“Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” (2 Peter 1:4).
A promise from God in His Word is like a check signed by God Himself. In 1990, I was asking the Lord for direction in the ministry. He removed the veil from my thinking; what He revealed to me not only revolutionized our lives and the lives of our disciples, but also gave direction to our ministry. God asked me, “How many people did Jesus disciple?” In my mind I started to recall the moments when He was surrounded by the multitudes.
I realized that He was with one group one day and with another the next. However, He was continually with His team of twelve. I heard God speak to my heart saying, “If you disciple twelve people, and if each one of them in turn does the same with another twelve who will later do the same with another twelve, the growth will be exponential.” That day, the scales fell from my eyes and I was able to see the incredible growth the Lord wanted to give me. Thus was born what is now known as G12. G stands for Government, and the number 12 also signifies Government.
Although Jesus could have poured his life into the multitudes, He chose to invest in twelve very different people by skillfully forming their characters.
Just like the potter who works with the clay, He formed the character of each one of them for three and a half years, until they could say like Job, “Your hands shaped me and made me.” Before ascending into heaven, the Lord gathered his disciples together and noticed that something was missing for the work in them to be complete: His divine breath. So that they could carry out the work of evangelists in all the nations of the earth, he said, ““Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:21-22).
How did Jesus manage to change twelve people into pillars of Christianity, though they were neither cultured nor educated, and had neither riches nor social standing? The answer is simple: These individuals were willing to allow themselves to be molded by Him. In 1990, when the Lord opened my understanding to grasp the significance of the twelve, I started to ask myself: “Why did the Lord train twelve and not eleven or thirteen? Would it not have been better to train a larger group at the same time? If He had been able to rely on a greater number of people, the work would have been much faster. Why did He only invest His efforts in twelve? Why is the number twelve key?”
God used these questions to bring clarity to my life about the model of twelve. I was able to hear the Holy Spirit’s voice in the depths of my heart saying, “If you train twelve people and manage to reproduce in them the character of Christ that is in you, and if each one of them does the same with another twelve, who in turn do the same with another twelve, transmitting the same heart, you and your church will experience unprecedented growth.”
I started to imagine the ministry growth we would achieve in a short space of time. God then showed me a vision of the multiplication He wanted to give us and how, within one year, we would grow at an exceptional rate. The only thing I could say in response to that vision was: “God, this is extraordinary!” I would never have been able to imagine all the growth we have experienced, and the growth we are still in faith for, if it had not been for the model of 12.