In a training following the July 4th weekend conference, Brother Titus held a couple of Question and Answer sessions. Through these, he was able to share his heart with the saints, and to bring many into his present burden for the churches. The following is an excerpt from one of these sessions.
Q: Dear brother Titus, how do we know when the testimony of the Lord is moving on the earth? How can we be a proper testimony?
Even if the Lord is not moving on the earth, can you start the move? Don’t just jump into the flow. Create the flow, develop the flow. I have been through this in my life many times.
You know why I have so much jealousy? I’m jealous. Why can the world gain us, yet we [the church] cannot? Why can religion possess the saints, and we cannot bring the saints to Christ? What’s wrong with us? We don’t entertain ourselves by saying, “We are somebody. We are the future.” What do you mean by that? Brother, don’t let yourself be burned out. But be very much before Christ. Mean business. Seriously follow the Lord. Tell the Lord, “I must have something real.” [weeping] I look at the church. There’s so much more grief than joy. What are we today? Look at us. We almost lost all our members. Over here, beside the Chinese speaking, how many are undergraduates? Six, seven. Brothers, how many have grown up in the children’s meetings? Shouldn’t all the elders kneel down and repent before the Lord? Shouldn’t all the serving ones who serve the high schoolers kneel down and repent before the Lord? What kind of a thing is this? Yet we are still enjoying a good time. “We are in the Lord’s recovery; We are for the Lord’s testimony.” Brothers, I have so many tears. You say, “Titus, you are so strong.” Yes, I am. I weep; When I consider the situation, I weep. When I consider what we are doing, I weep. Brothers, we don’t put powder on our face to make ourselves white. We are dark; we are dark. We need the Lord’s mercy. You ask me, why do you always have the burden to have this ten month labor? I don’t know if my health will allow me to have many more. I’m an old man. Brothers, let me ask you. If we didn’t have the last ten month labor, could we have a Sam as today’s Sam? A Keith as today’s Keith? Brothers, every full timer was brought in through a lot of sweat, through a lot of tears, and through a lot of labor. Eventually we have these few. I wish you brothers would have more sense of commitment.
I like how Rex shared. How well he preached is not my concern, but the burden which he has. He’s 50. A 50 year old should come into the maturity of his ministry. But to him, I feel it has just begun. A lot more will come from this brother. If, next time, Rex, you assume less and trust the work to the young people more, you will be even more blessed. He can be a very good model now. Ten years, he has suffered. Who was with him in those ten years? His wife was pretty sick for five years. After that, he was pretty sick for five years. Who was with him? Who cared? But he struggled through. And today, the little fruit has come out through the work of the cross. This I call the cross. The experience of death. The experience of a deep valley. But the Lord brings us, carries us out. I don’t know our future. I don’t know our future. Here is another good brother; you are one of the good brothers among us. Yet you only know how to harvest with existing young people. The Lord cannot use you greatly because you don’t even have a heart for the Lord’s testimony. You don’t even have a heart for the enlargement of the Lord’s testimony. Then how can the Lord use us? We have become too small. Am I too much? I share what is in my heart. I don’t play church, brothers. In my life, I don’t play church. But may the Lord also guard our hearts so pure. We don’t play the church. We don’t play church. We want to be so realistic, so solid for the Lord’s testimony. Lord have mercy.
Do you know what’s going to happen next year? Less second generation. Less second generation. More Chinese new ones. Many Chinese here are new. How many are new, you saved in the last 2-3 years? Can you raise up your hand? I thought it’d be more than this. We are going to a dead end. If you want to play the church, let’s play it until it’s all gone. You want to assume faithfulness? “I’m faithful.” Let’s play it. So you’ll be faithful until nothing’s left. We are going in that direction, do you know that? We are not going up. We are going down. Yet we enjoy it. We have no feeling we’re down.
Going home, do you know how sad I was? I heard that someone said, “I understand when Rex speaks more than Titus.” Where’s your future? You are still an outsider. Only outsiders say things like this. If I’m in, I never say things like this. You are still an outsider. You’re not even in the church life. Whether the church is good or bad is irrelevant to you. You just say, “This should be good, that should be good or bad.” Brothers, no. No. I hate this kind of talk. I don’t believe Rex speaks better than I do; if he does, I praise the Lord. But if this kind of thing begins to happen, where you young people after the meeting are discussing whose speaking is better, brothers, you should go home! You are not for the Lord’s testimony. You can see I’m very burdened, right? You can see my concern. I tell you, we will have a worse time. I wish we will have some meeting that will not come to the point where meeting together, only new Chinese immigrants are there. We are finished. We are actually dying, do you know that? Don’t be an outsider, “Oh, you are dying.” No, be part of it. “We are dying. Let’s struggle. Let’s struggle to see young people raised up. Let’s struggle to see brothers that can be talented.” A brother coming to the age of 50 should be very manifested. Yet to us, he’s like new. This is the first time I heard him speak as strong, as relaxed as this time. I really appreciate it. But he’s 50. How about younger ones? 50 is another generation already. How about younger ones? Lord, have mercy.
You should all realize that there is something weighing very heavy within me. To tell you honestly, even the best message is not going to save our situation. My word to you all is this: What you need is not just to have Christ, but to begin to care for a few. We have a good second generation. All that they need is care. We have good college kids. All that they need is care. There are quite a few here who are from Columbus. Do you realize, other localities will not be like this. What is the reason? A couple, brother Wang and sister Wang, labor on a person; they are not doing a work. They very carefully raised up these young people. Why are your churches so low and sloppy? Because you are sloppy. You have no burden. Don’t use reading the Bible as your burden — no, that is not your burden. That’s your job. You need a burden. This is my advice to you – if we have twenty brothers, and each one cares for five, then we will have 100 cared for. That is about 20% of our gathering. Don’t think 550. There are 550 left – a flock without a shepherd. I wonder if you understand what I say. They are under a guardian but not under a shepherd. The good part of a guardian is when the thief comes to steal you, it doesn’t quite work. But the guardian needs to open the door, open the gate and let the flock come out right? I hate to use the word “shepherd” because we find there are almost no shepherds among us. A shepherd is one who is possessed by his sheep. A guardian is one who says, “These sheep belong to me. Am I a shepherd? No, but I consider the profit of my sheep.”
Consider what can be the rescue to today’s situation? What can rescue us? I say “plus five.” That means a team of six. What would you do with this team? Pursue together. Be companions with one another. Preach the gospel together. Bear the testimony together. If you don’t have that, you don’t have a thing! Without these five, you don’t have a thing. Maybe you are a full-timer, but that’s just a status. We are funny people. Full-timers lock themselves in the meeting hall, reading the Bible. That’s the most funny thing you could find on the globe, yet it is happening among us. You cannot be a full-timer or you will become so lonely. If you have a job you still have a few friends. Yet you are a full-timer and you have no friends! How can you preach the gospel? How can you get people saved? How can you raise someone up? Everyone in this room should have five. In this room, we have about 80. If we have 80, then we are covering 400. That just about covers the whole congregation, and our total meeting attendance was 550. Yet 550 are wandering. They come to the meeting hall on Lord’s day morning to attend the meetings, wasting their life. Why? Because nobody shepherds them. Nobody cares for them. Nobody develops them. Nobody applies them as my strength; when he is my strength, I become a blessing. So, be with five — not many, just five. You ask, “What do I do?” You pursue together. Be companions, preach the gospel together, bear the Lord’s testimony together. Just by doing this, you and your husband will have ten. Yet what we need the most, we only have 550 in the meeting. Of course, number wise, we may have 700, 800. But it’s void! There’s no care! No pursuing! No companionship! We use the meeting as a mark, but that’s not right. We should use the saints as a mark.
A spiritual man used to say, “Not everybody should be in the meeting.” Many meetings you should not come to; you should go out with people. But we think, “We only have 20, so if you go out with people, then the meeting will only have 19!” No–go out with people, and after a half-year bring four more to come in. The testimony becomes stronger, and you learn much more than attending all the meetings.
Any church that says, “We don’t have new ones” should realize: No, you do have new ones, but you are lazy. You must go out; try to go out. One sister had an idea of “Music for kids”. So she reached a lot of people. Although there were many, she tried to find the hungry, desirous ones, the ones ready for Christ. The saints went out. They are not lazy. Isn’t it a shame that you are still meeting with 15 or 20? Isn’t it a shame that your church life has no increase? It’s all because you are lazy. Why don’t you tell others you are retired so that others can get up? Yet you still hold the leadership. The whole church is killed by you and you are a full timer. Shame.
Lord have mercy, sorry. Please, nobody listen to this as if I am speaking to you. No, I am speaking about the overall situation, not to any individual. Because all the churches are dying. Not just one church–all the churches are dying. If Cleveland has one new couple come in, that becomes an advertisement. Something “So good.” Why are you not with people? Can you be with five? I’m with just these five. Praying together, pursuing together, preaching the gospel together, going to McDonald’s together, being at each other’s homes. These five or six become a nice group; they become attractive. Adjust your meeting to whatever the need is. If one young couple comes in, don’t hold your message. I was in Miami and went to one brother’s home. Do you know what he did? He opened the Bible and wanted to give a message. Then Jimmy told him, “No, Titus is here.” He doesn’t even care, and he knows me! He reads the Bible every day and would not go out or care for one person. Shame! I asked him and the whole congregation was about 8 or 10 with a few new ones. Everybody was killed by that lousy speaking. How do you treat the saints? As those who can listen to your talk? What is your burden? Shame! That’s why no churches get raised up. You pick up all these bad habits—nothing good. Why don’t you go out? Why don’t you all go out and preach the gospel to somebody? You hold the meeting like this—for what? You don’t need a meeting like this. Everybody knows each other so well. Everybody knows what you will say so well. Everybody should go out and simply preach the gospel! We come together and we have the Lord’s table – that’s what we need. Afterward, let’s pray. After prayer, we all preach the gospel. We knock on doors. We invite them to different homes for dinner. The church will be fruitful! You say you are burdened, but you are burdened for nothing! The Bible is not for you to be burdened. You should be burdened for the Lord. Gaining the Lord and preaching the gospel. Lord have mercy.
Can you all have five? Please. Five. With these five, I do four things:
- We pursue.
- We become companions to one another.
- We go out and preach the gospel.
- We bear the testimony together
Eventually, we five have a meeting which is more alive than the Lord’s day morning meeting, the church meeting, and then we meet in the home. So let the Lord have a way at least to begin to gain somebody. We use our meetings to kill everybody. Whosoever is new and comes to our meeting is finished. There’s a good sister, just recently in Cleveland, who came to the meeting for a short time and left. She said, “Are you either Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormon?” Brother! Shouldn’t you cry? Shouldn’t you cry for the situation? Shouldn’t you have total repentance for whatever you do?
Lord give us something fresh and new. Shouldn’t you drop the hall? You meet at the hall—for what? The hall is for a joint conference. We need the hall for large conferences. Go out. Become vital and fruitful!
Brother, sorry. Am I too much? Lord have mercy. I better not say too much. I got emotional too. But within me I look unto the Lord, “Lord what do we need today? Mercy. How do we cry out? Mercy. Be merciful to us, so that we can go on. Lord, have mercy.”