David Yonggi Cho is the pastor of Yoido Full Gospel Church, the world’s largest church. He is a pastor of pastors. Yoido Full Gospel Church is more like a domination that has camp meeting regularly than an actual local church. Cho is only the Apostolic leader over it all.
I have been to this church in Souel and it is quite amazing. He has built an amazing work for the Lord that started with an old stolen Army tent left after the Korean War. I like what I found in Korea and I liked the freedom that Cho operated in from a ministry point of view.
I listen to him to speak once at Oral Roberts University and he told about all the times he tried to do great things for God only to fail. It was faith building for young revivalists to know ministry really is about trail and error more than the mega-church make it sound like.
Is G12 churches supported by David Yonggi Cho?
The simple answer is no. A core value of Yoido Church is cell ministry but even Cho has reservations about these g12 churches. Cho used it as a tool to grow the church, not to replace the great commission. G12 churches think that their cells are the great commissions. Being a cell group is salvation. This is completely rejected by David Yonggi Cho.
Yoido used cell ministry is one of many tools to grow the church and preach the gospel to South Korea. It never was the focus on the ministry nor did it replace the gospel. In fact, David Yonggi Cho blessed and helped Benny Hinn as well as Reinhard Bonnke when they came to gospel crusades in Seoul. He did not believe that cell ministry would do the great commission, only be one of many expressions.
It is important to understand that Cho believes in using all tools at hand to develop soul winning ministry. He will use crusades, church services, outreaches to governmental leaders, and cell groups. All he cares is people come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ; not how they came to know Christ.
It is the message that is divine, not the method. The problem with G12 churches and why David Yonggi Cho would never support them is they make the method more important that the message. This is not something that Cho would sign off on. In fact, he has rejected it completely.
Cho also understands that cell ministry is completely a cultural thing. It is a biblical model because it does not work everywhere but it can work within some cultural. He would never try and preach the model into the scriptures. It is not unbiblical but it is extra-biblical.
It is important to note that Cho did say publicly that cell ministry, while it works in Korean culture would not work well in American culture. Americans would be won by media presentations of the gospel, not cell groups.
G12 Churches misrepresent David Yonggi Cho
Cesar Castellanos is the main leader in the G12 movement and he repeatly misrepresented Cho in his books and his videos. Cesar did go to Korea and saw what was happening at Yoido Church. However, there was no impartation from Cho. To my knowledge, I do not think they met while he was in Korea. I am not sure if they have met since or not. That is possible.
If they followed the example of Yoido Church, they would give everything away. The church charges for nothing. Counseling is free. Books are free. Food is free. It is based on the words of Jesus, “freely you have received, freely give.”
G12 Churches do not follow this model in any way, shape, or form. There is a price for everything. Counseling with Castellanos is worth about $150 American dollars. That is not bad. If you counsel for two hours a day, you only make around $78,000 a year. Only.
All the conferences at G12 churches are far from free as well. Some of them can get over $100. Charging for conferences is something that need to seriously stop. If you are charging people to hear the gospel; you are a pastor, you are a scam artist. It is just that simple.
For G12 churches and Cesar Castellanos is anyway connected with David Yonggi Cho is completely untrue and that seems to have more differences than they have similarities.
The secret of Yoido Church
I believe the key to the church growth in South Koroa was not any one thing. They realized that as well. They used anything that would work to grow. Cell ministry was a tool but it was not the tool. The focus was always on the gospel of the Kingdom being preached to the lost and dying world.
If pastors burned for the lost like they do in Seoul, we would see much more of a harvest in our cities than we do. They also have never settled for what they have. They see the harvest from what is the field still, not what is already in the barn.
Something that many miss is that they have not won the nation of South Korea or even the city of Seoul. While they have over 800,000 members; most people in Souel are still on a bobsled to hell. They are still going to hell without the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Yiodo Church still has work to do.