Elders' Training, Book 05: Fellowship Concerning the Lord's Up-to-Date Moveby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
I do hope that all the churches would practice the small home meetings. This does not mean that we should annul the big meetings, the general gathering of the whole church, on the Lord’s Day morning. I feel we still need that meeting, but we should try our best not to practice in the old way of only one or two gifted brothers speaking, with the other saints sharing only a little. Give up that way. Practice in another way—the way of mutuality in speaking. The elders have to bear the responsibility according to the various situations of their localities, but the principle is to give up the traditional way of having one or two speakers with the rest as the audience. We have been practicing this for some years. Now I feel we have to give the Lord an opportunity to have the freedom to work out His own way, invented and ordained by Him. God’s way is for His children to be gathered into the Lord’s name in mutuality in speaking.
Let the saints have the full opportunity to learn how to speak in the meetings for the Lord. For this there is the need of much labor on the part of the elders. The elders have to consider what to cover in such a big meeting, yet with mutuality in speaking. This is a hard job. We need much labor to help all the saints to realize the new way and to participate in the divine speaking mutually. Do not wait to take this way, thinking you are unable to practice it. If you could not do it well the first time, try the second time, the third time, and the fourth time. We believe that where there is a will, there is a way. In this matter we can quote Philippians 4:13: “I am able to do all things,” especially to carry on the small meetings, “in Him who empowers me.”
I have been practicing the church life since 1932. According to all that I have observed and experienced, the best way to meet is to be gathered with mutuality in speaking. This is the Lord’s invented, created, and ordained way. We have no choice but to take this way.
The truth concerning the small group meetings is mainly based upon Acts, where there is the meeting from house to house (2:46; 5:42; 20:20). House to house indicates every house. I told the church in Taipei to practice this way, yet they did not practice this way absolutely according to the modifier house to house. What they did was to have a few families gathered in one house. They were charged not to exceed ten people and to split into two home meetings when they reached twelve. I believe that for the long run, as we are faithful to the Lord, going on in His invented and ordained way, we all will learn something. Even the new converts should begin to meet in their homes immediately after their regeneration. If they just begin to meet in their home with their spouse and children once a week, this will be a big advance.
The elders do not need to regulate the home meetings. You do not need to tell the saints in the home meetings to meet in order to preach the gospel or to seek after the deeper truth. They can meet at their liberty. This week they may feel led of the Lord to speak the gospel, and two or three will get saved. The next week they may spend the whole meeting for prayer. There is nothing wrong with this. For the elders to interfere with the home meetings or to regulate them is not healthy or profitable. There is no need for the elders to make a decision that this week is a gospel week and that all the home meetings have to preach the gospel. Even there is no need for the elders to make a decision as to where a home meeting should be held. We should let anyone have a home meeting in their home who wants to. They do not need to come to the elders to get their home meeting “registered.”
Some elders may think that the saints have no right to establish a meeting in their homes without the permission of the elders. There is no need of such a control. You may be afraid that they may start a meeting to cause division. But we must trust in the living Lord. He is living, and He will take care of the church. Sometimes our control creates trouble. Some who make trouble in the church—according to our feeling—actually do not make trouble. We should all do our best not to control the saints or the home meetings. We all have to do our best to start the home meetings in our locality.
According to the New Testament, we believers should not get ourselves settled once for all. We need to make a living, and we need housing. I like to see all of you have comfortable houses, but we should always be on the alert because at any time there might be the need for the Lord to move us elsewhere. We are sojourners on the earth (1 Pet. 2:11a). The Lord may want us to stay in a certain place for another year or for another ten years. Only the Lord knows. On the other hand, the Lord may lead us to go to another country, to another city, or to another state.
I feel that some brothers, especially from the Orange County area of California, should pick up the burden to move to where the Lord has a need. Many of you have been under this ministry and the practice of the church life for many years. According to your consideration, you do not know much or have much. I believe, however, that when you pick up a burden from the Lord to go to another place, you will discover that actually, comparatively speaking, you know a lot and can do a lot. Some places need someone who has had some experience in the church life for a number of years. The saints who have been with us in Orange County under the ministry for over eight years have unconsciously and unknowingly had something deposited in them. If some of these saints who love the Lord enter into an environment where their experience is needed, they would be very useful.
The elders should fellowship with the saints often concerning migration. We should never command the saints to go to a certain place, but we should make them aware of the need. We believe the Lord is living. Through this kind of fellowship, the Lord will lead some to pick up the burden, and they will go. When they go to a new place, they will discover that they are very useful to the Lord.
One brother talked to me about his health problems, and I told him that according to my consideration the best environment for his physical problem was Flagstaff, Arizona. Eventually, this brother picked up a burden to move there. By his moving there, there is now a small church in Flagstaff. After moving there, this brother became very useful to the Lord. Many of the Orange County saints have been with us for at least five or eight years. They have been faithful in attending the regular church meetings and the ministry meetings, and from these meetings they have picked up something solid of life and truth. Something has been imparted into them. If they remain where they are, though, they may not be of much use to the Lord. If they go to a new place, they will be very useful.
On nearly every college campus in the United States, there is a Chinese Christian group meeting together. Most of the leaders of these Chinese groups are ones who were with us in Taiwan. They were considered to be the “weaker ones” among us, but when they went out, they became the leaders of these groups. This shows that the attending of the meetings of the church really means something. We all need to pray that many of the saints would pick up the burden for the spread of the Lord’s recovery.
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