The Columbian mega-church pastor shares the keys to being a fruitful Christian.
|CN PHOTO: Michael Chan|
Founder of the 200,000-strong International Charismatic Missions Church in Bogota, Columbia, Cesar Castellanos is a heavyweight in the field of soul-winning, evangelism and multiplication. The church, having more than 45,000 weekly cell group meetings, is making world-shaking impact in its city and all around South America.
The minister addressed the congregation at City Harvest Church’s English service at Jurong West on March 21.
Castellanos began his ministry with eight people, using his living room to hold their meetings. After nine long years of struggling to grow the church, God showed him a vision that would cause his ministry to expand exponentially. His vision, parallel to that of Abraham’s in Genesis 12, was for spiritual children numbering hundreds of thousands, just like countless grains of sand on the beach and stars in the sky.
Discouraged by the lack of visible and effective retention, yet desperate to see his vision come to pass, Castellanos sought hard after God’s heart in prayer for an answer. His hunger for a breakthrough led him to David Yonggi Cho, founder of the 750,000-member Yoido Full Gospel Church; the largest standalone church in Asia and in the world.
Castellanos was deeply inspired by his mentor’s faith in building YFGC amidst difficult times and applied what he learned to his own ministry. Taking Cho’s concept of having weekly home cell groups to the next level, Castellanos established the
The G12 Vision was birthed from the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20, also known as the “Government of Twelve Vision.” It is a home cell group structure modeled after Jesus’ practice of training 12 disciples, 11 of whom were to become true witnesses of Christ.
A typical home cell group has 12 individuals who in turn become 12 leaders for their own groups of 12. Through this principle, MCI has grown steadily over the past 15 years.
The G12 Vision is also to see Christians following after the character of Jesus, their lives changed by the power of His Blood and through the power of the Cross.
Emphasizing that prayer is an essential component in every meeting, Castellanos exhorts his members to seek after the Holy Spirit in all that they do.
A father of five children; four daughters and one son, with two granddaughters, Castellanos shared his thoughts on his burden for youth in this current day and age.
“The youth are always a blessing to the ministry; they always bring new and refreshing ideas to engage our present society.” Going further, he also playfully commented that his children had signed him up on social networking site, Facebook, in order to make family life more contemporary and relational.
Recounting his life testimony, Castellanos, like many of us, was initially a non-believer of Jesus and the Christian faith. Formerly an atheist, he wanted to disprove the accuracy of the written Word. In his readings, it was ironic that the Word acted as a mirror to his soul and helped address certain sins and personal issues at heart. Leading up to his salvation, Castellanos had a strong desire to serve and fulfill God’s purpose for his life.
Coming to the crux and Castellanos’ true message, however, questioned the aspect of being fruitful in our daily walk with God, lest we meet with an unexpected end. To illustrate this, he told the congregation of two incidents when he came face to face with death—one was a gunfight, the other when he was stabbed in the chest. The pastor highlighted how God provides many chances for Christians to bear good fruit, and urged the people not to think of fruitfulness only as praise and worship, good works or good character, but Christlikeness, a dedication to daily soul-winning.
Castellanos ended the service by giving two altar calls and challenging the congregation to stir up their passion for the lost.
Eileen Tan, 22, undergraduate attended the service and left inspired. “Pastor Cesar’s testimonies were beyond ordinary—they were captivating. The dramatic experiences he had were just amazing. His message impacted and convicted me deeply. I’m now motivated to evangelize and bear good fruit.”