The Practical Coordination of the Members of the Body in the Local Churches
The Christian service that the Lord desires is carried out not in an individual way, but in a corporate way. Obviously, this service requires coordination with other members of the Body; therefore, such practical service can be experienced only in the local church where we meet. Witness Lee comments on this principle:
Another revelation received by Watchman Nee, which is closely related to authority and building, was the revelation concerning coordination in the church. All the members in the local church need not only to be built up with others but also to coordinate with others. The service of the church cannot be carried out individually. All the members must serve in a coordinated way.
(Witness Lee, Seer of the Divine Revelation, 2)
In the following passage, Watchman Nee speaks of the coordination needed for the preaching of the gospel:
We should also know that the church is expressed practically in a locality. The universal church is what most people call the invisible church. This is not practical enough. The church must be practical and local to us. Therefore, our service and work must be conducted in the local church and must build up the local church. We should encourage and lead the brothers and sisters in each locality to rise up to serve and work together in their respective locality. The gospel should not be preached just by the so-called workers. It should be furthered by all the saints striving together in one accord and in one soul for its advancement (Phil. 1:5, 27). The service should not be limited to a small number of so-called servants of God. Instead, all the saints should serve together as priests (1 Pet. 2:5, 9). In every locality, the whole church should preach the gospel, the whole church should rise up to serve, and the whole church should work.
(Watchman Nee, Collected Works, Set 3, Vol. 55, 48)
Even in the matter of opening our homes to receive new believers, we need to coordinate with the other members in the local church for the testimony of oneness. Witness Lee has spoken clearly regarding this need:
The way to open up the homes is in the Body in a coordinated way. Do not try to do it by yourself. I hope every local church will have a good coordination. Pray, fellowship, and see if there are any homes near the campus in your locality that are available.
There is also a need to fellowship concerning who will go to the campus and who will stay home to take care of practical matters such as cooking and washing dishes. The financial matters also require a good coordination. A person may have the financial ability to rent or purchase a house but not have the ability to afford food and refreshments. One brother may have a house but not much money, whereas another brother may have some money but not a house. One brother may make an offering so that snacks can be served to the seeking young ones that come to another brothers house. We need the coordination.
If the saints in every locality are well coordinated, the new ones will be inspired with what they see. They will see the real social life, communal life, and family life. Our service in coordination will touch, soften, and warm up their heart to receive the living, piercing word (Heb. 4:12).
(Witness Lee, Preaching the Gospel, 27-28)
Watchman Nee and Witness Lee emphasize that the corporate service desired by the Lord for the building up of the Body of Christ can best be carried out in local churches. The universal church is not practical enough to contain our service; the local church is needed for pleasant and practical coordination to exist among the members in preaching the gospel and shepherding new believers.
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