Becoming Dynamically Active Through Prayer, Considering and Selecting Whom we Should Contact First, and Being Prepared to go out and Contact People

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BECOMING DYNAMICALLY ACTIVE THROUGH PRAYER, CONSIDERING AND SELECTING WHOM WE SHOULD CONTACT FIRST, AND BEING PREPARED TO GO OUT AND CONTACT PEOPLE

  • We need to pray for our blending so that we can become vital, and for our dynamic activities in the gospel and shepherding
  • We need to participate in the Spirit inwardly and outwardly through our prayer so that we can go out to contact people with impact
  • We need to pray and consider with the members of our group, among all our contacts, who are the best few to begin to pray for and labor on; it is helpful to prepare a list, study and fellowship over the situations, and to consider whom best to contact first and by what way

Praying to Be Blended Together and for Our Dynamic Activities

When we come together in these days, we need to pray mainly for the blending…Since this is the case, how can we be blended with others? There is no other way for us to be blended except by prayer. When we come together, we should pray for our being blended together. The second thing we have to pray for is our dynamic activities. We need to pray for our function, for our activities. Eventually, we need to go out to bring people to Christ and to keep people in Christ and in the church. We need something dynamic, and this needs our prayer. Before the day of Pentecost the one hundred twenty prayed together for ten days. We cannot do anything without prayer. We need to be blended together by thorough and much prayer so that we can go out dynamically. We have to pray for our blending and for our dynamic activities.

Question: What should we pray for when we come together in our vital groups?
Answer: In this period of time we should pray only for our blending and for the activities of the vital groups. We should pray for these two things privately and when we come together. We cannot pray too much for them. We should pray, “Lord, blend us. Blend me with the others in my group so that we can have the impact in our activities.” We should forget about all other things and focus on this.

Confessing is a very crucial part of the blending. Without confessing, we cannot be blended with others. A prayer life is a life that revolts and rebels against our natural being. If we are naturally nice, this may prevent us from crying out by the inspiration of the Spirit. According to our natural being, we may pray too much and too long, not caring for others but only for our own feeling. Others are naturally silent. We have to rebel against our natural being. A prayer life is a rebellion. Some who were born so bold have to rebel against themselves to be silent for a period of time. The real prayer life stops our natural being.

Prayer is the release of the spirit. If you do not release your spirit, you can never receive the Spirit. This may be likened to a water hose. When water is coming out of the hose, this means that water is coming into it. Thus, to release our spirit is to receive the Spirit. But a number of us would not care for the release of the spirit but only for our habitual prayer. Some bold and talkative ones should not pray in the prayer meetings for a period of time. This is what it means to rebel against our natural life. The Christian life is a life of the Spirit. To pray is to exercise our spirit, to release our spirit, so that we may receive more of the Spirit. When more water goes out through the hose, more water comes in. If we stop the “going out,” the “coming in” is also stopped. The release of our spirit is the receiving of the Spirit. (Fellowship Concerning the Urgent Need of the Vital Groups, Chapter 11)

Praying with a Released Spirit and Participating in the Outpouring of The Spirit of Power

When we exercise our spirit, that means we unlock the Holy Spirit. Today the key is not with the Holy Spirit. The key is with us. With the Holy Spirit there is no problem. We need to pray by exercising our spirit so that the Holy Spirit may be released.

This is related to the participation in the outpouring of the Spirit of power. The Holy Spirit first is the essential Spirit, the Spirit of life. Second, the Holy Spirit is the outpoured Spirit as the economical Spirit of power. We need to participate in the outpouring of the Spirit of power as the power from on high and as the dynamic impact. The power from on high is the real dynamic impact, and this comes from exercising our spirit so that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of life, the essential Spirit, can be released. The release of the Holy Spirit will usher us into the participation in the outpouring of the Spirit of power. The outpouring of the Spirit of power as the power from on high and as the dynamic impact is for preaching the gospel and ministering Christ to others.

The Spirit within is for our essence; the Spirit without is for God’s economy. The Spirit without is with us based upon the fact that He is the essential Spirit of life within us. Since we are regenerated, we have the first aspect of the Spirit within us as a base. Based upon this, when we exercise our spirit, the essential Spirit will be released, and this will lead us to the enjoyment of the outpouring of the Spirit of power. This outpoured Spirit is the impact for our preaching and for our ministry. (Fellowship Concerning the Urgent Need of the Vital Groups, Chapter 13)

Now we have to start our action for the increase…We need to look to the Lord so that we can free ourselves from all distractions to have solid times of prayer with Him. Prayer makes us vital. We have to take the lead to be vital. If we are not vital, we cannot pray for others to be vital. To be vital means to be released in the spirit, and this cannot be performed. If we pray for half an hour, we will be released. If we are not released, we are not vital. To contact people, we have to be released persons. If we are not bound, we will be able to release others. A dejected, weeping person cannot make other people happy. If we are going to make people happy, we have to be happy persons. We can only help people to be what we are. In order to go out to effectively labor in the gospel, we must be vital.

Praying, Considering, and Studying with the Members of Our Group, Who are the Best Ones to Labor on and Visit First

Before going out, we must have some preparation. First, we must prepare some candidates for us to go to visit. We need to consider all our relatives, neighbors, classmates, colleagues, and friends. Out of these ones whom we know, we need to choose some to labor on for the gospel. Of course, we have to do this by prayer. We should pray, “Lord, who are the best two or three right now for me to work on?” [Previously, we had mentioned], we all should make a list of the people we know who need to be saved. When we read this list prayerfully, we will have some kind of inner registration of the two or three whom we should labor on now. We have to consider their situation and labor on them appropriately.

In our group meetings we should pray and study our candidates for the gospel together. We need to consider people’s condition, especially spiritually, and then act appropriately to meet their need in the gospel. We need to decide how we should visit a certain person and who would be the right one or ones to go. (Fellowship Concerning the Urgent Need of the Vital Groups, Chapter 22)

In our group meeting in these days, we have to pray for our work of contacting people. Then we should fellowship about the situation with our contacts, so that we can study their cases, fellowship about them, and receive the mutual help. After your study we should pray again. This kind of practice will be very practical, useful, and vital. Then you can decide whom you should contact and by what way. We have to believe that what we are doing by the vital groups will not be in vain, because this is a very practical sowing. Surely there will be the real reaping. (Fellowship Concerning the Urgent Need of the Vital Groups, Chapter 25)

We need to begin to pray to gain the candidates for our gospel preaching. We need to make a list of our close relatives and acquaintances. Then we need to pray, “Lord, among these, who are the ones that I should take first as my candidates for Your gospel?” The Lord will lead us. We should not take more than five people on our list as our initial candidates for the Lord to gain. It may be that out of these five, three would not be available. Regardless, we have to learn how to prepare ourselves and how to prepare our candidates, the objects of our work. We need to pray for them for about two months. Then we can go out to contact them.

This kind of selection and prayer for those whom we select will give us the impact with them. It is not the best thing to knock on “cold” doors, the doors of people we do not know. We must find a way to get “warm” doors, doors of people whom we know or who have been recommended to us by others. We need to realize that what comes out of our labor can be counted rightly only in the future. Presently, all five whom we choose as our candidates may not be available. But after three years they all will be available due to our prayer. We do not know when the Lord will fulfill our prayer. We should just labor. The apostle Paul promised us that our labor in Christ is not in vain (1 Cor. 15:58). I believe that every minute we spend for laboring in the Lord’s service is recorded by the Lord. (Fellowship Concerning the Urgent Need of the Vital Groups, Chapter 15)

Fellowship questions:

  • What is prayer that releases us? Why do we need to release the essential Spirit from within our being?
  • How does being released in our spirit with the members of our group become the Spirit of power that is poured upon us for our dynamic activity?
  • How does this kind of prayer prepare our contacts for our visit, and prepare us to visit them? How does this kind of prayer give us the impact?
  • Why is it helpful to make a list of our contacts? How many people should we hone in on at a time?
  • Why is it helpful to pray, consider, and select whom we should labor on with the members of our group?

Multiplying the Groups

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  • We need to consider the condition and the function of the vital groups; the condition of the group is that the members are intimately related to one another, and the function is to visit sinners or dormant saints to gain them for the Lord; without the proper condition, the function will not have any impact
  • When a group reaches 12-15 members, it is difficult to maintain the condition of the group, and therefore the function of the group gets lost
  • We need to use the little power that the Lord has given to us to learn how to multiply the groups so that there can be more building and more increase in the church
  • Splitting the groups regularly gives us a new start and keeps the vital groups from becoming our “new routine”

The Function and Condition of the Small Groups

[The small group meeting] is the most important meeting for the building up of the church. The function of this meeting is to sustain the brothers and sisters, to recover those who have not been meeting, and to bring in new ones. The ability of the church to increase depends on the condition of the small group meetings, because in the small group meetings there are mutual fellowship, care, shepherding, and exhortation, which constitute the base for the building up of the church.

There are presently three or four thousand brothers and sisters meeting regularly in the church in Taipei. In the past the church in Taipei had only eight to ten elders, and there was no way for them to care for so many people. Presently there are more than eighty elders, but there is still no way for them to adequately care for all the saints. Therefore, all the brothers and sisters must function in the small group meetings and bear the responsibility to feed and care for one another. It is easy for eight to ten people, who meet together once a week in a small group meeting, to know one another. Moreover, even if they do not have any feeling for one another, after meeting together two or three times, they will begin to care for one another, because human beings are social by nature and rich in emotions. They will know one another and care for one another’s condition, health, and job. Instead of feeling as if they are strangers, they will be concerned for one another and cherish one another. There will be a sweet feeling in the meeting. (Three Crucial Matters for the Increase and Building Up of the Church, Chapter 4)

It is best that a group meeting be started with a small number of persons. To start with too many persons makes it difficult to get thoroughly, intimately, and lovingly acquainted. However, with only two to five members it will be difficult to practice the proper function of the group, which needs to visit sinners and gain them for the Lord. It is better to have seven or eight in a group. After a period of time everyone will be acquainted with one another. Before this time we should not go out to work. We should first form ourselves into an acting, working, and moving group by getting acquainted, built up, and trained. Then we can begin to function by visiting people for the preaching of the gospel. In this way new ones can be gained gradually, one by one. If the group gains people little by little, it will not be difficult to follow up on and care for the new ones.

Seven can gain one more and become eight. Then eight can work together to gain another new one. It is easy for eight to care for one new one and thus become nine. Gradually, after working for six months, the group may have fifteen or sixteen. By that time everyone will be acquainted and trained. The group can then divide into two groups. After becoming two groups, everyone will be able to work because they have already become acquainted and have had practice and training. Every group will begin not with new beginners but with trained persons. These will be the foundation for the next generation, and that generation will be ready to go on. We should spend the first five or six months in the groups to get ourselves built up. After this we can double our number in the next half year. This will double the number in the groups. After this number doubles two more times, we will have at least a onefold increase of the whole church. Perhaps our progress will be slower than this, but we anticipate that this way will be successful if everyone will labor. (Fellowship Concerning the Urgent Need of the Vital Groups, Chapter 5)

Splitting a Group When It Reaches a Certain Size
to Maintain its Condition and Function 

On the average each of our groups has about eight persons. When you bring one to your group, this does not mean that he is vitalized yet. He or she is still not vitalized, but they may like to come to your vital group meeting. When we bring two more to join our group and we reach ten saints, we should divide our group into two groups of five each. Each of our vital group meetings presently has about eight members. When we gain two more and reach ten members, we should divide. (Fellowship Concerning the Urgent Need of the Vital Groups, Chapter 24)

Our regular and adequate spiritual exercise is in the small group meetings. We must spend our energy on the small group meetings. The number of people in a small group meeting should not exceed ten. It is best if there are only seven or eight people. If the number in the meeting exceeds twelve people, the meeting should be split into two groups. Because human beings are social, it will not be easy for us to split a meeting after the saints meet together for a period of time. Initially, the members of a group might not know one another, but gradually they will feel that the meetings have flavor because they know one another, care for one another, and fan one another into flame. Gradually, their number may increase to twelve, fifteen, or even twenty. Then they will feel that it is difficult to split the meeting into two groups. However, a meeting that does not split into two groups will not spread. Therefore, the meeting must split. We hope that every home will have a meeting and that these meetings will flourish and split until the home of every brother and sister has a small group meeting. (Three Crucial Matters for the Increase and Building Up of the Church, Chapter 4). Please note that the reason the suggested size at which to split a group varies is because this is not a fixed rule but a principle to help the groups maintain their condition and function. 

Taking this Way with Just a Little Power,
Keeping His Word, and Not Denying His Name

I would like us to take note of a few points to help us go on with the Lord: (1) We all have had some start. (2) We need to improve, to grow, to mature. (3) We are used to analyzing, to lingering, and to doubting about what we have experienced, and we would not forget about what we have experienced and be brought on to maturity, to perfection. 

We need to realize, however, that we are not worthy of being analyzed. We have to say, “Thank You, Lord, that You have afforded me the grace to learn the ‘ABCs.’” This is better than nothing. Yet we also have to say, “Lord, grant me further favor that I could learn more.” Maybe we have the feeling that we have not started so well. This kind of feeling, on the one hand, urges us to go on. Yet on the other hand, it is also a kind of hindrance, because we do not have the assurance that we have started. 

Satan is subtle, and our self is also hard to deal with. No one among us can have a thorough, “one hundred percent,” start. No one among us can have a repentance with a confession that is thorough to the uttermost. So we should not be disappointed, nor should we be contented. We can pray, “Lord, thank You. Since I heard the messages on the vital groups, I have started, Lord, by Your mercy, to repent and confess. Yet dear Lord, You know that my repentance needs to be improved, my confession needs to grow, and my whole practice in the vital groups needs to mature. I look to You to take me on.”I want to say again that the Lord is the One full of authority, full of power. He has the key, the power, to open the door that no one can shut, and He has the power to shut the door that no one can open. Yet He was so clear about the situation of His best church. Even His best church had only a little power. The Lord was satisfied with this. The Lord did not expect that this top church could have great power—just a little power. But why was the Lord so appreciative of this church? Because she had a little power and also kept His word and did not deny His name. We do have a little power, and we can pray, “Lord, thank You for Your mercy. We have started. Yet Lord, we still need more mercy. Have more and more mercy upon us that we could go on, that we could grow, that we could improve, and that we could mature.” (The Training and the Practice of the Vital Groups, Chapter 10)

The Lord has shown us that the only way for us to go on is to come back to His Word, and His Word tells us that He ordained a way in the New Testament for us to take. He has shown us that we cannot take this way as a form or a ritual. If we do, we are just dropping an old ritual and picking up a new one. You hate the old routine, but you love the new routine. We do not want to pick up another routine. This is why you have to go to the Lord directly. (The Training and the Practice of the Vital Groups, Chapter 9) 

Fellowship Questions:

  1. What is the function of the small groups? What is the condition of the groups? How are they related? 
  2. How is the function of a group connected to the number of saints in that group? What has been your experience in this matter? 
  3. Is your group increasing in number? Why do you think this is? 
  4. Has your group grown to a size that is too large to maintain an intimate atmosphere among the members? If so, how can you fellowship about caring for both the condition and function of the group?