133. The Principles of Treating Brothers and Sisters Who Are New to Faith
(1) Newcomers must be watered with the truth of vision, resolving all their notions and imaginings, that they may establish firm footing on the true way as quickly as possible;
(2) One should not ask too much of newcomers. Their notions and difficulties must be resolved promptly and patiently, through fellowship on the truth;
(3) One should not use regulations to control others. All people should be watered with the truth on the basis of their actual situations, and one should not try to make a duck assume a perch, as it were, demanding of others what they cannot do;
(4) Be wise in how you treat those new to faith. Precautions must be taken against those of poor humanity who do not love the truth, and one must never disclose personal or church information.
Sermon and Fellowship Excerpts for Reference:
Watering new believers so they can quickly establish a firm foundation on the true way and enter onto the right track in their faith is the most fundamental and core work of God’s house. The truths that new believers must be watered with include: the truth of the three stages of God’s work; the truth of God’s incarnation; the truth of God’s names; the truth of the differences between God’s work and man’s work; the truth of discerning the true Christ from false Christs; the truth of knowing the work of the Holy Spirit and discerning the work of the evil spirits; the truth of bringing God’s words into real life; and the truth of being an honest person, etc. Water these truths deep into the hearts of all those who have just accepted God’s work so they can lay good foundations. This can ensure that they will be able to stand firm on the true way and not betray or deny God no matter what disturbances they may encounter from Satan the devil. Only when one’s work achieves this result do they serve God in accordance with His will and genuinely do God’s will.
Excerpted from Work Arrangements
We must be clear that as we water these newcomers from the unbelievers, we must be loving and patient, and we must not make demands that are too high or prune and deal with them. We must wait until they understand some of the truth and have a foundation before we make strict requirements or prune and deal with them. Regardless of how many months a newcomer from the unbelievers has believed for, so long as they have good caliber and have some yearning for the truth, they should be issued or lent books to read, while those who have believed for at least six months should be issued with all books of experiential testimonies. When watering and shepherding newcomers from the unbelievers, there must be no half measures. They are not actually that different from those who have been won over from other denominations; their humanity is the same, it is just that they lack some knowledge of the Bible, and this is not a major issue. They must not be discriminated against or seen as too ignorant; after a year of belief, they will not appear to be so backward. If they cannot be watered in a timely manner, however, then some lives will be ruined. That is why the moment must be seized to earnestly water and provide for every single newcomer from the unbelievers, to make them feel God’s love for mankind and the warmth of God’s house, and even more so realize that God is genuine and credible. This is in accordance with God’s will. Compared with those who have been won over from other denominations, those of the unbelievers who accept the true way are purer, and can accept new things more readily. They must not yet be told about anything related to the administrative decrees of the church, however. They must be treated with wisdom, and told more about the rules of God’s house. They must not be permitted to attend any small group for assembly at random or to ask about church affairs; moreover, we must guard against those who seem suspicious, about whom not much is known. These are the principles that must be grasped for the watering and leading of newcomers.
For those newcomers from the unbelievers, we must not stipulate mandatory weekly attendance of gatherings. Gatherings must be determined based on their actual circumstances, and there must not be too many gatherings or too few; the number of gatherings may be decided by the majority. At meetings with these newcomers, we must read God’s words, teach them hymns and dances, and teach them to pray, so that they may enter into a normal spiritual life. In this way, after believing for several months, they will be able to perform duties. Be especially loving and patient to them, and properly water and provide for them. Do not, under any circumstances, dampen their positivity or quell their enthusiasm. We were all unbelievers once; it is only that we came to believe in God before them. It would be wrong for us to look down on these newcomers for this reason. In God’s eyes, it does not matter who believed first and who believed later. Any who gain the truth have a good faith. As long as they are willing to pursue the truth, after a few years of belief, they will be the same as us.
Excerpted from Work Arrangements
Deal with people with wisdom. Some people say: “Does getting along with brothers and sisters require wisdom?” Yes, it does, because using wisdom provides even greater benefits for your brothers and sisters. Some will ask: “Isn’t being wise with brothers and sisters being cunning?” Wisdom is not deceit. Rather, wisdom and deceit are complete opposites. Using wisdom means paying attention to some ways of speaking and doing things to brothers and sisters when they are small of stature, so as to keep them from not being able to accept what you say and do. For people with small stature, especially those who do not understand the truth and have many corrupt dispositions, if your approach to them is too simple and open, and you tell them everything, this can sometimes make it easy for them to gain information that can be used against you or for them to use you. This is not good. You therefore must more or less take certain precautions and use certain methods. However, being cautious with people does not mean not helping them or not having any love for them. It just means not speaking to them about some things that touch upon the important work of God’s family, and only fellowshiping about the truth to them. If they need spiritual assistance in life and the truth to be supplied to them, we have to do everything in our ability to satisfy them in this regard. However, if they are inquiring about this and that to do with God’s house, or asking about the situations of leaders and workers, there is no need to tell them. If you tell them, they are likely to leak this information and this will do harm to the work of God’s household. In other words, if it is something they should not know or something they have no need to know, then do not let them know about it. If it is something they ought to know, then do all you can to let them know about it, practically and without reservation. So what are things they ought to know? They should know, when believing in God, how to pursue the truth; which truths they should understand and be in possession of; what duties they should fulfill and which duties are appropriate for different people; how to fulfill their duties; how to live out normal humanity; and how to lead a church life. These are all things people should know. In addition, the rules and principles of God’s house, the work of the church, and the situations of your brothers and sisters must not be disclosed to any unbelievers, nor to any members of your family who do not have faith; this is also something that people should know. These are principles that must be abided by when we use wisdom. The names and addresses of your leaders, for example, are things that should not be discussed. If you talk about these things, you never know when that information might fall into the ears of unbelievers, and things could get very troublesome if it then gets passed on to some secret service villain. You must be wise about these things. This is the reason I say that it is very important to be wise. Moreover, when you open up and fellowship your experiences, you must not reveal certain private information to anyone. You have to consider the statures of your brothers and sisters; after you tell them something, if they are not devout, then they might joke about what you have said and gossip about it, and that would be troublesome and do damage to your reputation. Thus, communicating simply and openly requires wisdom, too.
Excerpted from Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life