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Old 12-27-2016, 10:56 AM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Texas
Posts: 936
Default How the Living Stream Ministry got started

It's hard to imagine that there was a time that the Living Stream Ministry publishing house did not exist...at least as it does today. This is my recollection of the "Before" picture and how it evolved. Hopefully some of you who were there will be able to add to the story and correct any mistakes in my memory.

Around 1974 in Austin, Texas there was an announcement about something new coming called “Ministry Station” meetings. This was being shared in all the churches. Until that time, there were no publications other than an occasional booklet called “The Stream”. There was no Living Stream Ministry publishing house and no meeting hall on West Ball Road. WL’s messages were recorded and the audio tapes were distributed to the churches. The brothers then digested WL’s messages and shared them in all the church meetings.

Coming soon! “Ministry Meetings” which would be shared, not in the meeting hall, but in a nearby rented facility. In Austin the meetings were held in a community room of a nearby shopping mall, near the rented hall in north Austin. George Whitington (the “most leading brother”) shared all the messages which were called the “Life Study of Genesis”. Each message later came out in booklet form and sold for $.25 each.

We were told that “the ministry” belonged to Witness Lee. It was HIS ministry and he could handle it any way he wanted because it belonged to him. The “ministry meetings” were NOT church meetings and were therefore NOT to be shared in the church meeting hall/s. The ministry was “for the church”. The church was not “for the ministry.” This was shared several times and the leadership in Austin was adamant that these “ministry meetings” should not be considered church meetings...hence the offsite location. The “ministry” was a help to the church, but was NOT the church.

Someone who was in Austin might recall, but I believe it was about the time that Austin bought its current property on S. Congress Ave. and built a hall that the next change occurred. The message was something like “Oh. Never mind. The ministry meetings will no longer be held offsite but brought in to the church meeting hall.” I guess the unspoken was that the church and the ministry of WL are one in the same. The hall in Anaheim on West Ball Road was built with volunteer labor from all over the globe. The church met in this hall and the Living Stream Ministry presses downstairs began to roll out books, starting with Life Study of Genesis booklets.

At one point later, several Life Studies had been shared, Romans, John, Revelation, etc. and we were still buying those little booklets. The brothers in Austin offered to take all complete sets of booklets and have them hardback bound so we did (including our names engraved in gold!) It was so much better than a gazillion little booklets. Soon we found out how much trouble we were in. Anaheim/LSM took great exception to what we did. We were ordered to STOP forthwith. The LSM was going to publish all the Life Studies in a single bound volume and we had jumped the gun, making it unnecessary for us to purchase what we already had from the LSM. After all, it was Witness Lee’s ministry. It belonged to him.

Of note, Witness Lee actually wrote few, if any, books. The majority of his books were reduced to print from his spoken messages. WL didn't transcribe his own messages! The saints in the churches did. They were serving the ministry of Witness Lee from transcriptions, volunteer labor for building 2 meeting halls including publishing facilities, etc. Everything we were told when the offsite “ministry station meetings” began was reversed and the churches soon belonged to Witness Lee and the LSM. Thus the franchise began.

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