Adopting Models Versus Adapting Principles

During my recent trip to Argentina, I came face to face with questions about Groups of Twelve. As I met with the city pastors of Cordoba, Argentina, the most controversial question was about César Castellanos and Groups of Twelve. I discovered that several large churches in Argentina have adopted the G12 model and are under the control of Castellanos. The vast majority of pastors, however, chafed at the idea of adopting the G12 model and coming under Castellano’s apostleship. Many churches were divided over the issue.

It became quite clear that Castellanos expects all churches that come under his apostleship to ADOPT the G12 model 100%. These churches must only follow his vision. According to Castellanos it is wrong to ADAPT cell church principles. He expects churches to follow his G12 model in its entirty.

The sad part is that many of Castellanos original disciples from his church in Bogota have now left the International Charistmatic Mission. The three most notable who have left are: César Fajardo, Luis Salas, and Diego and Claudia Montilla.

Some of you might remember from my book, Groups of Twelve, that César Fajardo, the youth pastor at ICM, was the one who led the first pilot G12 groups among the youth back in 1990. I really respect César Fajardo and consider him a friend. I’ve eaten several meals with him and his wife Claudia (the sister of César Castellanos) and have grown to appreciate his godliness and balance in the Christian life. Fajardo was the one who invented the Encounter retreats, system of follow-up, training track and many other key features of the G12 movement. It was through Fajardo’s youth group at ICM that the explosive growth occurred. The adults in the church simply followed what the youth were doing through groups of twelve.

P.S.: I’m trying to limit each blog to 200 words. I’ll continue my blog on this topic on Wednesday.

Joel

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