The Training and the Practice of the Vital Groups, by Witness Lee


I would like us to take note of a few points to help us go on with the Lord:

1. We all have had some start.

2. We need to improve, to grow, to mature.

3. We are used to analyzing, to lingering, and to doubting about what we have experienced, and we would not forget about what we have experienced and be brought on to maturity, to perfection.

We need to realize, however, that we are not worthy of being analyzed. We have to say, “Thank You, Lord, that You have afforded me to learn the ‘ABCs.’” This is better than nothing. Yet we also have to say, “Lord, grant me further favor that I could learn more.” Maybe we have the feeling that we have not started so well. This kind of feeling, on the one hand, urges us to go on. Yet on the other hand, it is also a kind of hindrance, because we do not have the assurance that we have started. We may say, “I have repented, but now I feel my repentance is not that thorough. I have made confession, but it was not a thorough confession.” But how thorough is it to be thorough? Again, this is a matter of degree. I believe that a number of us have had times to repent and confess. But you may have gone to the Lord again to say, “Lord, have mercy upon me. I don’t think my repentance and my confession are thorough. I want to repent and confess again.” We have to be careful about this because we may be going back to lay a foundation of repentance after we have already laid this foundation (Heb. 6:1, 4a, 6). The more we do this, the more we lose our confidence and assurance.

Satan is subtle, and our self is also hard to deal with. No one among us can have a thorough, “one hundred percent,” start. No one among us can have a repentance with a confession that is thorough to the uttermost. So we should not be disappointed, nor should we be contented. We can pray, “Lord, thank You. Since I heard the messages on the vital groups, I have started, Lord, by Your mercy, to repent and confess. Yet dear Lord, You know that my repentance needs to be improved, my confession needs to grow, and my whole practice in the vital groups needs to mature. I look to You to take me on.”

I want to say again that the Lord is the One full of authority, full of power. He has the key, the power, to open the door that no one can shut, and He has the power to shut the door that no one can open. Yet He was so clear about the situation of His best church. Even His best church had only a little power. The Lord was satisfied with this. The Lord did not expect that this top church could have great power—just a little power. But why was the Lord so appreciative of this church? Because she had a little power and also kept His word and did not deny His name. We do have a little power, and we can pray, “Lord, thank You for Your mercy. We have started. Yet Lord, we still need more mercy. Have more and more mercy upon us that we could go on, that we could grow, that we could improve, and that we could mature.”


I feel in these days that we must stress one thing: to contact people. As one who is practicing to be vital, you have to contact people—either the saints or the sinners. You have to contact people—either your direct, close relatives or your distant friends. Just contact people. If you are led to go out to knock on “cold doors,” that is all right. You do not necessarily need to wait until you are finished contacting all your relatives, friends, classmates, and colleagues. It all depends upon how you feel. If you feel that now you should go out to knock on cold doors, that might be the leading of the Lord to you.

But I also want to mention another thing as a warning. In spiritual matters, we naturally like to choose to do the easy thing. We do not like to do the hard thing. We like to preach the gospel in an easy way with instant results. We may want to pass out some tracts at a bank or a supermarket. Someone who does this may be very fortunate to meet a man who gets baptized the next day, and eventually his whole family comes into the church life. However, such a fortunate thing does not take place often. You may go to the bank for ten weeks and gain no one. You may go to the supermarket for twelve weeks and gain no one. To labor in the gospel you need to exercise your endurance.

The point I am stressing is this: do not get a new one quickly baptized and think you have finished your job. You should not say, “Hallelujah, I have gained some fruit,” and think that is all you need to do. Yes, you may have gained some fruit, but be sure that this fruit will never remain. This is not the proper way to contact someone. The proper way to contact a person is to make him a constant contact of yours. Whoever you gain should be kept by you as your constant contact. Even if someone has not yet been begotten by you in the Lord, you have to contact him as your child. It may be that he will be begotten by you next week or even next year, so you have to keep him as your constant contact.

(The Training and the Practice of the Vital Groups, Chapter 10, by Witness Lee)