Without the basics of prayer and the Word, our gospel preaching will be ineffective. However, we still need another practical help to make our gospel preaching work prevailing. If we only have prayer and the word without this little help, our work will not be as effective as possible. This little additional help is the homes. The book of Acts records that the apostles preached the gospel from house to house (Acts 5:42). At the end of Acts, Paul preached the gospel in a rented lodging, a house, not a chapel or cathedral (Acts 28:30). Before he was put into prison, Paul rented a house for the purpose of preaching and speaking the word to people. If you preach a gospel message in a cathedral, it will not be as attractive as the same message preached in your home. People who are saved in homes often become very useful to the Lord. George Müller is a good example of a useful brother who was saved in a home.
Our homes have several advantages. In America many freshmen attend college away from home. Since they are considered full-grown, they may leave home once they have graduated from high school. Many of them are lonely and homesick. If we invite them into our living rooms for a little snack or perhaps a dinner, they will feel at home and this will open them to the Lord and the truth. Furthermore, people do not have a goal and they are tired of their old manner of life. This situation is sovereign of the Lord. Once a young person graduates from high school, he usually begins to think about the goal and meaning of his life. Many young people today do not have a goal. They are wondering what to do and where to go. They do not have a goal in their human life. The material riches of America cannot satisfy the hearts of the young people. Therefore, we must take this opportunity to fill up the gap in their hearts with Christ. The best way to do this is by opening up our homes.
The way to open up the homes is in the Body in a coordinated way. Do not try to do it by yourself. I hope every local church will have a good coordination. Pray, fellowship, and see if there are any homes near the campus in your locality that are available. Try to get a home close to the campus. Even if you have to pay more rent for a house close to the campus, it is worthwhile. This matter requires much fellowship.
There is also a need to fellowship concerning who will go to the campus and who will stay home to take care of practical matters such as cooking and washing dishes. The financial matters also require a good coordination. A person may have the financial ability to rent or purchase a house but not have the ability to afford food and refreshments. One brother may have a house but not much money, whereas another brother may have some money but not a house. One brother may make an offering so that snacks can be served to the seeking young ones that come to another brother’s house. We need the coordination. All the saints in each locality have to coordinate together for the gospel work on the college campuses.
If in the Lord’s sovereignty, an elderly couple gets a house close to the campus, they might need help with all the practical work around the house. If they cannot sweep, vacuum, or cook, they can still pray and eat with the new ones. Then others can help with the shopping, cooking, and dishwashing. If the saints in every locality are well coordinated, the new ones will be inspired with what they see. They will see the real social life, communal life, and family life. Our service in coordination will touch, soften, and warm up their heart to receive the living, piercing word (Heb. 4:12). Once a freshman is brought into your living room, most of the work is already done.
Suppose a locality has fifteen homes. Every home could serve at least ten to fifteen students. With just fifteen homes about two hundred students could be served. The freshmen, who have left their homes, may feel especially lonely and homesick on the weekends. Before the weekend, our young people should contact them and make appointments with them. In one week they could make twenty appointments. Once the appointments have been made, there is the need for further coordination. There is the need for singing, for someone to give a short message, and for many speakers. There is enough to keep everyone busy.
Some may say that this is too much and that it would cost too much money. But if we do not spend our money in this way, how are we going to spend it? If we spend our money to gain the young people, the more we spend, the more the Lord will give. All the money and time that we spend on the church life is put into a savings account. This savings account is not in a bank but in the heavens (Phil. 4:15-19). We deposit in this account by our giving to the Lord for His interests.
If we have a burden for preaching the gospel, we must take care of three things. First, we have to pray; second, we have to speak the word; and third, we have to use our homes. We should be aggressive and active in the Spirit for the spread of the gospel. We can fill each city with our gospel tracts and speaking. We can also fill our homes up with young people. We do not need any gimmicks, but we must have two basic things—prayer and the word—with the additional help of our homes. We must follow the early apostles and disciples by taking the way of prayer, the word, and the homes for the preaching of the gospel.
(Preaching the Gospel on the College Campuses, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)