What Is Being Avoided by Not Daring to Supervise Work

July 21, 2022

By Xunqiu, Netherlands

In May of last year, I was put in charge of watering newcomers. I had previously thought that this was a relatively easy job—all you had to do was fellowship with them on visions and get them to attend gatherings regularly. But once I started, I realized that watering newcomers is actually a lot of work. Apart from fellowshiping the truth to help them lay a solid foundation on the true way, I also had to cultivate leaders, workers and all kinds of talent from among their ranks, so that they could work independently. My leader urged me to supervise and keep up with our waterers’ work, because as soon as we procrastinated or had problems, it would directly influence the overall progress of the work. I came to realize the importance of supervision, and started regularly checking in on my brothers’ and sisters’ progress.

When I first started making appointments with them to discuss work, a lot of time would go by and still no one would reply to my messages, and even if they did, they would keep putting it off. One time, I arranged to meet with a sister to discuss a project. First she rescheduled from the morning to the afternoon, and then pushed it back again to that night. Eventually, after two days, we still never had our meeting. I thought to myself: Are they intentionally avoiding me, because they look down on me and think I can’t resolve their issues? As busy as they are with work, do they really not have any time to discuss with me? If this keeps up, how am I supposed to do my job? Later on, I finally arranged some meetings with them, but when I asked them about specific details or queried their progress, some of them gave fairly gruff responses and were a bit resistant. I thought: If I’m always checking in on their work, will they think I’m trying to make things difficult for them and failing to consider what they’re up against? If I inquire about their progress after just assigning the work, will the brothers and sisters think I’m treating them like machines and lack that human touch? Thinking of this, I couldn’t bring myself to keep querying. Another time, I saw that most of the newcomers a sister was watering weren’t regularly attending gatherings. I asked her if she’d been fellowshiping the truth and resolving their issues. The sister immediately replied, “The newcomers all said they were busy, I can’t force them to come to gatherings.” I worried that the sister would think I wasn’t being considerate of her and her actual problems, so I didn’t dare push the issue. That’s not all, some of them were even negative after we met to discuss their work, feeling that even though they were up at all hours working, there were still so many issues, and that they hadn’t made any progress and weren’t fit for the job. At the time, I wanted to point out this issue: If they were negative and shirked their duty when problems arose, that meant they weren’t facing their issues head on and were unable to accept the truth. But I also worried that they’d say I wasn’t considerate of them and only ever chided them. So I checked myself just as I was about to speak. After that, I became even more tentative, and wasn’t willing to supervise and check in on the work. I thought, “They’ve been believers for many years, they’ll take the initiative to complete their duties. Some brothers and sisters are so busy they don’t even have time for devotionals, they certainly won’t slack off. All I need to do is fellowship the principles of work clearly and delegate out tasks. I shouldn’t be breathing down their necks all day, otherwise they’ll feel constrained.” After that, I stopped doing detailed supervision and check-ins of others’ work and just got a general idea of work progress at the end of each month. But later, I realized even though everyone seemed up to their necks in work, when I inquired into the specifics, most people couldn’t give me a straight answer, and many people weren’t getting the details right. So I told everyone about the issues and deviations I had noticed, but no one replied to me. I worried that if I kept discussing this, they might be resistant and negative, so I just casually summarized the problems and asked them to make changes in a timely manner, before mentioning a few passages of God’s words and fellowshiping on my understanding.

Not soon after, problems in the work began to surface. Someone reported that some watering workers weren’t taking responsibility for the newcomers. They weren’t checking in on newcomers that didn’t attend gatherings. When someone mentioned this, the waterers got offended and wouldn’t accept the criticism. As a result, some newcomers weren’t checked in on and left the church. Once, during a gathering, an upper leader inquired about the status of the monthly newcomer watering work, inquiring about how many newcomers weren’t regularly attending gatherings and why. A few of the sisters said they didn’t know. So the leader dealt with us, saying: “You’ve been so irresponsible with the newcomers! You didn’t water them well, so they left the church. That’s akin to forfeiting their souls. You’re not taking God’s commission seriously!” The leader’s words really cut to the quick. He was right. The brothers and sisters worked really hard to bring in these newcomers. When they didn’t attend gatherings, the waterers weren’t clear on their situations, much less did they put everything into watering and supporting them, and so they left the church. That’s a serious case of negligence. I also realized that these problems that had surfaced exposed my own issues. I hadn’t kept abreast of the brothers’ and sisters’ work, didn’t understand what practical issues they had, much less did I closely supervise their work. As a result, they didn’t summarize their issues and deviations. It was due to my lack of responsibility that things turned out as they did. So I prayed to God, asking Him to help me reflect on and know myself.

During my devotionals, I came across a passage of God’s words that helped me understand my current state. God’s words say, “Because false leaders do not understand the status of the work’s progress, they are incapable of promptly identifying—much less solving—problems that appear in work, which often leads to repeated delays. In certain work, because people have no grasp of the principles and there is no one suitable to preside over it, those who are carrying out the work frequently reside in a state of negativity, passivity, and waiting, which severely affects the progress of the work. If the leader had fulfilled their responsibilities—if they had taken charge, pushed the work forward, hurried them along, and found someone who understands the type of work involved to give guidance, then the work would have progressed more quickly rather than suffer repeated delays. For leaders, then, it is vital to understand and grasp the actual situation of the work. It is, of course, highly necessary for leaders to understand and grasp how work is progressing—for progress relates to the efficiency of the work and the results that this work is intended to achieve. If a leader lacks even a grasp of how the work is progressing, and does not check up on it or keep an eye on it, then most of the people performing a duty will have a negative and passive attitude, they will be severely apathetic and have no sense of burden, they will be careless and perfunctory, and thus the work is bound to progress slowly. If there is no one with a sense of burden, and who is work-savvy, to provide guidance and supervision—and to discipline and deal with people—then work efficiency and effectiveness will naturally be very low. If leaders and workers can’t even see this, they are stupid and blind. And so, it is of the utmost importance that leaders and workers are prompt in finding out more about, keeping check on, and familiarizing themselves with the progress of work. People are indolent, so without guidance, urging, and following-up by leaders and workers, who possess an up-to-date understanding of the work’s progress, people are liable to slack off, to be lazy, to be perfunctory—if this is their attitude toward their work, the progress of this work will be severely impacted, as will its effectiveness. Given these circumstances, qualified leaders and workers should promptly keep track of every item of work and stay informed about the situation regarding staff and the work; they should absolutely not be like false leaders. False leaders are careless and slapdash in their work, they have no sense of responsibility, they don’t solve problems when they arise, and no matter what work it is, they always ‘admire the flowers from the back of a galloping horse’; they are careless and perfunctory; everything they say is high-sounding and empty, they spout doctrine, and go through the motions. In general, this is the way false leaders work. To compare them with antichrists, although they do nothing overtly evil and are not deliberately maleficent, from the perspective of effectiveness, it is fair to define them as being careless and perfunctory, as lacking any sense of burden, as having no sense of responsibility or loyalty toward their work” (Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers). God’s words expose how false leaders do their work perfunctorily, only spouting catchphrases and doctrine, not supervising and checking in on work and failing to gain a practical understanding of work progress. A lot of issues crop up in the work that are not discovered and resolved in a timely manner, causing delays in work progress. Applying God’s words to my own state, I just went on my own belief that the brothers and sisters were long-time believers, and were often so busy they didn’t even have time for devotionals, so they would probably perform their duties properly. As such, I just let them be and didn’t supervise their work closely, didn’t spot the deviations in their work, or if they were working according to principle, didn’t figure out why some projects weren’t yielding results. I didn’t have a good grasp of any of this. Even if I did discover some problems, I didn’t help them summarize their issues and deviations and seek the truth and resolution, much less did I deal with them or guide them in a timely manner. I just perfunctorily spoke of doctrine, and didn’t resolve their practical issues at all. As a result, some of the newcomers were not watered in time and left the church. I was doing evil! I realized that apart from carrying out work arrangements, leaders’ and workers’ most important task is to supervise the progress of all the work, keep up to speed with everyone’s work situation and promptly fellowship truth to solve problems. But I failed to perform the role a leader should, this was a serious case of negligence!

Through reflection, I realized that I also had a very foolish belief. I thought that brothers and sisters who were long-time believers didn’t need to be supervised. I thought that since they were all busy, they must be working hard in their duties, so I just let them do their things and didn’t supervise or concern myself, thinking that, in so doing, I wasn’t constraining them. In reality, this was a product of my notions and imaginings. Later on, I came across a passage of God’s words that helped me understand the meaning of supervision. God says, “Although, today, many people perform a duty, there are only a few who pursue the truth. Rarely do people pursue the truth and enter the reality of the truth as they perform their duty; for most, there are still no principles to the way they do things, they are still not people who truly obey God; their mouths merely say that they love the truth, and are willing to pursue the truth, and are willing to strive for the truth, yet it is still unknown how long their resolve will last. People who do not pursue the truth are liable to have outpourings of a corrupt disposition at any time or place. People who do not pursue the truth are devoid of any sense of responsibility toward their duty, they are often careless and perfunctory, they act as they wish, and are even incapable of accepting pruning and dealing. As soon as they become negative and weak, people who do not pursue the truth are liable to throw in the towel—this happens often, nothing is more common; such is the way all who do not pursue the truth behave. And so, when people have yet to gain the truth, they are unreliable and untrustworthy. What does it mean that they are untrustworthy? It means that when they encounter difficulties or setbacks, they are likely to fall down, and to become negative and weak. Is someone who is often negative and weak someone who is trustworthy? Definitely not. But people who understand the truth are different. People who truly understand the truth are bound to have a heart that fears God, and a heart that obeys God, and only people with a heart that fears God are trustworthy people; people without a heart that fears God are not trustworthy. How should people without a heart that fears God be approached? They should, of course, be given loving assistance and support. They should be checked up on more as they perform their duty, and given more help and guidance; only then can they be guaranteed to perform their duty effectively. And what is the aim of doing this? The chief aim is to uphold the work of God’s house. Secondary to this is in order to promptly identify problems, to promptly provide to them, support them, and deal with and prune them, setting right their deviations, and making up for their shortcomings and deficiencies. This is beneficial to people; there is nothing malicious about it. Supervising people, keeping an eye on them, finding out more about what they’re doing—this is all in order to help them enter the right track of faith in God, to enable them to perform their duty as God asks and according to principle, so that they do not cause any disturbance or disruption, so that they are not wasting time. The aim of doing this is entirely born of responsibility to them and to the work of God’s house; there is no malice to it” (Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers). God’s words are abundantly clear. All people have corrupt dispositions, and no one is dependable before being made perfect. We might have some enthusiasm and are willing to fulfill our duties, but our corrupt dispositions haven’t been fully transformed and we’re still inert. If no one supervises our work and deals with and prunes us, we may succumb to our corrupt dispositions in our work at any time, and act perfunctorily and carelessly or be disruptive unintentionally, causing damage to the work of God’s house. Work is supervised in order to get a sense of the work’s progress, identify deviations in people’s work and fellowship to resolve their issues, so that the work of God’s house is not affected. Supervision is not about intentionally finding fault in people, but rather it’s about being responsible and devoted to your duty, taking responsibility for people’s life entry, and being considerate of God’s will and upholding the work of God’s house. If brothers and sisters have problems in their work, and one casts a blind eye to it and doesn’t fellowship to help them or deal with and prune them, this is serious negligence and shows a lack of responsibility. Later on, I consciously practiced according to God’s words. Later, my partner sister and I summarized the current issues in our work and then, after categorizing the issues, we called in our brothers and sisters for fellowship. Through fellowship, they realized they had the wrong attitude in their duties, and came to understand the importance of supervision. After that, everyone’s attitude and state improved a bit, and I consciously tried to keep more abreast of their work status, provide close supervision and follow up on their progress. I also helped them with their difficulties and inadequacies. After a period of time, I found that we were getting better results in our work and everyone had made progress in their duties.

Later, I continued to reflect: Why don’t I place importance on supervision? What other corrupt dispositions does this suggest? In my seeking, I came across this passage of God’s words: “Some church leaders, upon seeing their brothers or sisters performing their duties carelessly and perfunctorily, do not rebuke them, though they should. When they see something that is clearly detrimental to the interests of God’s house, they turn a blind eye and make no inquiries, so as not to cause the least offense to others. In fact, they are not really showing consideration for people’s weaknesses; instead, their intention is to win people over, which they are fully aware of: ‘If I keep this up and don’t cause offense to anyone, they’ll think I’m a good leader. They’ll have a good, high opinion of me. They’ll give me recognition and like me.’ No matter how much damage is done to the interests of God’s house, and no matter how greatly God’s chosen people are impeded in their life entry, or how greatly their church life is disturbed, such leaders persist in their satanic philosophy and cause no offense to anyone. There is never a sense of self-reproach in their hearts. Seeing someone causing disruption and disturbances, at most, they might make casual mention of this issue in passing, and then be done with it. They do not fellowship on the truth, nor do they point out the essence of the problem to this person, and less still do they dissect their state. They never communicate what God’s will is. The false leaders never expose or dissect what kind of errors people often make, or the corrupt dispositions people often reveal. They don’t solve any real problems, but instead always tolerate people’s misconduct and outpourings of corruption, and remain unconcerned no matter how negative or weak people are, merely preaching a little theory or doctrine, making a few perfunctory exhortations, trying to avoid conflict. As a result, God’s chosen ones do not reflect on and try to know themselves, they gain no resolution to the outpourings of various kinds of corruption, and live amid words, phrases, notions and imaginings, without any entry into life. They even believe in their hearts that, ‘Our leader has even more understanding for our weaknesses than God does. Our stature may be too small to live up to God’s requirements, but we need only fulfill the requirements of our leader; by following our leader, we are following God. If a day comes when the Above replaces our leader, then we will make ourselves heard; to keep our leader and stop him being replaced by the Above, we will negotiate with the Above and force them into agreeing to our demands. This is how we will do right by our leader.’ When people have such thoughts in their hearts, when they have such a relationship with the leader, and in their hearts, they feel dependence, admiration, and veneration toward their leader, then they will come to have ever greater faith in this leader, it is the leader’s words they want to hear, and they stop searching for the truth in God’s words. Such a leader has almost taken the place of God in people’s hearts. If a leader is willing to maintain such a relationship with God’s chosen people, if they derive a feeling of enjoyment from it in their heart, and believes that God’s chosen ones ought to treat them like this, then there is no difference between them and Paul, and they have already set foot on the path of the antichrists. … The antichrists do not do real work, they do not fellowship the truth and solve problems, they do not guide people in eating and drinking God’s words and entering the reality of the truth. They work only for status and renown, they care only about establishing themselves, protecting the place they hold in people’s hearts, and making everyone worship them, venerate them, and follow them; these are the aims they want to achieve. This is how the antichrists try to win people over and control God’s chosen ones. Is such a way of working not evil? It is abhorrent!” (“Item One: They Try to Win People Over” in Exposing Antichrists). Antichrists have evil dispositions, they only work to gain status, and when brothers and sisters have problems, they don’t expose and correct them, instead always accommodating and sympathizing with them, in order to gain their favor and ensnare them, and make everyone adore and worship them and come before them. Reflecting on God’s words in light of my recent behavior in my work, I realized I was just like those that God exposed: In order to maintain my status and image in people’s hearts, whenever I supervised or inquired into the work and others complained or were resistant, I didn’t dare continue inquiring, much less would I deal with and prune them, worrying that they would think I lacked a human touch, only urging and oppressing them without being considerate of the issues they faced, so I would just casually bring up their problems, without analyzing the substance of their issues. Sometimes I also noticed that despite everyone being busy, there had been no progress made in the work, and so there must be some kind of issue. But each time the brothers and sisters fell silent after I corrected them, I would feel constrained and wouldn’t dare continue fellowshiping. As a result, no progress was made in the work for a long time, they didn’t have any awareness of the essence of their perfunctoriness, and had made no progress in life entry. I lived by the satanic philosophy of “Never hitting people below the belt,” maintaining my relationships with people, making them think that I was considerate of their problems and was an understanding leader, so they’d have room for me in their hearts. Because I didn’t practice the truth and always tolerated the brothers and sisters, they didn’t realize how serious their issues were, and this severely damaged the work of God’s house. I was just so selfish and despicable! God’s house requires all leaders and workers to supervise and follow up on work progress, safeguard the interests of God’s house, identify and resolve problems in the work quickly and do practical work. As for me, I only maintained my own status and reputation, casting the interests of God’s house aside, allowing the brothers and sisters to live by their corrupt dispositions, taking a casual attitude toward my duty and delaying the work. I truly failed to live up to God’s intentions. Having reflected on and realized this, I felt regretful and so I prayed to God, willing to repent and improve my attitude in my duty.

A little while later, when a leader came to check in on our work, and saw that some projects were still lagging behind and didn’t produce results, he asked us to keep closer track of everyone’s progress, identify issues and resolve them quickly. I thought, “This work was only just assigned recently. If we inquire about their progress now, won’t the brothers and sisters think we’re too harsh and don’t have the slightest human touch?” I realized that I was once again being constrained by name and status and not practicing the truth. I thought of God’s words which say: “Do not always do things for your own sake and do not constantly consider your own interests; do not consider the interests of man, and give no thought to your own pride, reputation, or status. You must first give thought to the interests of God’s house, and make them your first priority. You should be considerate of God’s will and begin by contemplating whether or not you have been impure in the fulfillment of your duty, whether you have been loyal, fulfilled your responsibilities, and given your all, as well as whether or not you have wholeheartedly given thought to your duty and the work of the church. You must give consideration to these things. Think about them frequently and figure them out, and it will be easier for you to perform your duty well” (“Freedom and Liberation Can Be Gained Only by Casting Off One’s Corrupt Disposition” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). I realized that those that are really considerate of God’s will cast their own interests aside, making the interests of God’s house their top priority. They consider which course of action will be best for church work and the life entry of others. Only fulfilling one’s duty in this way accords with God’s will. Realizing this, I inquired into everyone’s work progress the next day, and discovered that they were beset with all kinds of issues, so we fellowshiped on principles, sought a path, and made plans to resolve the issues. Two weeks later, we were already getting better results than before. Thank God! Through the experiences I’ve had these past few months, I’ve realized the importance of supervision. I’m willing to accept God’s scrutiny and fulfill my duty well in the future.

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