THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE CHURCHES
IN THE LORD’S RECOVERY
I am also concerned about the lack of fellowship among the churches in the Lord’s recovery. Our giving to meet the need of the churches should be done by individuals and by the churches in fellowship. We do not have the practice of centralization, especially in financial matters. If the church in your locality has a burden for another church, you should just give directly to them. Then you will be in fellowship with the church to whom you gave the gift, and they will be brought into fellowship with you. The New Testament shows that the apostle Paul had the burden to help the churches in Judea in their financial need, and he brought the other churches into this burden. This practice was to help the churches to communicate, to fellowship, with one another directly. We need more fellowship among the churches today. We also need a number of brothers in the work to travel through the needy churches to have fellowship with them and to bring them into the fellowship. There is the need for the "blood circulation," the fellowship, to reach all the parts of the Body.
Many of us need to go out to get acquainted with the churches. The circulation of the spiritual blood will become a strong factor in the Body to neutralize all the differences and take away any troubles. Perhaps some in certain areas may be afraid of being confused if others come to visit them. But there is nothing in the New Testament which indicates that the apostles tried to avoid confusion by exclusion. According to Paul’s writing, we realize that Apollos was not fully one with him in the work. Apollos was somewhat a factor of confusion, but Paul still recommended him (1 Cor. 16:12).
Based on this I want to advise us to open up our city, our region, and our country to the recovery, to all the saints. In the seven epistles to the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3, the word of the Lord to a particular church is the word of the Spirit to all the churches. On the one hand, in the eyes of the Lord, all the churches are distinct, but on the other hand, they are all the same. The Lord’s way is not to federate the churches, nor is it that the churches should be independent and separate from one another. All the churches should be dependent on one another and help one another.
Some of the co-workers may want to keep their locality or area of the country independent and, to some extent, isolated. According to our history, when this happened in the past, turmoil came out of these isolated areas and cities. Through the Lord’s mercy, the recovery has reached every continent. It is hard for the recovery to go on if we are lacking in communication, in fellowship. But to have fellowship, to have communication, we must try our best to avoid controlling. When we fellowship with other churches, we should not have the consideration of being under them. No church is under any other church. All the churches are on the same level. On the other hand, none of the workers should have the thought of controlling the churches that they visit.
All the churches need to be open to the fellowship in the Body. There are no Californian churches or Texan churches. In the Lord’s recovery, we have to be fully open to the Lord and open to one another. We should not be afraid that some different practices or teachings will come to our place. We need more fellowship among the churches. This will neutralize the differences among us. If you have been working in one place for years, it might be good for you to take the initiative to go to another place. One brother among us was captured for the church life in Odessa, Texas. Then he went to Los Angeles, to Anaheim, to San Bernardino, and back to Anaheim again. His going to San Bernardino was a great help to himself and to others.
I hope that my fellowship in these two chapters will impress you and protect you in the Lord’s recovery and in His ordained way, so that the Lord would use His recovery through His ordained way to build up His Body. If you keep yourself isolated in your environment and situation, that will be a loss to you and to the Lord’s interest. Furthermore, if you do not strive and struggle by sacrificing to pay the price to learn the "computer way" in contacting people for the gospel and in prophesying for the building up of the church, you will be behind in the Lord’s move. The Lord’s move is going on. To be kept in the Lord’s recovery, we must keep ourselves open to one another. Moreover, the only way that can speed us up into the Lord’s age, the Lord’s move with the God-ordained way, is for us to pay the price and endeavor to enter into the practice of the new way, the "computer way."
(Elders' Training, Book 10: The Eldership and the God-Ordained Way (2), Chapter 10, by Witness Lee)