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


Our walking according to the spirit will spontaneously have an issue, and that issue is to flow out Christ to bear fruit, and to bear fruit is to transmit Christ into others. According to the revelation given to us in the New Testament, a person who abides in Christ, who walks according to the spirit, always flows by speaking. If there is no speaking, there is no flowing. Our flowing is to speak. If from the first day of the year to the last day of the year you never speak to anybody concerning Christ, you do not flow Him. Regardless of how much you feel you are enjoying Christ, participating in His riches, the flow of life within you has been stopped.

To flow is to speak. The Lord said in John 7:38, “He who believes into Me, as the Scripture said, out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.” When a branch is full of life, spontaneously that life will flow out. When we are filled with the Spirit, we are full of Christ, and our uttering organ will be open to speak forth Christ. When I was young, I spoke even when people were not around. When you are so full, you have to flow out, to speak. Now we have seen the status of the vital group, the commission of the vital group, and the function of the vital group.

We may have the impression that we merely want to see an increase in number. I have said that we should try to gain one person a year and that we should always keep four or five under our care. Some who have criticized me said that I changed. They said I used to speak about life, but now all I speak is statistics, budgets, and numbers. That is their misunderstanding. I do not mean that. Whether or not we bring someone to the Lord is not the problem. The problem is that we do not live a normal Christian life, a life of abiding in the Lord all the time, living, walking, and having our being according to the spirit in everything. If we are such persons, we will speak Christ all the time. We will speak God’s salvation and speak God as grace. We should forget about whether or not there will be some fruit. I assure you that there will be some fruit. The fruit will be the issue of our flowing.


Acts 4:31 says that when the disciples prayed, “the place in which they were gathered was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.” At that time the disciples were a group of Galileans living in Jerusalem under the threatening of the persecuting Jewish religionists, yet they did not care for anything except the Lord. They only loved the Lord. They were pursuing after Him. They did not know anything else but Christ the Son of God. All day long, they prayed unceasingly. They gave thanks to God in everything and were happy and rejoicing. Thus, they did not quench the Spirit (1 Thes. 5:17-19). Rather, they fanned their spirit into flame (2 Tim. 1:6-7). They were such persons. They were filled with the Spirit, not only inwardly but also outwardly. They had the fullness of the Spirit. A cup which is half full of water does not have the fullness of water. If water is poured into it to make it full, the water will flow out of it. Those dear saints in Acts 4:31 were full of Christ, so they were bubbling. They spoke the word of God with power.

What I am sharing here is the main extract of my messages for these past two years. Do not forget that to be a believer in Christ is to be a part of Christ, a member of Christ, a branch of Christ. You are a branch of the vine tree. A branch of a tree is just a part of the tree. What do we as the parts of Christ need to do? We need to abide in Him as the tree, to be one with Him in the union of life, to live, to act, and to have our being in everything according to the spirit. We need to pray all the time, thanking God for everything all the time. Then we will have the fullness of the Spirit and we will flow Christ by speaking.

Dear saints, this is a vital group. This is what I have seen of the Lord. This is what I expect to see—that all you dear ones who are in the recovery would be this kind of persons. We are going to gain people not by rock music or by some other impure method. We are going to gain people by purely speaking Christ, speaking grace, speaking God, to everyone. In a certain sense, we should not care whether or not someone understands us or apprehends what we are saying. We should just care for speaking, for flowing rivers of living water all the time.

Each one of us should be bubbling with the Lord by speaking. If we are not like this, we are a flat tire. We are not full, because we do not pray. We do not pray, because we are apart from Christ. We do not flow, because we do not have our life according to the spirit. We need to be addicted to Christ. We need to abide in Christ, keeping ourselves in the life union, the organic union, in Christ. We need to walk, live, and have our being according to the spirit. Then we will speak Christ every day and everywhere. This is what we want to see. This is a vital group of Christians.

We are Christians, and we must realize that a real Christian is a branch of Christ. Our status is that of a branch. As branches of Christ, we live by walking according to the spirit. Then spontaneously we flow by speaking. All the dear saints in the Lord’s recovery should be like this. I have given many messages on the new way, the God-ordained way, and the vital groups. I have been asked many questions about how to do things and how to carry them out. We should not be so complicated. We should make everything simple.

You are a branch of Christ, the great vine, and this is your status. You should abide in Him to flow Him out, to branch Him out, to bear fruit by flowing the river of grace, by speaking. If no person is around, we can even speak to the angels. We can tell the angels that they are our servants and that we are the heirs of so great a salvation (Heb. 1:14; 2:3a). If no person is around us, we can even speak to the furniture in our room. Some may think that this is crazy, but actually this is the exercise of our spirit of sobermindedness (2 Tim. 1:7). It is normal for us to flow rivers of living water all the time.

We should forget all of our questions. We should simply realize that we are branches of the vine tree. No matter what your earthly profession is, you are really just a branch, a part, of Christ to branch Him out, to live Him, to express Him, and to impart Him to others. Stay with Him, abide in Him, to live in the organic union with Him. Then spontaneously you will do everything according to the spirit. You will be a person praying, thanking, and rejoicing all the time. You will never quench the Spirit, but you will always fan the spirit into flame. Then you will be so full of Christ that you have to overflow with Christ by speaking.

To speak is the only way to flow. We should care only for this. Then there is no problem. The only problem is that we forsake our status. We do not want to be branches. We want to be something more. People used to ask me, “How can I be spiritual?” We should not be bothered and complicated with such questions. Instead, we should just be the branches of Christ. This is so simple.

I have been speaking for a number of years concerning the God-ordained way with its four steps: 1) begetting; 2) nourishing; 3) teaching; and 4) prophesying. We may have adopted all of these terms, but we may also have become complicated and even confused. I have a burden to tell you not to be confused and not to be complicated. Just be simple. Just realize that you are a branch of Christ, abiding in Him, walking, living, and having your being according to the spirit. Surely you will be a praising person; you will be a thanking person, a person thanking God all the time; and you will be a person praying and rejoicing. Then you will have the fullness of the Spirit. You will pour out by speaking to others. Do not care about whether they will be saved or not. Only the Lord knows. You just carry out your commission. Your function is to bear the fruit, and to bear the fruit is not just a kind of doing, but a kind of living. We all should say, “I am just a branch abiding in Christ and walking according to the spirit to flow Christ as rivers of living water.”

(The Training and the Practice of the Vital Groups, Chapter 12, by Witness Lee)