Pastor Wes Richards

Senior Pastor
King's Church International
Windsor, England

Q: How important and relevant is the G12 Vision in the UK today?

I feel the G12 vision is a biblical vision and it is something that gets us back to the basic focus where Jesus said, 'Go and make disciples of all nations or all ethnic groups." And we certainly have a very cosmopolitian country now – London is probably the most international city in the world. So where we are in the UK, we are facing a major challenge to re-evangelise and also to bring transformation to an individual level, in churches, and also to get churches to be focused on the right thing.

Jesus had a very simple plan to change the world. While he did reach out to the multitudes, he did invest His time in 12 people – ordinary people. He got hold of them, shook them, showed them, and after three years released them and told them to practice what He taught them.

Q: How has the G12 vision grown in your church. Could you give us some background or milestones from the time you started to where you are today?

We've not seen spectacular growth, but a friend of mine from another country and church who wasn't too sure about the vision watched me for four years. Then in 2003, we both said that we were going to go for the vision. He told me that this vision could turn the world upside down – but that has not yet happened. But I've seen that his church has been turned the right way up! I think sometimes we look for spectacular growth, but with the G12 vision, you really have to put in the foundations. You have to get it right from the start. It's like a family when you have young children, you don't see much at the start. But then, you put in the effort and the love, and when they start growing up, you say, 'Wow! What a spurt of growth!"

So what happened with us is that we understood when Ps Cesar told us that we need to be prepared for a complete re-tooling of our church – you've got to look at it a different way and re-focus it. So it's not just regarding your flock as sheep, but instead turning them into shepherds, turning them into leaders – not just followers. In our first three years, we saw a number of people leave us, saying this is not us, this is not the vision, this won't work and so on. But as they went, other people came in. So it was a time of change, a lot of transformation – both negative and positive. But in that time, we asked ourselves – just as the disciples did, "Where else are we going to go?" And I asked myself, 'how else are we going to do this if we are not going to make disciples and the church is to be a community of disciples?"

We've seen steady growth in recent years and I believe we are going to see quite an acceleration of growth within the next year or two, because we now have a very committed team of leaders.

 

I first established a team of 12 leaders who are committed at one level or another, and more importantly have the same heart, the same vision and the same focus. I have never seen our church as focused and lined up. Not just as a community where we love one another, but as a community loving the world, where we carry the love of God and understand the strategic ways we can do this. I've never seen our church so ready to be what we should be and working that out. In the last 2 years and 18 months, we've really started to see people coming into the church. It's very exciting!

Q: What's your vision and plan for G12 growth over the next couple of years?

I think it's very important to have goals, but more importantly for me to see that we actually raise up a strong team of 12 wherever we work and wherever we are. And then, to get them to raise up a strong team of 12, and for them, to raise up another strong team of 12. The virtue of goals is to know the people you are working with, to have faith in those goals. For our church, I do believe this year we're going to see a breakthrough in the thousands. But the real measurement is not the number of people who come on Sundays. It's the strength of the 144s. Because if you have 144 committed leaders who know how to train, you will get to the next level of 1728. And if you teach and train them, you will get your 20,736. So the challenge for people is not to give up at the foundational stage. It is to really win people for the Lord and to train them, to help them, to take them to Encounters, to consolidate them where they can have an Encounter with God themselves, where they've got good Christian models. Because I know that if we do that well and right, the multiplication will become much much bigger. Rather than focusing on goals and saying what happens if we don't hit this point and that, I think it's better to say this is where we're heading and we will see this. It comes back to a growing faith in everybody's heart that declares, 'Yes, I do believe I can get 12 people!'

That means one person a month. You start of by getting one in, and then we turn them into a team. Then we'll get them into a team of real followers, then real disciples. And then, disciple makers.

So I'm expecting that there will be many churches around the world who will see great growth, and we'll be among them. But, it's really dependent on what we're doing today and who we're investing in today. So I've got the big vision out there, but as I spoke at the conference, I'm focusing on taking it one step at a time, making progress one day at a time, reaching one area at a time, ministering to families one step at a time and to each individual at a time. Small steps will get you to the big goal.