The fastest growing church in the world is located in Bogota, Columbia. It is called International Charismatic Mission. In the mid-eighties it was a medium-sized church (not a mega-church) when the pastor, Pastor Castellanos got a vision for doubling groups by going to the world’s largest church, Yoido Full Gospel Church, in Seoul, Korea where 800,000 call that church home.
When he came home, he began to put into place the things that he learned in Seoul. He discovered something you will discover as well. The things that worked in Seoul didn’t work in Bogota. The plan had to be tinkered with, played with, personalized, adapted and adjusted to make it work. Every culture is slightly different and the things that work in Seoul don’t necessarily work in Bogota. The things that work in Bogota won’t necessarily work in your town. They have to be adapted and adjusted to get them to work.
What I want to present in this book is not a program. It is not six steps to successful groups or nine steps to a good Sunday School. It is not a program, it is a passion. It must become, as I have written in another book, One Magnificent Obsession.
But, by 1991 they had worked out the kinks and they were on a roll. They had seventy groups up and running and they challenged every group to double every year. They actually require every group to double every year. They would have to slow down to follow my plan of doubling a class every two years or less, because they require their classes to double every year. And, when I say require, I mean require. If you don’t get it done in a year, they actually fire you. They are pretty ramped up about the amazing power of doubling groups.
Starting with seventy groups in 1991, and challenging those groups to double every two years or less, by the end of the decade they had 43,000 groups. That is the amazing power of doubling groups.
Doubling groups is a definite goal for International Charismatic Fellowship. Allow me to quote from Joel Comiskey’s fine book, Groups of 12. “Those at ICM take their goals very seriously. Pastor Castellanos asks each group to make goals for group multiplication. Every three months the leaders at ICM review their goals, and at that time the leaders confirm both the long term and short term goals. Every group must multiply at least once per year, but cell leaders are encouraged to multiply their groups every six months. Every cell must evangelize, win others and eventually multiply.
“Pastor Castellanos says, ‘Our future projection must come through definite goal setting. All of the growth we have obtained thus far has come by focusing on specific goals.’ He goes on to say, ‘Since the beginning of ICM the Lord revealed to me the importance of defining goals and since that time I have always focused on goals. Goals place rails on our faith; they arm us with a clear path–not to help God but to help us. Clear goals help us to evaluate our work because our work must bear fruit. The church must make specific goals, which will help the growth of the church.”
That is an amazing story. But, it is not my best story. The best story of about the church in China.