The International Charismatic
Mission of Bogota, Columbia, has grown from eight members in 1983 to 24,000 in
cell groups by 1998 using the G12 cell management structure they invented and
was reported in 2002 as having 300,000 participants. G12 as interpreted by ICM
pastor Cesar Castellanos has stood at different times for AGroups of Twelve@ or the AGovernment
of Twelve.@ As
variations proliferate, they are now known by a variety of names, such as the
J12 (Little Falls), V12 (Victory Christian Center, Tulsa, OK) and Bethany now
calls their implementation of the G12 the APrinciple
The number 12 is of central importance to the G12 concept, which is simply based on the choice of Jesus to call twelve from among those who followed Him to serve with him in ministry as his disciples and work with his followers; he then trained them for this work as a Adiscipler.@ In this understanding, a disciple is not a Afollower@ but a leadership position in ministry. Then He commanded them in the Great Commission to make their own disciples. As Jesus is our model in all things, we are to follow His example and make our own disciples (cell leaders) out of Christians in our cells. As their discipler, we train them and support them in their ministry to their own cell as Jesus trained and supported his disciples in their ministry. In the G12, it is believed that the example of Jesus is to be followed in always creating groups of twelve.
A picture is worth a thousand words – let=s begin with a diagram of the G12:
The AM@ or minister has a cell of his/her own disciples, each of which leads their own cell group of twelve and identified as a AD.@
One of these Adisciples@ of the minister has daughtered three cells as Agrand-daughter@ cells. Each of those cells has opened a great-granddaughter cell.
I like to imagine the G12 as a series of concentric circles; a span of control of twelve leads to some very large numbers as the circles expand. In the inner most circle, the minister has twelve disciples and mentors them. In the second Adaughter@ circle, there are twelve disciples, each with a cell with 12 members; when that circle is full, the church will have 12×12 or 144 members. One disciple in the 2nd circle is the discipler of three disciples in the third circle, each of whom leads a granddaughter cell; when each disciple in the 2nd circle has 12 disciples in the third circle, there will be 12x12x12 or 144 cells and 1728 members. Each disciple in the 3rd circle is the discipler of one disciple of their own in the fourth circle whom leads a great-granddaughter cell; when the fourth circle is filled there will be 12x12x12x12 or 1728 cells and 20,736 members. If a fifth circle is filled, there will be a church of over 248,000 members with only five layers of management.
Each week each disciple participates
in three meetings. He meets with his own cell and encourages them to evangelize
and become a disciple or cell leaders themselves. He meets with his discipler
in the next interior circle for supervision, support and training. He meets
with his own disciples in the next exterior circle to provide
supervision, support and training for his disciples. One primary
advantage of the G12 is that relationships are never broken through
multiplication; you still meet each week with the same people, but slowly they
move from the cell group of followers to the G12 group of disciples. When a
leader has twelve disciples leading groups, they then just work with their
disciples. A second advantage is that cells are always being opened on the
growing edge of the church by converts new to the church and expanding into the
new web of relationships; the new cells are being supported by the experienced
leadership of the earlier cells.
In real life, disciples don=t always fill circles so neatly; long chains of cells groups can form with disciples who just have one disciple. The more the layers of supervision, the more there are problems with quality and consistency. One solution is a Asummit meeting@ where an interior disciple will call together all the cell leaders downstream in his/her network.
NOTE (my response)
The quote is from Major League Disciple Making: An Overview of the Best Research on the Cell Church, an online course developed for the Institute for Discipleship at www.BeADisciple.com in 2009. Course materials, including these lectures, can be downloaded here: http://www.disciplewalk.com/IFD_MLD_Class_Links.html
All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Please review the page How and Why We Use Quotes.