5.Guidlelines for the Propagation of the Lord's Recovery

CHAPTER FIVE BEARING THE RESPONSIBILITY TO SHEPHERD AND TEACH IN THE HOMES AND SMALL GROUPS OUTLINE 1. The responsibility of the who...


CHAPTER FIVE

BEARING THE RESPONSIBILITY TO SHEPHERD AND TEACH IN THE HOMES AND SMALL GROUPS

OUTLINE

1. The responsibility of the whole church coming together in one place—1 Cor. 14:23.
2. The responsibility of the meetings in the halls—Acts 2:46; 5:42.
3. The responsibility of serving in the homes—2:46; 5:42.
4. The responsibility of leading in the small groups—cf. Mark 6:39-40.
5. The responsibility of shepherding—John 21:15-17.
6. The responsibility of teaching—2 Tim. 2:2, 24; Heb. 13:17.

RISING UP QUICKLY TO PREACH THE GOSPEL

We hope that by giving these messages the churches in Taiwan, especially the saints in the church in Taipei, will rise up quickly to preach the gospel. Today every aspect of society in Taiwan is advancing; the government is stable, and the economy is strong. This is an excellent opportunity for the church to preach the gospel. We are not being faithful to the Lord or to our fellow countrymen if we do not grasp this opportunity. Taipei is like a big fishpond; there are millions of fish all around us. We must preach the gospel and deliver salvation to them, or we will be indebted to them.

Paul said, “Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel. If I do this of my own will, I have a reward” (1 Cor. 9:16-17). He also said, “I am debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to foolish” (Rom. 1:14). Paul was not cursing himself when he said, “Woe to me.” Rather, he was saying that if we lose the race of our Christian life, we will not receive a reward. The condition of woe does not refer to being cursed; it refers to not receiving a reward. If we preach the gospel, we will receive a reward; if we do not preach the gospel, we will not receive a reward. The Lord knows whenever a sinner repents, because the Bible says that there is “joy in heaven over one sinner repenting” (Luke 15:7). Whenever a sinner repents, the angels in heaven rejoice.

A sinner’s repentance is significant to God. We should not think that it does not matter whether or not we lead a person to salvation. Whenever a person is saved, there is a record before God. If we do not lead anyone to salvation, we will suffer loss instead of receiving a reward. Therefore, we need to rise up and preach the gospel to save people. Hymns, #921 says, “Rescue the perishing, / Care for the dying, / Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave; / Weep o’er the erring one, / Lift up the fallen, / Tell them of Jesus the mighty to save. / Rescue the perishing, / Care for the dying; / Jesus is merciful, / Jesus will save.” After singing the hymns in a thorough way, we need to begin to take action and go forth to preach the gospel. The fire of the gospel needs to be kindled, and everyone needs to pick up this burden.

Preaching the gospel is the primary obligation of Christians to society. This is the reason that some Christians refer to preaching the gospel as “the great commission.” In Mark 16:15 the Lord charged us to “go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to all the creation.” In the Chinese Union Version to all the creation is rendered as to all the nations. There is also a note which says, “Nations, lit., creation.” In this verse the Greek word means “creation.” We need to preach the gospel until every person on earth has heard the gospel. Then we can continue to preach the gospel to the rest of creation. The Lord Jesus said, “Go therefore and disciple all the nations” (Matt. 28:19). All the nations refers to every tribe, tongue, people, and nation. The first commission we bear before God is to preach the gospel. If we do not preach the gospel, we are not fulfilling our obligation. Paul said that he was a debtor (Rom. 1:14). As long as our obligation is not fulfilled, we are debtors.

GOSPELIZING TAIWAN

Every saint needs to resolve to save one person every year. This is not difficult. We should not think that we are unable to catch one fish in a year even though we live in a “fishpond.” We have no excuse. God in His sovereignty has arranged for many people to be around us. Some of the streets in Taipei seem to be filled with people. Moreover, we all have relatives, friends, classmates, and colleagues. If we contact them every day, we will be able to lead at least one person to salvation in a year. If every one of the seven thousand saints in this meeting leads one person to salvation, by next year there will be fourteen thousand saints. Some saints may have a stronger desire and lead two or more people to salvation. This is also good. Then we will not have an increase of merely seven thousand. We all need to make such a vow.

In the past we neglected the matter of gaining people. Now we need to forget the past and press on by opening to the Lord and receiving His forgiveness. We need to begin a new page in the history of the churches in Taiwan by gaining a twofold increase every year.

According to statistics, the population of Taipei and its suburbs is 3,000,000, and there is a floating population of around 800,000. Therefore, the total population is about 4,000,000. There are around 50,000 saints on the name list of the church in Taipei, and about 5,000 saints meet regularly. If the 5,000 saints gain one person every year, after one year there will be 10,000 saints; after two years, 20,000; after three years, 40,000; after four years, 80,000; after five years, 160,000; after six years, 320,000; after seven years, 640,000; after eight years, 1,280,000; and after nine years, 2,560,000. After ten years our number will reach 5,120,000.

If we are faithful to practice diligently, lay a foundation, and build up the habit of leading one person to salvation in a year, we will have a twofold increase every year, and in ten years our increase will be a thousandfold. For us to succeed, every saint will need to lead one person to salvation every year. The older saints, the middle-aged saints, and even the younger saints need to consider how they can lead one person to salvation in a year. If we are able to do this, we will have a twofold increase in one year and a thousandfold increase in ten years. We will be able to gospelize Taiwan in ten years, and Taiwan will be a gospel nation that is filled with the gospel.

In order to gospelize Taiwan we must pray. We need to rise up corporately to pray for the gospelization of Taiwan in ten years. Then we need to endeavor to preach the gospel in every place. Whether we are at school, at work, or in the market, we must preach the gospel. The churches should cooperate and print gospel tracts for the saints to distribute in large quantities. When the sisters buy groceries, they can give gospel tracts to the cashier and to other women who are buying groceries. There is no need for us to be timid. They should distribute gospel tracts day after day. Distributing gospel tracts can be compared to digging a well. Water does not come forth as soon as we begin to dig. Rather, we need to dig persistently until we reach water.

In 1939 in Tsinan, Shantung Province, there was an official who held a prominent position at the Provincial Bureau of Construction. A brother, who held a low position, also worked at the bureau. Because the brother was very burdened to preach the gospel to this official, he and his wife prayed for the official. Every morning the brother put a gospel tract on the official’s desk. When the official saw the gospel tract, he threw it into the trash can. This went on for almost half a year. Then one day the official picked up the gospel tract and read it. Eventually, he believed in the Lord and attended the meetings in the church in Tsinan and was greatly blessed.

The official threw away the gospel tracts he received, but he could not do this for three hundred and sixty-five days. He was eventually gained by our brother’s perseverance. We should not worry if people dislike the fact that we distribute gospel tracts. People will know that we are “crazy.” However, there will also be a continual result. We must build up such a gospel atmosphere.

In 1949, when we arrived in Taiwan, we preached the gospel. We posted gospel banners of different colors in the streets and alleys and in train and bus stations. This created a good atmosphere for the gospel. When we saw a house with a banner on the door, we knew that a brother or sister lived there. If the environment permits, the church should print some banners and post them in different places in order to create an atmosphere for the gospel. The banners can read, “God so loved the world,” or “Christ came to the world to save sinners.” In 1949 we also had gospel marches in which we all wore gospel robes. Some saints beat large drums and everyone else sang, “You need Jesus.” These marches enhanced the gospel atmosphere. Praying, speaking, and preaching are our weapons for preaching the gospel. Christians need to pray, speak, and preach. Prayer is the greatest weapon, because it can shake the authority of Hades.

In order to preach the gospel, we can have gospel marches, post gospel banners, distribute gospel tracts, and speak in every place. We can distribute gospel tracts at work, at school, and even when we are in a store. We should also distribute tracts when we are on a train or a bus. Wherever we are, we should distribute gospel tracts. Some people need to receive more than ten gospel tracts before they decide to read one. They will eventually believe in the Lord after being “besieged” with gospel tracts.

If we distribute only one or two gospel tracts, we will not create an atmosphere of the gospel. Suppose five thousand brothers and sisters in Taipei distributed gospel tracts every day. A person may receive your tract today, my tract tomorrow, and another person’s tract the day after. This would be very effective. In order for the gospel to spread, we should not be silent or quiet. We should go out to speak to people and to distribute gospel tracts.


OPENING OUR HOMES
FOR THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL

The most effective way to preach the gospel is to open our homes for the gospel. Therefore, I am burdened to “push” the elders and co-workers to urge the saints to open their homes. Many saints have not yet opened their homes. We need to speak until everyone is restless and rises up to preach the gospel. In the past I was not willing to push people, but my concept has changed. I will push the elders and co-workers to ask all the saints to open their homes. Because we were too “spiritual,” the elders and co-workers merely asked the saints to pray and seek the Lord’s leading concerning opening their homes. As a result very few homes are open. Therefore, we must help the saints to open their homes.

After the saints open their homes, they do not need to hold a big gospel meeting or to invite many people to hear the gospel. The saints can invite eight to ten relatives, neighbors, and friends to hear the gospel. Every night there should be eighty to a hundred homes that are preaching the gospel in the church in Taipei. There can be eight to ten people in every home. It should not be a religious worship service. Our relatives and friends who come should feel comfortable to speak with one another. In such a warm atmosphere it is easy to preach the gospel. All the saints in the church in Taipei and in the Lord’s recovery need to open their homes for the preaching of the gospel.

We should even be willing to miss the regular church meetings in order to preach the gospel in our homes. Suppose we may have a relative who is free only on Thursday. We should be willing to invite them to our home on Thursday, even if we need to miss a meeting of the church. The elders should not expect the saints to be in every meeting. However, when the saints are not preaching the gospel in their home, they should be in the meetings.

In addition to the regular church meetings, we should open our homes to preach the gospel at least one evening a week. There are advantages to opening our homes. On the one hand, our cold hearts will be burning. On the other hand, we can lead our friends or relatives who are not saved to receive the gospel. Moreover, it will benefit our neighbors.

Suppose we open our homes to preach the gospel every week of every month of every year. Every home will be able to lead at least three people to salvation a year. If there are 1,200 to 1,500 homes in Taipei, there will be an increase of 4,000 people in a year. This is a solid and effective way to gain people, because people will be gained gradually. It is not too much for an open home to lead one person to salvation every four months. Every person we gain is a new branch that can easily bear fruit. He can lead people to salvation. Hence, it is easy for us to have a twofold increase in a year. After listening to this word, we should all rise up and take action before God by opening our homes for the gospel. The saints who receive this word and are willing to open their homes can invite people over at least once every three weeks. Every opened home is a gospel station. If every gospel station gains three people yearly, we will have a considerable increase.

The sisters are key in opening the homes. The responsible brothers who want to promote opening the homes need to fellowship with the sisters. The husbands usually work. Many sisters, however, stay at home and are not occupied by so many other things. Therefore, the responsible brothers should encourage the sisters to open their homes. According to the New Testament, sisters tend to love the Lord more than brothers do. The Lord Jesus was anointed twice by sisters (Matt. 26:6-13; Luke 7:36-39). The brothers were in their mind, and asked, “Why this waste?” (Matt. 26:8). They also calculated that the ointment “could have been sold for much and given to the poor” (v. 9). Brothers tend to be in their mind whenever they speak about the Lord. Sisters are not so much in their mind; they are more emotional. When they love the Lord, they are willing to spend for the Lord.

Therefore, to promote preaching the gospel in the homes, we must begin with the sisters. If the sisters do not respond, we will not succeed. The sisters must rise up and respond to this move. The refreshments we prepare make it easy for people to open their hearts so that the gospel can enter into them. The refreshments are prepared by the sisters. Hence, we must rely on the sisters if we want to preach the gospel in the homes. The sisters should not be frugal when they serve those who come to hear the gospel. When we serve those who come to listen to the gospel, we are serving the Lord Jesus. It is good to spend our money for people to be gained.

We need to take this way to open our homes willingly. We do not need to rely on the help of certain brothers when we invite gospel friends to our homes. We must preach the gospel ourselves. We may not know how to preach the first time, and we may still lack experience the second time, but as we continue to practice, we will learn. I did not know how to ride a bicycle when I was young. It was not until I was in my thirties that I learned to ride a bicycle, because I was assigned to work for the Lord in Tientsin. When I first got on the bicycle, I fell, but after falling, I got back on the bicycle. Eventually I learned how to ride a bicycle by trying. As long as we fail but continue to practice, we will learn. The leading brothers need to let the saints preach the gospel, especially the saints who do not know how to preach the gospel. Otherwise, only a few saints will be able to bear responsibility in spiritual matters. We need to let everyone preach the gospel. When someone opens his home, he should preach the gospel and nourish the ones who are saved. Then the Lord will have a way to spread.


STRESSING THE CHILDREN’S WORK

When we open our homes, we should also preach the gospel to the children, because almost every household has children. There are not enough children in the children’s meeting in Taipei. There are only four to five hundred. The elders said that the children have either grown up, or they are still too young. However, this is not a good reason. We should not neglect the children’s work. We fellowshipped about the children’s work eighteen years ago in 1966. If there were ten thousand children between the ages of six and twelve at that time, today there should be ten thousand young adults between the ages of twenty-four and thirty. If they are not all saved, at least six thousand of them should be saved.

Our labor in the church life is a long-term endeavor. We need to lead our children to salvation, and we also need to gain the children of our relatives and neighbors. This requires the coordination and participation of many saints. We cannot rely on the meeting halls; rather, we must labor in the homes. The saints with large homes can have a meeting with twenty children. The saints with smaller homes should have fewer children. If there are not enough adults to teach the children, the saints who are in high school and college can help. We may need fifty homes in order to gain one thousand children. When the number of children increases to four thousand, we will need two hundred classes. Even though the parents of some of the children may not be in our meetings, they may like to have their children join the children’s meeting. This will give us the opportunity to gain the parents through their children. If we practice this, after a few years we may have ten thousand children in the church in Taipei.

After eight to ten years these children will be seeds for the spread of the gospel in junior high and high school and even in college. This is the way for us to multiply and gain thousands of new ones every year. The gospel work among the children needs the cooperation of the families and the young saints. We also need some co-workers to coordinate the children’s work.

EXPANDING THE GOSPEL TO THE YOUNG PEOPLE

Another way to gain people is through the gospel work on the campuses. This depends on the participation of the full-timers. It would be good to have three hundred full-timers, who are between the ages of twenty-five and forty, to preach the gospel on various campuses. In Taipei there are around 120,000 university students, 80,000 technical college students, 60,000 high school students, and over 100,000 junior high students. This is a total of over 400,000 students. We need many full-time servings ones to labor on the students. This is a good source to gain new believers.

SPREADING THE GOSPEL TO ALL PEOPLE IN SOCIETY

The recovery has been in Taiwan for almost thirty years. We now have brothers and sisters who work in every aspect of society. They work in factories, businesses, hospitals, and even government institutions. Therefore, we should encourage all the saints to preach the gospel. This is another way to gain new believers.

RECOVERING THE DORMANT SAINTS

In addition, the church in Taipei has information cards for thirteen to fifteen thousand saints, but only five thousand come to the meetings. This means that at least eight thousand are not in the meetings. It is worthwhile for us to labor on these eight thousand saints. We can restore them to the church life by fellowshipping with them, visiting them, and inviting them to our homes for meals.

PROMOTING THE GROUP MEETINGS

Even though five thousand saints attend the meetings in Taipei, there are only three to four thousand saints in any given meeting. The brothers and sisters have a heart for the Lord, but they have not been helped to function. Hence, we must arrange them into groups, with twelve saints in a group. The five thousand saints in the church life will form four hundred groups. We should group the saints according to their geographic location, not according to their spiritual growth.

It may be that fifty to sixty groups will then form a district. There may be seven or eight districts in the church in Taipei. Some co-workers, who can care for and lead the groups, should be assigned to every district. The saints in a group should decide whether to meet once a week or once every two weeks for mutual fellowship and mutual visitation. The people they lead to salvation can later be added to a small group that is located near them.

When the number of saints in a group increases to twelve or sixteen, that group should split. There will then be eight or nine saints in both groups. When the groups increase further, they can split again. The brothers and sisters will not lose contact with one another.

In the past many people were baptized but not many remained. The groups will function to maintain the fellowship among the saints and to care for the new believers. Therefore, we need to organize the information cards so that we will know who is in the church life and who is not attending the meetings. The saints who are not in the meetings can be assigned to groups in their districts. The saints in a group meeting should pray for the dormant ones who are assigned to them and consider how to fellowship with them. It is easy to visit the dormant saints who are in our neighborhood or to invite them to our home. Even though we may not be able to recover every saint initially, we can gradually recover at least one or two thousand saints.


SUPPORTING THE FULL-TIME SERVING ONES

There are many saints who want to serve full time. After we sounded the call, over one thousand two hundred saints signed up. Six hundred of these will serve full time, and the rest will serve part time. Half of the saints who signed up to serve full time are from Taipei. This may be the first time in church history that over six hundred full-timers and over six hundred part-timers came forward at one time to serve the Lord. The long-term living expenses of the six hundred full-timers will not be small. We need to pray concerning this.

Ten saints should be able to support one full-timer. In other words, one out of every ten saints should be a full-time serving one. Everyone in the church should participate in preaching the gospel, and we should also be able to match the gospel move with our material offering. We thank the Lord that the economy of Taiwan is strong and that the standard of living is high. There is no problem related to finances. However, the saints need to be faithful in material offering to match the Lord’s move. In particular, the working saints need to endeavor to support the full-time serving ones. In this way we will all move on together.

MOBILIZING THE WHOLE CHURCH
TO BUILD UP A MODEL

You should not rely too much on my leading. If the Lord allows, I will visit twice a year and stay for at least one month when I visit. When I am here, you will not be able to sleep peacefully, because I will create a lot of work for you. Our goal is to mobilize the whole church. The full-timers are not the only ones who can have a part in the gospel activities and church services. Every one of us must have a part.

If everyone functions in the ways that we have fellowshipped, the whole church will be mobilized to gain people. In conclusion, we need to be aggressive to preach the gospel in our homes, to children, to students, and to those with whom we work. We also need to recover the dormant saints. In this way the church will increase. We also need to lead the brothers and sisters to focus on knowing the truth, growing in life, and living Christ. Moreover, the saints should also take part in the church life so that there will be a testimony of a golden lampstand in every locality. We will first spread the gospel where we live, and lead many people to salvation. Then the Lord may lead us to go to other countries.

This should be our common burden. From now on the churches in Taiwan need to rise up and take action. This will produce a model. Then all the churches in the Lord’s recovery will see this model and know how to spread and propagate in order to gain people. There are over five hundred churches in the Lord’s recovery on five continents. Apart from the Far East, there are over three hundred churches on the other four continents. There are over two hundred churches in Asia. Most of the churches outside of the Far East are not large. They may have an average of a hundred people. A model for propagation should be established in Taipei so that the whole earth can see how the churches in the Lord’s recovery increase in number.

How we promote this matter is important. It seems as if the world has become smaller, because what happens in one place can quickly spread to other places. Once the church in Taipei begins to practice, the five hundred churches will know. We must build up a model in Taiwan, because the condition in other places is not as favorable as the condition here. We need to pray for the spread of the gospel. We need to grasp this golden opportunity to participate in the move for the spread of the gospel through the propagation and increase. We also need to build up a model.



Bible verses are taken from the Recovery Version of the Bible and Words of Ministry from Witness Lee and Watchman Nee.published by Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim, CA.

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