When a local church is organic, all the serving ones serve organically.

A brother who is a deacon may say that he serves merely because he was appointed and has no choice. This is organizational. If we ask another brother why he serves, he may say, "Praise the Lord! The Lord is within me. He leads me and burdens me to love Him, and I like to serve the saints. I do not care whether I was appointed to be a deacon or not. Even if the church did not appoint me, I would still like to serve more." This brother’s service is organic. To be in the realm of organization is to be in degradation.

The wrong teaching about the apostles keeping their hands off the church after their appointing of the elders is a degradation into organization. Brother Nee appointed the elders in Shanghai and he still remained there to help the church and the other churches until he was imprisoned. There was no argument in the Lord’s recovery organizationally because we practiced the church administration organically, altogether in life.

All the elders should nourish, cherish, and shepherd the church, but they still need the gifts, such as the apostles, prophets, and evangelists, to come periodically to help them. What if the elders in a certain locality reject an apostle? To merely assert his position as an apostle in an outward way would be organizational. He must deal with them and help them in an organic way. He may express his attitude in the following way: "I have appointed you as elders. Even if you now reject me, I still love you. I still love the church. I will still speak the word of God to you and do my best to help the church and heal you." This is organic.

We need to come out of all the human, worldly, and organizational ways of Christianity. For over sixty-six years, starting with Brother Nee, we have followed the Bible organically. This is why we say that the elders should not control the churches. We have the burden to help the elders shepherd the church, nourish the church, and cherish the church. We will just do our best to minister the word and to help the churches.

(Elders' Training, Book 09: The Eldership and the God-Ordained Way (1), Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)