VIII. THE RECOVERY OF THE PRACTICE
OF THE LOCAL CHURCHES
A. The Need of the Local Churches
The church of God, as the living Body of Christ, needs the local churches for its existence and function. Without the local churches, the Body of Christ has no way to exist and to carry out its function in practicality. Actually, the local churches are the Body of Christ, and the Body of Christ is all the local churches.
B. The Many Expressions
of the One Body of Christ
The local churches are the many expressions in many localities of the one Body of Christ. The local churches, being the existence of the Body of Christ for its function, are the many expressions of the Body of Christ. The Body of Christ may exist in the heavens, but to express itself, it must become the local churches.
C. Existing in a Locality as a City
A local church is one that exists in a locality as a city, the jurisdiction of the church being within the boundary of the city. We have seen that all the local churches are located, respectively, in different cities. To locate a church in a city is practical and convenient for its administration and its function. The jurisdiction of a local church for its administration is within the boundary of the city in which it exists; but its work and testimony should not be limited or restricted by any boundary. For its administration, the jurisdiction of a local church is local; but the testimony of a local church through its work is both local and universal.
D. The Administration of a Local Church
1. By the Elders
A local church is administrated by the eldership, composed of a group of elders (1 Tim. 3:1-5; 5:17) appointed by the gifted persons who have established the church (Acts 14:14, 23; Titus 1:5). A local church, being an organic expression of the Body of Christ as the organism of the Triune God, should not be administrated in any organizational way that makes it a worldly organization. It should be administrated by the eldership as an organic body, the components of which are all organic persons who have been regenerated by the living God with His divine life and who are living in and with that life (1 Tim. 3:1-4; Titus 1:5-9). Furthermore, its administration under its eldership should, in everything, be carried out in the organic way, not by any organizational method.
(A Brief Presentation of the Lord's Recovery, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)