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NEGATIVE – G12 has not been a help to me
My concern about G12 at our church is the narrow view of leadership. Yes, “narrow” is the best word to describe the approach and the attitudes that are conveyedfromthe pulpit and in leadership meetings.
There are many different styles of leadership, even the business world recognises that. But G12 only works with the CEO style of leadership; Top down style. Then there is a narrow definition of the workings of the gifts. Everyone is expected to pray the same way and evangelize the same way. At least, if you want your efforts to be valued in any way. All this seems to fly in the face of 1 Corinthians 12.
I have opted out of the heirarcy of G12 and know that I no longer have a voice in the church. And I am fearful of suggesting to people, one-on-one, that they trust the voice of the Holy Spirit in their lives and do things according to God’s voice for them. If it ever got back to the “higher-ups”, there could be painful ramifications. I also know that the way I exercise the disciplines like prayer and bible study and the ways I reach out to my neighbours are not valuable to the leadership (but rather rebellious to some degree) because I am not using prescribed methods.
I sometimes fantasise about being told by leadership that I have “rejected them” and calmly replying, “Funny. I feel rejected myself.”
The following comments were translated from Spanish:
It seems to me to be an article very focussed and objective. I congratulate you and I agree that we must examine every aspect of this model with that which is biblically established, it is indeed very easy to be tempted to use a method and justify it with verses out of context if this represents success in the number of members in the church.
It is important to stress that the end does not justify the means. Numbers are important and it is true that God loves the multitudes, His desire is that everyone comes to repentance and is saved. Without doubt the most important thing is not to be able to say that I have a church with 25,000 cells but to raise up men and women affirmed in a faith which is complete and with firm doctrines, who love God and who understand that consulting Him and learning more about Him each day through Bible reading is important.
People must depend on God, not a Pastor, in order to grow in intimacy with the Lord. If this does not happen we create a sentimental society which is easily confused by false religions and prophets, a society which blindly believes in its Pastor, who also can make mistakes. Because of this and much more the Bible clearly says Cursed is he who puts his trust in man. The Bible says that the people perish for lack of understanding and I believe for lack of understanding many deviate from sound doctrine and faith. The complete teaching of the fundamental doctrines of the Bible are lacking in this model and I cannot give it 100 percent support. One of the major concerns which I have with model of 12 is that power is concentrated in one person (The Principal Pastor) and those who question what he says and who have a different opinion are told that it is not pleasing in Gods eyes and that it is rebellion. It is almost as though there is an infallible Pope (as in Roman Catholicism)
The Bible says that in a multitude of counsellors there is wisdom and it also says that the heart of man is deceitful and that our thoughts are not like Gods thoughts. For this reason that we must consult God for each decision which we make and not follow any man blindly. The Bible says that ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. In spite of the fact that I believe firmly in the principle of subjection and obedience I believe also in a structure of Elders and Deacons or leaders with whom the Pastor should meet in order to make important and sensitive decisions. I don’t think that the Pastor should have 12 leaders who are principally to give him honour and obey him. This model can be used for the temptation of the Pastor who can fall into various sins because of the amount of power which it gives to him and this can be very dangerous. Although this model can be very well intentioned and the pastors involved can be too, these themes are of great importance and must not be ignored. More, I think they should be evaluated and changed. There are parts of the model which are very good such as the principle of evangelisation and consolidation through small groups. However the model is implemented as a formula where you are warned that if you alter it you are in rebellion or doing something very incorrect in the eyes of God. The reality is that this model is not 100 percent Biblical and God must reveal to each pastor the correct vision to follow with His church One model can serve for one place but it is not necessarily the Biblical formula for all places.
I feel very grateful for having found this article which seems to me to be objective and with……..
Michelle Nuñez Willoughby
I briefly attended a G12 church, xxx in xxx, Louisiana. Xxx has been a G12 church for some time, but Claudia and Cesar Castellanos are newly listed as pastors, along with the founding pastor and his wife. I found your website by entering the names of the Castellanos in a search engine.
I intermittently visit the Xxx website to see if the church is getting any closer to becoming a cult than I thought it was in 2002, and I am thankful to see that it’s gone from four services to one or two. Xxx has deeply hurt a large number of people.
My daughter was invited by a girl she did not know, to come to a cell meeting when they were both in eighth grade. Even though the girl never asked my daughter her name, being lonely and having very few friends, my daughter was happy to be invited anywhere there were girls her own age. I brought my daughter to the cell leader’s house, met her mother, and soon thereafter started attending Xxx.
Aside from Xxxt’s somewhat disproportionate focus on growth, and my concern that a church would have newly believing Christian youth leading new Christian teenagers, everything at the church seemed fine at first, until I attended a particular service. There was a guest preacher from South Africa speaking, and afterward, he encouraged people to come up for prayer. Having been recently diagnosed with MS, I went up, and found myself being PUSHED to the floor with a hand to my forehead. I do believe that they were attempting what I’ve heard described as, “slaying in the Spirit,” but to me, it was a push to the floor. In fact, when I told the woman with whom I attended this service about being pushed by the preacher, she told me I should have just done a, “courtesy drop.” I was amazed, and amused, that for this drama, the term, “courtesy drop” had been developed. It reminded me of Elmer Gantry. It surely did not convey to me anything coming from the Holy Spirit.
It was at about this time that I found out my daughter was going on a retrea called, ‘Encounter’. I knew nothing about this plan until three hours before my daughter was supposed to leave. I called the youth group’s eighteen-year-old leader and asked if she’d given my daughter a release form to fill out. She hadn’t. I was alarmed that a church would put a teenage girl in charge of such young girls, and even more alarmed that they did not routinely have a medical release form for the parents to sign, nor was any sort of information about the ‘Encounter’ provided to parents.
I told the youth leader that I would have to get more information about ‘Encounter’, and then would consider it and perhaps allow my daughter to attend the next time it was offered.
My daughter was never invited to any events outside of cell group meetings and the ‘Encounter’ weekend, although the kids in attendance talked in front of her about activities they’d done and were planning, to which my daughter was never invited. My daughter’s attendance was apparently the cell leader’s only concern, not her spiritual needs or growth. I can’t fault the cell leader, however, since she was under the influence of the unbelievably rigid program of indoctrination and obedience. Plus, she was only thirteen years old!
Amongst other things, her cell leader told my daughter that any non-Christian music she listened to was letting Satan into her life. This upset my very gentle and sensitive daughter, who has never behaved in any way that would indicate Satanic influence. I can’t remember all the strange and awful things my daughter was told at cell and at the youth group meetings, but I very well remember this: the youth minister told the youth that they didn’t need to worry about school or even doing their homework, so long as they were attending cell group meetings and doing the different programs of indoctrination that apparently were required of all church members. He essentially told the youth that if they stayed with the program, God would take care of the rest and that education was not important if they were being obedient.
I then wrote a well-thought-out letter to the church’s youth minister, telling him of my concerns and my belief that they would not make any headway in xxx if the leaders tried to shroud activities with young people in mystery. I never received a response or any kind of acknowledgment of my letter; the pastors’ completely failing to acknowledge my concerns was almost the final straw for me.
I continued attending services there, but with rapidly dwindling enthusiasm. All that Pastor B. seemed to talk about was increasing the size of the church through what eerily reminded me of methods I’d seen practiced at Amway meetings. He told congregants to gather people to come to Harvest from wherever they could, even from other churches. I thought that was wrong, and it sure did not sound like anything Jesus taught.
Aside from those concerns, I enjoyed meeting people and hoped to make new friends, and was happy to contribute my artistic talent to creating designs for the Christmas season that was upcoming.
However, upon questioning one of the pastoral team, about how it could be Biblically correct for them to state that all Christians are leaders when the body of Christ described in 1 Corinthians 12:28 states otherwise, I was told, “You need to humble yourself before God.” I remember looking at her and thinking that she was really saying I could never question the authority of the leadership.
That statement was the last straw for me. My daughter and I ended all contact with the group.
It took my daughter a very long time to recover from the hurt she received when she realized that the girls in her cell group only viewed her as a number for the growth “Vision.” My daughter would not set foot in any church that bore the slightest resemblance to xxx. But, praise God, we have found a very wonderful and God-grown church, Church of the King in xxx, and my daughter’s hurt is healing. However, I continue to run into people, both teens and adults, who are still hurting from being rejected and bullied in the name of God and in various ways, by people in authority at xxx. I see no change away from the G12 regime there, and from viewing the Harvest website, can only conclude that it’s getting worse when I see that xxx is deeply committed to the whole G12 program.
I hope that you, and others like you, can help stop what I see as fast-growing cultic apostasy. When I read excerpts from Cesar Castellanos’ book, it worries me. So much is made of obeying one man’s “vision.” I do not see in the G12 concept any glorification of God, only glorification of man and his “vision.” If all G12 churches end up placing themselves, unquestioningly, under one man’s authority, it will be a perfect setup for a one-world church obedient to a man, and not to God.
My church in the east of Scotland was one of the first to adopt the g12 vision nearly 10 years ago. In the begining, it seemed like a very good idea, it was true, people were remaining static in their Christian walk and the g12 way seemed to encourage people to become more active in their Christian lives.
However as time went on, things began to change, the focus moved to how well you could perform for the church, your cell leader was in control of you and you weren’t allowed to question anything. The g12 vision became (I’m not sure if it was in the beginning) a very spiritually abusive movement focused on numbers and performance
I believe that because it happened slowly then that is why there was not a mass exodus (you know the analogy about the frog staying in the pot until it boils because it doesn’t notice the water warming up).
The pressure to perform became enormous. If you weren’t attending extra meetings (there were several during the week now) you were chastised in front of your other cell group members.
If you were having problems in your life that were affecting your performance in cell then you were asked to leave the cell group and be on your own until you could get yourself together (this is far from the loving caring cell group in times of need that we had thought we would get!)
We were supposed to ask our cell leaders permission if we wanted to do routine things (like go on holiday etc) if they did not approve of you, you were “disciplined” = ignored, sent out of cell till you would conform, not allowed to talk at cell group meetings and other cell members were told to ignore you (all for our own benefit you understand!!) You were not allowed to question your cell group leader or you faced removal from your cell. You were repeatedly pressured to be part of a serving team at church and if you weren’t you were regularly taken aside and asked why.
One of my friends could not cope with all the pressure and left the church (she had been born into that church) she left on good terms with us but because she had rejected the g12 vision we were instructed not to talk to her.
All of this is a far cry from the loving church that god wishes us to be. I personally have been very damaged by g12, I reported the spiritual abuses in my cell to one of the pastors in my church and she did nothing about it.
My church has now left the g12 vision (although this was not widely publicized) as for numbers, we never really saw the huge harvest that g12 promised. Even if some churches have grown hugely as a result of g12 that in itself is not proof it is from god, “fruit” does not just mean numbers (otherwise the Mormons might be considered a good movement) I have heard from a friend in Colombia that many people that have left the MCI church are very spiritually damaged by their experiences, so much so that other churches in the area are offering specific counselling for people who have come out of g12.
At the moment, my church is operating (along with many other previously pro-g12 churches who have now left g12) “the principle of 12″ essentially the same thing but different name. I hope and pray that it does not follow the mistakes that it made with g12.
I was an atheist mum of 3 with severe depression when I was invited to a G12 church. No anti depressants or therapy had helped on a long term basis but the promises given by the church gave me hope that I could recover from my depression and could not only be an effective mum but could also enjoy my role. I made a decision that I was going to believe and devote myself to Jesus.
I drank in the bible as being God’s word and loved the whole “cell” and “ladder of success” system as it guided me on the path I wanted to follow. However, I was frustrated that I could not discuss that which I read in the bible or that which I had been learning with anyone else. Discussion was not encouraged as it left our minds open to the misdirection of “the enemy”. I learned to just accept without question although I couldn’t help having doubts which I just kept to myself.
Being a committed student I raced through the initial stages of the ladder of success but my doubts did not go away nor did my depression, although it had only come in bouts since I had found Jesus. Nine months after converting from an atheist I found myself at the place where I was soon to start my own cell. There was constant pressure to bring other people to be saved but how could I encourage others when I had so many doubts and was no shining example of how God answers your prayers. My cell leader told me that “the enemy” made me think I had doubts and “the enemy” made me think I had depression.
The pastor was preaching that God has many blessing to bestow and much healing to provide but we had to know the “keys” (another word for rules). I started thinking my depression wasn’t being healed because I didn’t have enough faith or because I sinned too much or because I didn’t have enough devotional time or because I allowed the depression to keep a hold of me etc. etc. Pressure was building. And it was going to get worse.
To remain in God’s favour we could not just sit on the bench and be a follower. If we loved Jesus then we must be ready to lay down our lives for him and lead others in his path. We were told that over a specific fortnight we were to invite 3 people to our house for dinner and go out with them to any activity we could think of so that at the end of the 2 weeks we could invite them to church. I felt this whole strategy was wrong wrong wrong! Manipulative, insincere and dishonest: feigning friendship with the sole purpose of winning their souls. Apart from which I was not in a position to carry out the tasks: my house was a mess and I was poor company lacking in energy and enthusiasm. I shut down and left the church.
My cell leader still comes to see me all the time to encourage me to return. She says that without the church there is only death. My kids still go because they really enjoyed it and have friends there but I know that soon they will not be allowed to go unless I go. I have seen it happen to other kids.
Looking back I can see just how much manipulation and emotional blackmail there was. We were not allowed to have doubts or be negative about anything as this was a sinful lack of faith and the work of the enemy. We had to sow ourselves fully into the church: time, energy, money. Well, we weren’t “forced” to do anything but if we didn’t we wouldn’t receive God’s blessings.
I have been left very disappointed and disenchanted but am glad to FREE of the G12 vision!
I was part of a G12 Church in the North East of the United Kingdom for 2 1/2 years. At first I thought it was great, I had always been a bit of a bench warmer before but now I could see myself being active for God.
I took hold of everything told to me by my pastors and refused to accept any arguments against them, even when I felt uneasy with the things they where saying.
Over 2 years I had become so brainwashed that I was contemplating cutting contact with my parents because they where warning me about my pastors. Eventually though everything came tumbling down when the pastors targeted my sister and began accusing her of having all sorts of ‘Spirits’ just because she has questioned them. My eyes where opened and I saw not only what had happened then but what was also happening around me.
I am convinced that at one time G12 was a good thing, but whatever it was and whatever it is now are two very different things. I thought it might have just been my church but I have read so many reports from all over the world from people who have been hurt by G12 that I know it is widespread. I truly believe that G12 is the most destructive thing to hit the UK and I hope that it will soon come to an end.
My church in the NE UK adopted G12 around 4 yrs ago. To start with, it coexisted fairly happily with the original house groups. Although I admired several aspects of the programme (Encounter weekends, the emphasis on being outward looking), I became increasingly uneasy with the very rigid way it was being implemented. For example, my house group was repeatedly & strongly encouraged to submit the normal weekly form that cell groups must complete. This I felt was both bureaucratic and intrusive — who attended the meeting, what was discussed. To be honest, it felt more like big brother & control freakery, which reinforced my unease that the whole thing was more like a machine than a family, or the Body of Christ. The rigid division of cell groups by gender didn’t feel right either, especially as the early church met all together.
There were other factors too such as odd Biblical exposition, an emphasis on unquestioning submission, and teaching that bordered on the prosperity ‘gospel’.
Eventually an ultimatum was given that it was to be G12 or nothing, so the church effectively split, although many people had already drifted away. What was once a large thriving charismatic fellowship of around 400, ended up a a small rump of possibly 80. Several of those who left were disillusioned members of the prime G12 team.
My church adopted the G12 principle over 3 years ago and I have had grave concerns and our church has actually diminished from approx 600 to approx 100 in that time. I have also had concerns over the leadership and pastoring of the senior elder that implimented this structure (against the will of the other elders) My husband and I are going to visit the senior elders to discuss our concerns for the church and this article has helped me see the G12 movement in a more balanced way. It was good to see both sides in one article. Thanks again.
My Church became involved with G12 approximately 7 years ago and it has been to me, and many others who have left as well as some of those who are still there, a living nightmare!
I believe that God spoke to Cesar Castelanos in answer to his question regarding his own desire to see his own church grow. Jesus sent his disciples out into different areas to do different things – no one ministry is the same as the next but it will achieve His purpose if He has sent His Word and anointing into it. Who decided that we in the West must follow this program?
I am at the place now where I need to speak to my pastor and his wife, but know that whatever I say will be regarded as murmuring and grumbling – which is something we are frequently reminded of. Why do we stay? Because the UNITY of the body of Christ is greater than the G12 method of evangelism.
When I read its introduction to our Church, I was overjoyed and thought ‘at last, the Christians are waking up.’ As time went by I became distressed, confused, my mind and emotions went to war with my spirit, but, I made a decision to go through with the entire program so that I would have a balanced view. To describe the problems would seem petty and immature, yet it has brought nothing but division, division, division. The love of God,the love and ‘togetherness’ (oneness of mind and spirit) of the Body of Christ seems to have been thrown out and replaced with a pursuit of something that has no clarity. Instead of growth,as preached in the G12 program, we have seen people come to Jesus in 1s and 2s. As fast as they come in through the front door, most of the fellowship have left through the back door. Most of the eldership have also left, in fact there is only one of the appointed elders still there – his age and financial position may be playing a big part in his staying as he is over 60. There has been no growth, just a constant turn over of people coming and going and the number remains the same about 70 or 80!
I have begun to blame myself for not seeing this vision clearly and embracing it. Yes! I hear you say the word ‘abused’ – that is exactly how I feel. If this disaster has done anything for me, it has made me press into God for my life and to seek His face daily. However, I have had to be obedient to His direction, which is to stay in that place of discomfort!
I must start with Praising the good Lord for calling upon me when He did! He has placed me where He has for His purpose and I am not responding to this article to throw an opinion out to the world that may influence any individual in the wrong way. I strongly urge each individual reading this to examine their own questions to our one and only God Almighty!
I am at present still involved with a G12 “vision” church but I know I need t leave and am waiting the Lord’s timing on this. I say involved because in the eyes of “my spiritual family,” I have not attained the seal of acceptance of completely being labelled a member since I have yet to fulfil my “journey through the cross.” (Formally known as Encounters) It has only been God keeping me from past scheduled Encounters weekend since I have continually prayed about it. Every chance I had to go or was strongly urged to go, it did not work out. Hurricane Katrina left us Encounter-less for the last 4 months, so to clarify any confusion of a rebellious spirit. I know with all of my heart that the Lord has called me to be a leader with genuine compassion for all people and to influence those lost with proper directions home, but for some reason this vision has not given me the peace in my spirit that it should. He has made radical changes in me all in a matter of 9 months and I must be gracious for my Pastor and the church for their very orderly structure and biblical teachings. I pray for them…
I began receiving many Spiritual blessings from Him immediately. I am a single Mother of three children in which my 2 year old’s father and myself began attending church together as a family. He is no longer a part of our lives or because of the bondage the devil has him in. I continue to pray for him. The Lord has brought me up and out of many dark valleys which is inscribed into my heart to never return. My obedience and trust in His word has opened the floodgates of heavens blessings.
As He continues to speak to me about many things, I try to share in the prosperity and give my gifts to others. I am a giver and I love to share so I put much emphasis on truly giving what’s in my heart to my babies in Christ. After only three months of salvation, God began using me to guide others to Him. I had no idea what “the vision” was about, but I knew I loved God and knew that He had so much He wanted me to tell others about. I began bringing new converts in and in my efforts to reach out to them, I have been given the rod of reproach from my “family.” “I should not be ministering since I don’t have a full understanding yet.” On numerous occasions offensive things have been said then backed up with scriptures implying the message was from the Lord in our cell groups, but one is not to take offence because offence is from the enemy. Many times during prayer requests, my needs were literally forgotten. I rarely get chosen to pray for others, I for fear of disorder. As my God tells me, love above all things for it shall never fail and it has been my main objective. I have been putting so much emphasis on trying to keep peace and love, carefully picking the right things to say so that the devil does not have ammunition to deceive anyone.
It’s been quite a ride since one of my very good friends and new convert from before getting to know Christ, whom is now also a part of this network(G-12), feels as if the Lord has directed her to depart from sitting with me in the congregation and to pull away from me also in our personal friendship. Do not forsake your own friend or your father’s friend…(Proverbs 27:10) It is sometimes difficult to maintain my Christ-like statute as my heart has been pierced from betrayal. The Lord gave me that confirmation in a dream. God is my strength and He’s been carrying me through with reassurance that my rejection only means I’m blessed as Jesus was rejected. I continue to show love to all those around me to the best of my ability and take all things to our Most High, for He is Love. (1 John 4:8) As He loves our respect and consideration, He continues to reveal many things to me.
I was blessed with another prophetic word from the Lord last week while sleeping. The Spirit woke me and I began uttering “faith tabernacle, faith tabernacle.” Since I have researched it, because I am not a bible scholar, I had no idea what a tabernacle was. The Lord has given me yet another confirmation that His hand gently directs me in all things. I have learned that with the blood of Jesus (grace), our New covenant, we are free. Freedom should not dictate our every move and our every effort in helping another brother or sister to edification. Freedom doesn’t have a master, as servants do not know what a master is doing, He calls us His friend.(John 15:15) If we have the revelation that Christ laid down His life for us, so to set us free because of Love, we will return His love by laying down our lives(fleshly). We (people) are the church as a whole. We do not have a specific holy place where it is there that communion must be made with God, but since Jesus has risen and lives within those that accept Him, our bodies are the tents or tabernacles of The Holy One. Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16) He has more to reveal to me about His words “faith tabernacle” and I am so excited to know exactly what He’s wants from me. I have much confidence that He will direct me in all truth, for He is the way, the truth and the life. (John 14:6)
For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law, but under grace. (Roman 6:14) How many laws are governed with the G-12 vision by man?
There is ONE God and submitting to the authority of man for numbers sake doesn’t sound appealing to me. If it is not done in the “visions” orderly formatted plan, there seems to be suspicion of enemy attack. These are only a couple of examples of my experience thus far in the G-12 vision and I know that all of my motives have been for the purpose of edification for the body of Christ and not for my own title of “cell leader”. Christ Jesus has already given me a title of leadership and anointing in HIS fiery eyes, which is the light that ignites the fire I have for HIM. Therefore let no one boast in men.(1 Corinthians 3:21)
Update – 12.01.2006.
I am now an ex G12 member! I am FREE! God has released me! Now I have to figure out what He wants me to do to get my friends and many more out. The phone call from my leaders leader, who has never called me with a concern of my well being, proved many things. The conversation started with a precious voice asking how I was doing. My response was that of excitement, “I’m doing great and yourself?” Immediately she asks, “I was calling to see if you would be at service tomorrow?” I replied, “You know the answer to that question and that is why you have called.” She then went on to tell me that’s why she called. The Pastor of the church wanted an appointment with me. The conversation led into hostility in her voice because I would not comply. She made efforts to spiritually manipulate me, but I was firm. I knew what God had told me. I knew what God had showed me. I was even rebuked as if it were the devil controlling my actions. I was told that I should not go to others. I should be VERY careful of God’s anointed ones. I agreed with her. We should all be very careful of speaking against God’s anointed You see what I have learned based on my whole life’s experiences is that the devil always accuses his opponent of what he’s guilty of. The Bible also teaches us that those with impure hearts think with impure hearts.
The Lord reminded me of Matthew 4:8-10.
“Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, (He shows me the mountain being very large at the bottom and very small at the top, like a pyramid or G12 vision) and showed Him all the kingdoms (‘leaders’ must lead these kingdoms) of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, ‘All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan!’ For it is written, ‘you shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”
We heard preached again and again about submission to spiritual authority and I have witnessed my pastor get down on his knees to submit and serve his authority, naming the men above him in this vision (pyramid). His efforts in drilling how important “order” and “submitting” are, has never felt right in my Spirit and I often talked to God about it and prayed for clarity. I’m receiving it, and God has a plan.
They are seriously setting up for war and emphasising that we are either “for God” or “against God.” That I believe to be true (The devil always starts by telling the truth and masquerading himself as God), however they are enforcing this G-12 vision to be the “for God”. I had never been taught the Word in my life, but I knew there was a God. My “training” with them has been for a purpose, but Jesus Christ is my teacher. Walking with Him and talking to Him daily prevents the devil from causing me any confusion. Praise GOD!
Many people are caught in bondage, not knowing they are trapped, and this makes it difficult to get out. I have now been sent to another Church because I need a spiritual friend who can help me tackle this thing.
I urge anyone in G12, that truly loves the Lord, to pray hard. Be attentive to all that is taught about how we must submit, submit, submit! Ask the Lord to show you how this does not line up with His Word. I submit to my Lord and serve Him and refuse temptation of leadership. Jesus is our friend, He does not keep things from us. Jesus had 12 disciples, but one betrayed Him. Wouldn’t that mean that 1 in 12 is a devil? Think about that…The Lord builds the Churches, not man. I will pray for all that are caught. Peace be with you.
My home church adopted this model as it was handed down to a new leader. It was incredibly divisive! A church of 500 is now below 80, with mature, faithful people forced out because they do not embrace the G12 doctrine which is preached at the expense of everything else. I watched the leader at the front, talk about the twelve spies and I quote:
“… two had faith, ten didn’t. You either have faith, or unbelief… there are churches with faith and churches with unbelief, G12 churches and others!”
He went on to say the only growing churches are G12 churches. He has now proved this to be true but still, even as his elders have left, holds on to the thought of a church of 10000 within 3 years. It was the same 4 years ago and now he is left with 20% of a fantastic church, torn apart by this heresy. Fortunately we immigrated before the worst, all our friends who were mature, faith filled believers have now moved on. The church is dying, has no money but cannot say it is wrong! Tim (UK)
Translated from Spanish:
Hello I am a Colombian and belonged to the G12 vision in the ‘Cruzada Cristiana’ Church in Cali for more than a year. During that time I attended encounters and reencounters and was one of the [council of] 12 of the pastor of the local church. I never failed to attend conventions or any other programme organised by MCI in Colombia. In the church all was blessings and I was at the point where I was the right hand man of the pastor but at the same time I was losing my family. My wife couldn’t take any more she only saw me after 10 or 11 at night because of the leaders meetings, cell groups or daily visits which in the beginning I was taught to do to please God, afterwards it became obligatory if the devil was not to touch my family or my pocket. Paradoxically my wife and children saw what I did not, I was losing them and with good reason, I couldn’t stand it any more I was tired I was afraid of God I was having nightmares continually. We were having secret meetings and projecting videos from MCI where Freddie [youth pastor] and Claudia [women’s pastor] taught how to win a soul by means of ‘tactics’ I asked myself “and the power of the Holy Spirit?”.
I do not participate any more in this famous vision, I am involved now in another church and after a year of being retired from it I feel the Lord has helped me to understand that His burden is light and that He isn’t a God of punishment. I received many calls and visits from my brethren where they, even the pastor himself, accused me of being influenced by Satan because I did not agree with many points of the vision.
As a Christian in the UK for twenty-five years (I’m mid-40s), I’ve seen various evangelistic initiatives come and go. Billy Graham video relays, ‘From Minus To Plus’, and so on. They’ve all seemed like great ideas at the time, but in terms of numbers, the response has been very disappointing, at least when compared to the outrageous predictions of some of our church leaders. But the numbers are part of the problem. When Jesus sent out His first disciples, He gave them a mission; to ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptised will be saved’ (Mark 16:15). In other words, it’s supposed to be a ‘person-to-person thing’, not dependent on nationwide campaigns or worldly marketing. Jesus didn’t say ‘You each need to get 12 (or 144) other people saved, then bring them back here and we’ll have mega-church.’
The latest idea to hit my (now ex-) church is ‘G12′, a scheme imported from Columbia, where it has been a framework that has seen tremendous church growth. Which is great, any system that sees large numbers of people become genuine Christians has got to be good. But there’s a danger in importing systems from one culture and trying to apply them to another. In G12, every Christian becomes a leader, discipling 12 others, who then in turn have their own twelves, while remaining part of their original group. It’s a system that demands plenty of fresh non-Christian contacts, a ‘wildfire’ community and plenty of time from everyone involved, all of which are true in the Hispanic community in Columbia’.
Back in the UK, people lead very different lives, from the ‘Englishman’s home is his castle’ attitude to our static friendship groups and lifestyle, to perceived time pressures that restrict the number of formal ‘meetings’ that can be attended or convened each week. In short, G12 (or similar systems from other parts of the world, such as Jethro) just won’t work in the UK to the same extent. It’s interesting to note that when Kensington Temple, in London, tried G12 recently, it was only their Hispanic offshoot church which saw great growth – it’s a culture thing. The temptation is to see G12 as the latest cure-all that will see massive church growth in the Western world; instead of which, it’s simply yet another organisational distraction. What we should be doing is what Jesus told us to do, in our gatherings, house to house, person to person (Acts 2:46).
There are other problems with the G12 model. The 1 Corinthians 12:28 ministries (‘apostles, prophets, teachers, miracles, gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues’) are effectively sidelined with the ‘everybody is a leader’ philosophy. Are we all the same? Don’t we all have unique ‘diversities of gifts’ (1 Corinthians 12:6) that fit together into the whole church body? Trying to homogenise the church is undoing all the wonderful creative work that God is trying to bring out through each of us.
And how will G12 cope with the weak, the unconfident, the downhearted, the introverts, the uneducated? With the pyramid-growth G12 system, such people will at best be shunted from group to group as ‘unproductive’ and at worst will simply drop off the bottom. Isn’t ‘true religion looking after the widows and orphans’ (James 1:27), loving the unlovely, placing the last first (Matthew 20:16) and generally blessing all those around us, even those who don’t share our beliefs and ideals (Luke 6:28)? The mention of education (or lack of it) is important here, as the G12 system demands that every member goes through three terms of ‘School of Leaders’ tuition, each culminating in a written exam and with lack of attendance or failure not tolerated. The system is aimed at middle class, educated people with lots of time on their hands. What about the uneducated, those with young families or those that don’t traditionally ‘fit in’? Aren’t these the people we’re supposed to be reaching out to? Didn’t Jesus say that we had to have faith like ‘little children’ (Matthew 18:3)? Looking at the heroes of the Christian church, the ones who God anointed mightily with power to work miracles, most of them (e.g. Smith Wigglesworth, Billy Bray) were simple men with simple faiths.
The modern church, just as the ancient church, needs to be characterised by love, patience, joy, peace etc., (see Galatians 5) and unity. If applying G12 in your culture means causing division in the church, cultivating ambition or unconsciously creating lust for power or importance, then it’s best left alone. The Bible has plenty of advice for living the Christian life and running ‘church’ – why look elsewhere if you don’t need to? – Steve (UK)
My wife and I pastored a church for several years before becoming involved with a G12 church in … After five years of deep commitment we were challenged about our level of submission in a manner which has left us deeply traumatised, even two years later. The G12 vision allowed a level of control which ultimately created a church completely controlled by the governmental structure of the cells. As eager and committed Christians we happily submitted to this. However, we were eventually asked to leave the church because we could no longer be ‘just be the same as everyone else’ and represent the pastor and his wife. We could no longer minister in a way that people would see them in us, despite at that time our earnest effort’s to do exactly that.
Many people from the church have similarly been spiritually wounded and some have lost faith; the consistent damage done is very concerning. When you are in the G12 vision you sincerely believe it is God’s answer to the church, but once out, things look very different. The climate of fear led us, and many others we know, to a real fear that coming out of the vision would lead to a curse on our lives that could lead to death. This was not helped by being told we had a spirit of death!
We have since had to work through these issues and had to ask ourselves “was it the G12 vision or was it the church?” Our conclusion has been that although the leadership of the church (of which we were part) has a large responsibility. They embraced the vision in a way that created a very controlling regime; the vision itself fuels such a system and creates the mindset and structure that ultimately sees anything outside the vision as sin and disobedience, and anything in, as allowable and God’s purpose.”
POSITIVE – G12 has been a help to me
My church has been involved with G12 for a couple of years now; I knew my church before G12 and I stopped attending. When I came back, my church was radically changed, transformed, and not for the bad. I had never been stable in a church or in my walk with God, now that I walk in to my church with G12 I experience the best life ever. I live in xxx and people that walk in to my church always remain. Its not like other churches around were people backslide all the time.
G12 is not a cult. There is nothing wrong with souls being rescued by Jesus; there’s nothing wrong in lives being transformed. People that knew me 2 years ago don’t recognise me, I have never been this happy in my life. They see it, its all Jesus. To those who think G12 is controlling every move, every aspect of my church, they are wrong; G12 is only a strategy to win souls but if you don’t have the Holy Spirit to guide you through, you will only be following guidelines with no love, no passion and most important with no compassion. If you guys could meet the loving group of youth in my church you would see what I’m talking about. Guys and girls sold out for Jesus. We have every kind of person and its love and compassion that keeps them there; most of the youth in my church attend school and work, and none of us are forced to go anywhere, we do it because we love the souls, we do it because we love to see families restored, we do it because in every life we see a life that can be changed with the touch of God. Our desire is to love them and to show them the love of the Father. We don’t speak compassion we show compassion; because I say I have compassion but do not show any action then I just feel bad for their life and that gets us nowhere; we are a church of prayer, fasting, and compassion, of giving and loving, of nurturing and encouraging.
I was lost 2 years ago, I was lost in thoughts of suicide, my best friends spent nights at the night-clubs. My best friend was a bottle of tequila, now my best friend is Jesus. My pastor encouraged me to go back to school and now I’m about to transfer to a university. I’m sorry for the people that didn’t have a G12 church with the same love as mine, but I know that my church is not the only G12 church with love; there are many more. I am sorry for your bad experiences but now that you are at another church, continue to pursue Jesus, ask Him for more passion, ask Him for more of Him.
Well, I can’t say what the experience of G12 involvement is like in other churches, but I can speak from mine. All the accusations and complaints that I read here seem strange to me, as none of it has happened to me or any that I know.
I am leadership in a three year old G12 church plant. Yes, it has been a lot of work [excuse me, but since when was it discovered that the apostles in the NT had a cushy life?], but every sacrifice has been worth it. I grew up in traditional North American church, where one pastor would be burnt out by the work of pastoring a large congregation. In most cases, his only “help” was a controlling board and a smattering of volunteers. The congregation was constantly asked to help, but were given no mentorship or training. You could end up with any doctrinal wierdo teaching your kids in Sunday School, simply because they had sat in church for a while and signed up as a volunteer. Board members weren’t necessarily chosen because of ministry giftings and spiritual fruit – but instead how long they had sat in church and/or how much money they gave the church. Many volunteers were burnt out, and ended up hating it all. There was no one else to spread the load with. Many members of the congregation sat there Sunday after Sunday, getting spoon fed whatever the pastor happened to be thinking about that week, and never taught how to effectively live the Great Commission.
The difference with the principle of the 12 is amazing! I am surrounded with family. The leadership team I am a part of are my dearest friends, and have stood with me through the tough spots of my life in ways that no others have. I have had the honor of being a part of seeing many won to Christ and plugged into this awesome family. People getting loved like they never have before.
To address some of the concerns:
BUSY SCHEDULE – Our pastor requires that all leadership spends ample time with their families. We are expected to take time off to refresh ourselves. We suspend cell groups and other extra meetings for one month in the summer, and for a couple weeks over Christmas. We are expected to take occasional Sundays off to spend weekends with our immediate family. The mindset behind this is that if we are not poured into directly by God, and if our families are not strong, our church will crumble, we will burn out, and what’s the point? The steps of priority are as follows: 1. My personal relationship with God. 2. My relationship with my husband and kids. 3. My ministry [personal evangelism, etc]. 4. My career. 5. Etc. If we get overworked, it is simply because we havent learned how to manage our time, be honest with our workload, mentor others to help with our ministry jobs. We are also required to take care of our health. Regular exercise and healthy eating and sleep are musts for anyone caring the responsibility of leadership. We are encouraged to turn off the TV and spend time with our families and in prayer and Bible study.
DOCTRINE – Every member is encouraged to dig into the Word of God. Leadership is encouraged to read 1-2 Biblical teaching books a month, as well as spending ample time in personal devotion and study of the Word. This year we are going through the foundations of Christian doctrine as a team. Leadership is not to be the source of all teaching, but rather the ones who teach others how to see God and His Word as their source.
CONTROL – No one is forced to stay at our church. No one is forced to be a part of the vision. No one is forced to walk through the steps of the vision. No one is forced to be a leader. No one is forced to attend a cell. Yes, these things are encouraged. But seriously, if you don’t agree with our church than why are you here? Our pastor has awesome relations with many other pastors in town. It is frequently stated from the pulpit that the principle of 12 is not the only way, but simply a strategy that works and that God has called us to implement in our church. Our sister church, who sent us out as a church plant, does not use the model of G12. If serious evangelism, discipleship and leadership does not interest you in the slightest, but God has called you to something different – be blessed and go! I have many awesome friends who are doing ministry in the manner that God has called them to, differently than I do. I am not better than them. BUT, if you are going to come sit in our church, don’t sit in the back and complain about how we do things. We are not going to put someone into leadership, teaching others, if they don’t agree with the strategy God wants us to use in this body of believers. That doesn’t mean they are not called to leadership somewhere else.
Yes, I have been accused of controlling, but for strange things such as giving my opinion after being asked for it. No one had dug up dirt on them, threatened to kick them out, exposed them to the church, but instead treated them with love and respect and an earnest desire to see them follow God. If loving someone and answering their questions is control…dear me!
There is more, but I have run out of time. To summarize:
No, G12 is not the “answer” or the only way to do this thing we call Church. It is merely a very effective strategy. Yes, it could be dangerous if led by people with controlling motives, etc. Just like a tongue or a hammer can be used for building up and tearing down, life and death. It’s all in how you use it. I am sorry to hear that some have been abused by “G12″ leadership. But I am sure there are many, MANY more who have been abused by the usual church structure as we know it. I know far too many people who have written off Christianity because people in the North American church have hurt them.
Something to think about: Is it the strategy used by the individual churches that is causing harm? Or is it the way it is used and the individual people in it?
Your article entitled “A Look at the G12” is a clear and open article mentioning both the pros and the cons of this system and its founder, in a way that I thought was both fair and unbiased. I agree that it is imperative for us, who desire to share the Love of God with others, to be open to find the most efficient way possible to spread the “Good News” and grow the body of Christ.
The concerns mentioned, about the spiritualization of the number 12, and its franchising efforts should be looked at carefully. But they seem to be a reflection of this man’s personal vision. I didn’t read in the article that Cesar Castellanos clamed that the vision of 12 and its multiplication was a divine commandment for the Church but more like God’s direction for him to multiply those he was in charged with.
I, for one, praise God that so many people have come to the saving knowledge of Christ through this man’s G12 system. That should be the desire of us all; that the numbers added to the body of Christ increase exponentially so that we all may come in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God. We needn’t come in the unity of an evangelistic system, but of faith and of the knowledge of His Son.
Let’s all catch a vision and multiply. Let’s teach others to do so and thereby win the World for Christ. Your system needn’t match their system. As long as we are all striving for the same goal -to love the Lord with all our heart and soul and mind and we love our neighbor as ourselves- we will be in the unity of the faith and we will truly know the Son of God.
As a Pastor of a church which has implemented many G12 principles, I felt I should add my own experience to your site. We were a small church of around 35 people in 2001 when I first heard about G12. I was not too interested, as for me I was not desirous to hear about or try any more church growth gimmicks. As we continued to seek God about our fellowship, the Lord led us to introduce a few practices which only several months later did I discover were also practices of G12.
In mid-2001 we gathered together the leaders and spent a month praying and seeking God as to whether we should introduce the G12 model into our church. It would mean all members would become active and not merely Sunday Christians. Some expected the Pastor to do everything – how would they now respond if the Pastor trained the members to do the work of the ministry as according to Ephesians 4:12? We felt a strong leading to proceed with G12 – not in its entirety, but in the areas which we could adopt in our culture of London life, and according to the ways in which we felt God had led us thus far since we had planted the church.
Castellanos came to the UK in October 2001 and I attended the conference explaining what G12 was. By the end of the year we had begun a process of introducing many of the principles we found therein. We informed the membership of our decision – taken most prayerfully – and that we believed that all of the members were precious and chosen by God. We explained that we believed the Lord had given us a structure to train, teach, equip, edify and prepare each believer for ministry. Each would move at his/her own pace, depending upon personal circumstances and issues they faced – but we did say that if anyone just wanted to attend on Sundays they were welcome to do just that.
A few members used the opportunity to leave our church and so we were left with around 30 – minus 5 before we’d even started! A great beginning to G12!! As we prayerfully introduced G12 we became more aware that certain principles would never work in busy London life and so we adapted the areas which we felt God wanted our fellowship to have. It takes around 18 months to fully have the process of G12 functioning and we now call it a discipleship programme as opposed to G12. However, we retain much of the G12 ethos.
Before commencing the programme, as a Pastor I faced many dilemmas. If I taught deeper truths, meatier messages, then newer believers or weaker ones could not receive it. Milk messages were boring for mature believers. I had the dilemma of how to look after each member – which was becoming increasingly difficult even with that small number. I also needed God’s solution whereby I could minister to deeper needs in people’s lives such as addictions; sin; hidden issues going back years etc.; fears and other issues.
G12 provided us with the structure to have a full teaching programme – from basic teaching to deep character forming teaching. Members are trained to become leaders and ministers themselves. It has provided us with a full Pastoral set up to ensure that all members are looked after and prayed for and cared for. We organise weekends (called encounters) where our members have genuine experiences with God and return having had many issues dealt with in their lives – some of which they have sat with for many years whilst occupying a church pew without ever being properly ministered to or released from their oppression. I have now invested into the lives of around 25 church members who have over the last three years completed the teaching course – most of whom are now currently leading a ministry within the church. Through encounters; teaching; pastoring; prayer and God’s grace and transforming power, many of our members are being released into ministry. Six lead home groups; 3 lead various outreach teams; 2 are worship leaders; 1 leads the children’s ministry; 1 a Jewish Outreach ministry; 3 are Deacons; 4 lead various prayer ministries; 1 leads an overseas mercy ministry.
Our home groups leaders are not over worked and not too busy. I concede that if we fully followed the G12 model though, that our leaders would be too busy in London culture and busyness of life in the world’s fastest city. If a member of the church does not attend home groups (e.g. single mums; students working each night etc.) this is no problem to us. The teaching programme is there for those who wish to be trained at each one;s own pace. If a member is not desirous to follow the programme then we have no issue with this. Prayer support, pastoral counselling and accountability are there for all who wish to be in a home group. It is recommended but never enforced. Moreover, our members are growing into their calling and position in His body. Each is able to be released into God’s call without an elite few doing all of the work in the church.
We now have around 80 adults and 15 children. It is slow, steady growth. Not dynamic – but I am absolutely certain that the principles we adopted from G12 have helped enormously to facilitate that growth.
I do not believe that G12 can work anywhere and everywhere. I also doubt very much that any UK church can fully adopt 100% the methods used in South America without causing problems and divisions in the congregation. However, if under God;s leading certain principles are adopted I cannot see anything heretical or unbiblical about those practices which enable every member to be properly pastored; discipled; prayed for; ministered to and released into his calling. It has been a great blessing for us and if you truly take the time to research the many positive aspects to G12 I believe you likewise would benefit enormously too.
Pastor Mike Burgess
MIXTURE – G12 has some things to learn
I am in a church that went G12 three years ago. I have had both good and bad experiences in one and the same church. G12 in itself is not the problem but people running it in the flesh; or allowing those who are seemingly ready to lead when they are not really ready. I have noticed that if man puts anything above Christ, even other truths, it is guaranteed to cause problems. Lording it over people and forcing ideas down people’s throats is not Jesus.
I had a lot of old traditional wrong beliefs and my leader was angry and impatient instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to free me. This was not the problem of G12 but that leader’s personal problem with my old Pharisee problems. I definitely needed freedom but I did not get free until I was put in with another leader. She allowed me to be led by the Holy Spirit and was kind and in the end I was set free of lies and freed to have faith and love Jesus and people.
Our church literally has all the attributes that Paul talks about to the Corinthians, who allow sin; and those who live by the Spirit in the beginning and switch back to the Law like the Galatians. I am grateful that God saw me and loved me enough to set me free into the branch that is like the Philippians, giving and balanced.
The lesson is this, flesh gives birth to flesh and Spirit to Spirit. I am grateful for those of you who have had G12 churches led properly by the Holy Spirit in love and well balanced. I grieve with those of you who have lived out the nightmare of leaders who do not live in God’s love or truth. Jesus should always be the foundation and all things taken out of balance can become a stumbling block.
PS. – I would like to become a G12 leader but to love and serve people and help them know Jesus love and freedom from sin. Love in Jesus’ name.
My church adopted the G12 vision as well. I see both sides of the coin.
It’s been beneficial in many ways. We have grown in number, but the biggest growth I see is spiritually. People have stepped up in leadership positions, but it’s not really about having that leader title. More people from my church started looking outside themselves by helping others and are more warm to others (think servant leadership). I’ve seen friendships grow because of the cells and the homogenous cells (the ladies just related better with other ladies).
I’ve also seen the down side. For one, not everyone is an evangelist or have that gift. But in the Christian faith, my experience is that emphasis is put on evangelism. Thus, people who win a lot of souls are put on a pedestal. This is not just in G12. With G12, well, higher pedestal. There’s nothing wrong with evangelism, of course. The thwart comes when leaders/pastors exalt evangelists and make others feel bad for not winning souls themselves.
I’ve also seen leaders/pastors thwart the cells. My cell group was dwindled from 12 youth ladies to 3 (including myself) because our male youth pastor was to build his 12 (that cell of leaders). He took those ladies into his cell (a few became part of his 12), but then he didn’t know how to relate and handle ladies. After a while, the strong bond we have disappeared because he couldn’t cultivate it and we couldn’t open up about our problems in front of him. I said “our” because I was in his cell too and I saw what happened first hand. This cell is now under my friend, a girl, who was once under my cell. I actually don’t really attribute what happened to G12. I attribute it to the youth pastor (young guy who’s still letting ego get the best of him).
There are other problems, but really…it’s people with twisted thinking twisting ideas in a twisted way. I’m not saying G12 is perfect and people are messing it up. No way is G12 perfect. But it’s an idea. An idea that has worked and can work. I do not think it can work everywhere for everyone. I say that churches need to be aware of their identity as a church, be aware of the culture they’re in, and be aware of the dynamics of their community and the people they’re trying to reach. I think churches can be small and strong (growing into thousands is not a necessity).
My heart goes out to those who have been hurt by a church, may it be G12 or not. I was hurt by a church too, a G12 church actually. But it seems to me that it’s not really the actual church or G12 that hurt people. It’s the people in/running the church, and the people in the church implementing/twisting/taking advantage of the vision. A lot of people don’t think holistically or in a whole. Instead they think on a one way track, not open to ideas or not open to being challenged/questioned and that can be dangerous.
A note: to those crying out about the rigidness/strictness of attending meeting after meeting after meeting…I hear you. And hey, I’m employed by the church and a full-time student. I have been blessed by an understanding pastor and cell leader who doesn’t force us to go to meeting after meeting, cell after cell. Likewise, I’m flexible with my cell too. So I hope everyone will also be blessed with flexible people and moments of relaxation.
I can identify with much of what has been said by the various contributors on this topic, although I disagree with some of the analyses. As a church leader who strongly advocated G12 for many years, who visited Bogota several times and made friendships with the leaders there and who has seen both the good and the bad aspects of it as a model of church leadership and growth, it greatly saddens me to hear of the pain that it has caused so many people – my own family included. The problem is not fundamentally structural. Every structure has its good and bad points. Nor is it theologically perfect, but which denomination can say that their doctrine is totally perfect?
Castellanos used to make it very clear that people should not concentrate on the mechanics but on the ‘spirit’ or heart of the church and its people. Unfortunately many who have adopted G12 have done exactly the opposite, choosing to focus on the structure without dealing with the issues of their own heart. This is where it has both its strength and its weakness as a system. It has great potential to facilitate healthy exponential growth when the leadership is mature and godly, but in the wrong hands it has the potential for the worst excesses of spiritual abuse which inevitably cause pain and suffering to those caught up in it. Sadly we have seen so many good churches adopt the structure then dominate and crush the church members by heavy discipling, facilitated by an unwise lack of accountability in the leadership.
My own church, which we left some years ago, now implicitly encourages separation from perceived ungodly outside influences to the point that families are separated. This is not a fundamental of G12 anymore than it was for the Brethren when they began, prior to the extremes of exclusivity that some now practice with similar painful results. Spiritual pride makes them feel they are God’s favourites, rather than one of the facets looking at the same truth from a different perspective. Rejection, hurt and total confusion descend on those unfortunate enough to disagree with leaders who are too immature to take apparent criticism as anything other than personally directed and an affront to God’s man (or woman).
I keep reminding myself of two things. First, what I saw at the start in Bogota was good. When God is in charge things are OK, and he seems to be able to work with less than perfect structures and theologies. Second that when the carnal nature is set loose we can corrupt pretty much anything we touch. There are elements of ‘G12′ as currently expressed that are within a stone’s throw of cult like behaviour. What a tragedy for all concerned, and how sad it must make the Father feel.
Finally, it might be best before contributing to such a site as this to be certain that we can say’ I forgive you’ to those leaders that have wounded us, without needing to clench our teeth while saying it! Without forgiveness we only end up feeling sour, and the control exerted by corrupt systems are given ongoing power. It’s not easy, but for those crushed and damaged by people, not the system, as we were – it’s the only way. I’d love to se a G12 church flourish and grow as I know it could under godly leadership, but I suspect it has had its day and we are likely to hear much more from people who are the casualties of what promised so much, yet delivered something quite different.
Our church transitioned to G12 a few years ago and I had the privilege of going to Bogota, Colombia to see and hear for myself about the G12 Vision.
It is wonderful; I think the best thing about it is that it challenges us to stop being fruitless, lazy Christians, but to obey God’s command of winning souls and disciplining. I know it has been a blessing to me and the congregation.
I have to admit, though, as great as the G12 Vision is, the “government” part of G12, the strictness of attending weekly meetings and all church functions, can be a burden that is just a bit too much. It can become legalistic and very close to ‘shepherding’ if the pastors are not empathetic and understanding of their cell leaders practical needs (like shift-work; college exams; family emergencies or special family gatherings).
So if any G12 Pastors are out there, please hear this from a cell leader, “YOUR CELL LEADERS HAVE A LIFE! SOMETIMES WE HAVE TO WORK, SOMETIMES WE HAVE TO STUDY, AND AT LEAST SOMETIMES WE WOULD LIKE TO SEE OUR FAMILIES. So please take a chill pill and take care of your leaders before you lose them.”
Glad I got that off my chest.
A G12 Cell Leader