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


In 1970 a certain brother came into the Lord’s recovery in New Zealand. Later, he came to Los Angeles to see me purposely. I told him that the next year, 1971, I would go to New Zealand. I went to New Zealand through Australia. I traveled from Sydney through that large island to Melbourne. At that time I did not meet anyone who had a heart for the recovery. Then I went to New Zealand to see the brother who had visited me in Los Angeles. Previously, a dear saint whom I knew and who loved my books very much had visited that island and had brought with him two of my books, The All-inclusive Christ and The Economy of God. As he was departing at the airport, he gave these two books to another man. While I was visiting New Zealand, I held a small conference there. At that time the man who had received the two books took a small plane across the island and was forced to stop in the city where I was. He heard that I was speaking there, and he came to the meeting. Through that conference he was caught by the Lord, and later his brother, who was a traveling preacher, also took the way of the recovery. This was the beginning of the Lord’s recovery in New Zealand.

Today, twenty-three years later, there are seven hundred New Zealanders in the recovery. In addition, three hundred Chinese saints from Taiwan recently migrated to New Zealand, making a total number of one thousand saints in New Zealand. Eventually, the Lord gave them a large piece of land, and now they have a training center with a full-time training on that land. This is the result of the saints’ labor. Such a case should encourage us to labor. We do not know from where and when the fruit will come.

We have been rejected, opposed, defamed, and criticized. The opposing ones have tried their best to blockade us. However, in the 1993 Thanksgiving Conference in Anaheim, the attendance in the last meeting was 3,260 adults plus more than 800 children. Many of those in the meetings were new faces to me. Seemingly, we do not have much increase. Actually, that is not true. The Chinese saints who immigrated from Taiwan to New Zealand are on fire. Recently, one of the couples from there told me that, because of their being there, another church was raised up. They produced not only single believers but a church.

We do not know where the fruit will come from. In John 4:37-38 the Lord Jesus told us that others will sow the seed and we will reap what they have sown. At other times we may sow the seed and others may reap. According to Paul’s word in 1 Corinthians 15:58, our labor in the Lord could never be in vain. If we are lazy, we should not expect the angels to send anyone to us. We need to know nothing but to labor with the full assurance that our labor will never be in vain.


Our labor should be a labor of love. This love indicates that we love not only the Lord but also the saints. We love the stronger ones, and we love the weaker ones. We love sinners; we love our friends; and we love our relatives, our classmates, and our colleagues. We simply love people. Love is the motivating power of our labor. Because of this love we prefer to put aside many other things and to labor. We do not know who the fruit will be and from where and when it will come. We only know to labor.


I have been speaking for the Lord since July 1932. That was the beginning of my speaking to a church, not just to individuals. I thank the Lord that today in a number of places on this earth I can see three generations of the fruit of my labor sitting in front of me. Dear saints, we should not be shortsighted. We need to have a view for the long run. We may be concerned because, after practicing the new way for some time, it seems that thus far we have seen little fruit. However, the fruit that is quick to come in will also be quick to be absent. The most enduring fruit is the fruit that is borne slowly. If within one week we gain one as a fruit, we should know that such a fruit may not live long. However, if we spend two years to gain one, that one would never forget all the time that we spent laboring on him.

I was saved through a pastor’s visiting. My older sister recommended me to that pastor. Then that pastor came to visit me. Many times he spoke very little to me. He simply invited me to come to his church the next Sunday. After visiting me for a number of months, at the end of the year, in December, he told me, “Mr. Lee, I will not come again until after the new year, because you have many things to do.” He stopped coming, but on New Year’s Day, I do not know why I had a thought to go to church, but I went. From that day I never left the church. We need to labor. Our labor is altogether not a small thing. If everyone will be faithful to labor with endurance, in two years we will see the increase.

On the one hand, time passes quickly; on the other hand, it passes very slowly. But those who labor do not care for the passing of time. They care only for their labor. They care only to contact people. When they visit people, people always consider their visit as something excellent. They visit people not in an ordinary way but in a very special way. This does not mean that they speak a lot. Perhaps they do not speak anything concerning the Lord. They simply go and visit others. This kind of visiting will be successful. If we speak too much, that will hinder our work. We need further training on how to contact people and on how to speak and even not to speak to people.

We are a blessed people. Wherever we go, blessing goes with us. Whomever we visit will be visited by God’s blessing. We must believe this. Those whom we visit will never consider our visit as something ordinary. They may not say anything, but within them a deep impression will be sown into their being. Even if we do not say anything, they know what our intention is in visiting them. They know that our intention is to gain them for Christ.

(The Training and the Practice of the Vital Groups, Chapter 13, by Witness Lee)