TEACHING IN MUTUALITY FOR THE PERFECTING OF THE SAINTS
After fellowship, intercession, mutual care, and shepherding which includes the rendering of some help, we come to the main purpose of the group meeting—the perfecting of the saints. To perfect the saints is to edify, educate, and raise them up. This perfecting depends upon our teaching, but we should not teach in the way that Christianity does with one man teaching and the rest listening. That way does not develop the gifts of the saints. In the group meeting, the teaching is carried out by every member in mutuality. If we have an assigned teacher, everyone will come merely to hear this teacher’s teaching. That might be considered as a kind of group meeting, but that is the old way; that is not what the Bible reveals as a group meeting, especially Hebrews 10:24-25: “Let us consider one another for inciting to love and good works,…exhorting one another.” These verses show that a group meeting is full of mutuality. Every time we come together in the group meeting, everyone is exercised to practice. By this practice everyone is developed in their spiritual function, gift, and ability. In the group meeting, everyone is both a teacher and a learner. Everyone is both an asker and an answerer. Every answer becomes a part of the teaching in the group meeting.
Because the group meeting should have some very young believers, we must learn to begin our teaching with something very simple. One of the new ones may say, “I was saved one week ago and was also baptized, but I do not understand what baptism is. What is baptism?” If after such a question, everyone would turn to a certain brother for a reply, this is the way of religion. Even if the question was directed toward a particular brother, it would be altogether right for a sister to say, “I would like to tell you something concerning baptism.” This shows the livingness of the meeting.
In our speaking we should not be formal or religious, but come directly to the point. A sister may say, “Baptism is when we put you into the water, and the water is very significant.” This is simple and direct; this is a good beginning, but this sister or someone else should continue by sharing some of the significances of the water, using some verses from the Bible. We all must learn to function together as one teacher—a sister shares something, I may add something more, and several others would add other points. However, we should not do this in a foolish way. We must care for a proper continuation in our teaching and cover the points of the truth step by step. Eventually, after about five minutes, seven different saints may have spoken a point concerning baptism. These seven points added together should be a very good short message concerning baptism.
There may be a brother among us who is more experienced and knowledgeable in the truth, but he must learn not to be the only teacher in the group meeting. He should exercise to sit and listen while all the attendants function. Then at a certain point, he may feel that this subject has been covered but that there is the need of a conclusion. Then this brother may give a word as a conclusion to the seven persons’ speakings in order to complete this short “message.” In this way everyone learns something in a short period of time.
In practicing the group meeting, although we are teaching others, we must realize that we are also learning how to teach. We should not think that our teaching is that good or complete. A new believer may say, “I was baptized last week, and I noticed that you were all calling on the Lord. And you also asked me to call on the Lord. But when I called on the Lord this week, I did not have any feeling. It seems that you have some feeling. Why don’t I have any feeling?” We may be able to respond to this question in many ways, but we must learn to answer such a question in a simple and direct way. Someone might answer saying, “Calling on the name of the Lord is just like breathing. Quite often when we breathe we don’t have any feeling, but when we breathe deeply, we do have some feeling. In the same way, the louder you call, the more feeling you will have.” With a short word of only a few sentences, we can answer such a question.
(The Exercise and Practice of the God-Ordained Way, Chapter 25, by Witness Lee)