IV. THE DIRECTIONS IN COORDINATION
The directions in coordination are three, which we have already spoken about. They are the gospel, the perfecting, and the service. Every one of these three items of church service is a direction in coordination. In their management of the church and in bringing the brothers and sisters into the coordination, first the elders have to take the gospel as their direction. They must coordinate the brothers and sisters to preach the gospel. Second, they must take the perfecting as a direction, perfecting them in the coordination. Third, they must take the service as a direction, bringing them into the church service. The directions in coordination are always these three things: the gospel, the perfecting, and the service. The sixteen points mentioned earlier discuss how we bring the brothers and sisters step by step into the coordination. Here we are talking about what direction they should take after they have been coordinated together.
A. The Gospel
The first direction in coordination is to help the brothers and sisters to preach the gospel. The elders must always lead them in the direction of the gospel. They must help the saints to be active in the gospel, to strive in the gospel, and to bear fruit in the gospel. They must bring the new ones into the church through the gospel. In other words, they have to continually spread the Lord’s kingdom through the gospel.
Never think that anyone can preach the gospel; no, there are certain qualifications here. You can see that some are effective in preaching the gospel, whereas others are not effective in preaching the gospel. With some preaching, people will be saved. With some other preaching, no one will be saved. There is a question of the way and the method. I hope the brothers and sisters would pay attention to the following points.
The elders must lead the brothers and sisters to be zealous in the gospel. If a local church is lacking in zeal for the gospel, that church must be sick. Regardless whether a local church is large or small, it must have zeal for the gospel. Of course, the elders have to personally cultivate this zeal for the gospel.
a. The elders themselves have to pray for zeal for the gospel.
b. The elders have to have zeal for the gospel themselves.
c. The elders have to gather the brothers and sisters together to have some prayers of the church, asking for the zeal of the gospel. All the brothers and sisters have to come together to call on the Lord, to ask God to stir up the fire of the gospel, so that everyone would acquire a zeal for the gospel. Oh, dear brothers and sisters, the fire of the gospel needs to be stirred up. If you do not stir it up, it will not burn. Please remember that according to God’s ordination, the fire of the burnt offering on the Old Testament altar must not go out from morning to evening and from evening to morning. It was necessary for the priests to add wood to that fire continually. The priests had to be responsible to take care of it and to keep it burning. In the same way, the zeal of the gospel needs the stirring up of the elders.
I hope the elders would have an impression that one of the jobs of the elders is to stir up the fire of the gospel in their local church. They have to increase the wood regularly, stir up the fire regularly, and cause the brothers and sisters to become zealous for the gospel regularly. It is not right to go to a local church and find the brothers and sisters interested in spiritual things, yet cold towards the gospel. There is something wrong in this kind of situation. No matter how big a church is and how mature and deep in experience it is, it must have the fire of the gospel. This is one thing that the elders have to be responsible for. The church must have zeal for the gospel.
(The Elders' Management of the Church, Chapter 13, by Witness Lee)