The G12 vision/ movement – What is it?
The G12 vision was started by pastor Cesar Castellanos at the International Charismatic Mission Church in Bogota, Columbia. He states God gave him a vision to build a church based on small groups of 12 that reflected the 12 tribes of Israel and 12 disciples of Jesus in order to better reach people for Christ. This took place in 1983 after Castellanos visited Yoido Full Gospel Church in South Korea led by David Yonggi Cho, considered the largest church in the world.
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This model led to tremendous growth, with the church's website claiming more than 100,000 church members across the nation of Columbia in thousands of cell groups. It now holds a yearly conference in Bogota hosted by the church that trains other leaders in the methods used in its own success. G12 conferences are now held around the world.
The model is based on a pastor who trains 12 people as small group leaders (called cell group leaders). Each of these leaders then repeats this training with 12 others who then train 12 others. It is based around four simple principles: win, consolidate, disciple, and send.
"Win" involves evangelism and bringing new people to Christ. "Consolidate" involves an "Encounter with God" weekend retreat. "Disciple" includes training the new believer to make disciples of others. "Send" involves leaders sent out to start another group that will reproduce 12 additional leaders. While there is nothing wrong with this model, there are some reasons for concern.
First, Castellanos is part of the New Apostolic Reformation which includes other doctrines that are concerning. In particular, the teachings of the prosperity gospel and the "name it and claim it" theology associated with this movement are unbiblical.
Second, other leaders involved in the G12 movement fall into the same category. While the G12 strategy can be helpful to any church as an organizational and discipleship strategy, it is understandable that church leaders would not want to be associated with a movement that includes other unbiblical teachings.
Third, further concerns have been raised about the spiritualizing of the number 12. Since the G12 movement is developed around this number, some of its teaching emphasizes the number 12 to an unhealthy level.
While the G12 movement offers an innovative outreach strategy, its leaders and associations have reasons for concern. Those who wish to make disciples may be able to learn something from its structure but would be advised to be careful regarding the other aspects of the movement.
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