VI. THE SIZE OF CHURCH MEETINGS
[God’s ordained way for Christian meetings is to have two different sizes of meetings: small and large. The smaller size is to be held or practiced in the believers’ homes. Do not despise the small meetings.] You may meet with your family or with a few other brothers or sisters. [Apparently, such a small meeting seems insignificant. But you have to realize that human society is composed of small homes with small families. A community or society of millions of people comes from small families. No human society can be built up without the small families in their small homes. In human society big gatherings are not held that regularly. Instead the husband, wife, and children come together in their own home every day. If every family is strong, the community and society will be strong.]
A. In the Believers’ Homes
[The believers first met in the homes beginning on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:46). Three thousand met from house to house. The Greek indicates that they met according to houses, which means that every house had a meeting. There was a meeting in every new believer’s house. This could only happen by the Spirit. Furthermore, there were many calling on the name of the Lord (Acts 2:21).
In the home meetings, according to Acts 2:46 and 5:42, they were preaching the gospel, teaching the truth, breaking bread to remember the Lord, and prayers. The saints around the time of Pentecost broke bread every day, that is, they had the remembrance of the Lord by practicing the Lord’s table. The saints also prayed in their homes. Acts 12:12 tells us that when Peter was released from prison, he went to the house of Mary where a group of saints were praying.
Meeting in the believers’ homes is for all the members of Christ to function. In any big meeting it is hard for the saints to function. But in a small meeting with four or five, or two or three, even a small boy or girl could function. He or she could say, “The Lord Jesus loves me, and it is so good that I love Him.’’ This is a small function, but do not despise it.]
[In Matthew 18:20, in speaking about Christian gatherings, the Lord Jesus used the number of two or three: “For where two or three are gathered together into My name, there I am in their midst.’’ Two or three is a precious number in the Bible, and should be the starting number of the church life. When the church becomes big through the home meetings, the big meetings will be meaningful. But when the church does not have anything and expects to have a big meeting, that big meeting may be empty. To start the church life from a small meeting of two or three is best.]
B. In a Larger Meeting Place
[The church should also have large meetings in a larger place for the whole church to come together (l Cor. 14:23). There are two kinds of meetings: small meetings in the homes of the believers and large meetings in a larger meeting place. These large meetings should not be held often. To have these larger meetings should not be a constant practice. If you practice the large meetings constantly, you will deaden the situation. You must learn to have the two kinds of meetings.
We must be balanced. God’s design of our body is symmetrical. We have two ears, two eyes, two nostrils, two lips, two shoulders, two arms, two hands, two thighs, two legs, and two feet. On the one hand, we need to begin the meetings in small homes; on the other hand, when the need arises we should hold large meetings in a larger meeting place. In the larger meeting place, we should not have any definite speaker with all the congregation listening to this speaker. We must kill this practice. In such a meeting all the attendants should participate in the building up of the church through their functions (l Cor. 14:26). When we come together one may have a revelation, another may have a hymn, another one may have a teaching, and others may have another portion. Everyone can and should have something of Christ for the meeting. We all need to have something so that we can function in the meetings for the building up of the church.]
(Lesson Book, Level 5: The Church—The Vision and Building Up of the Church, Chapter 17, by Witness Lee)