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Pastor Art Sepulveda
Q: How has the conference been for you so far? It has been a while and the last time you came to Singapore was in 2008. How was it then and now?
It has really been fantastic! There's really been a growth and development and the atmosphere really hits you! You feel the excitement in the air, the passion, the way people are talking and relating – it's really awesome!
Q: What are some of the key things that really stood out for you that you'll certainly take home to Hawaii?
Well, you know, my relationship with Ps Lawrence has gotten so much stronger over the years. We see each other in different conferences, and it just feels like I'm home. There's a real warmth and a real genuineness that stems from our relationship - not just the conference. And it's genuine. It's just amazing.
Q: It's obvious that you both share the same G12 Vision. Tell us more about how the G12 Vision is doing in Hawaii?
Well, you know when we first started 10 years ago, we didn't have a lot of the resources, and it was very hard getting started. We made some mistakes because we didn't have the knowledge and resources back then compared to now. But it has certainly grown with the help of Ps Cesar Castellanos and Ps Lawrence who have been so supportive. We chat and share with each other about our journeys and what we're going through – which has really been helpful.
Currently, our church is doing real well – we've got our 12, our 144, and the 1728s and we're reaching out even more than ever to the community. Everything is cell-driven, G12-driven and Ps Cesar comes yearly to do our own personal G12 in Hawaii. The key thing for us in Hawaii is that a lot of people see that discipleship is the way to go. You see, you can't add disciples until you start winning them, and our church is all about soul-winning. But you know, it's not just about the numbers - it's more about the passion!
Q: You have a deep passion for the younger generation. Why is it so important for you to expose them to the G12 vision and get them on track with it?
Well, a number of years ago, I noticed that some of my 12 were not really going the distance with me and were losing a little steam. So what I did was to begin to transition to the younger individuals to get them on the G12 track. It was a slow process, and I didn't radically change things.
It was just a matter of teaching them the language - teaching them about Christ being the center of G12. Why? Jesus was about winning souls – all about discipleship! So that's how it started and it's working. I think a key to this is that you have to be sensitive to both sides of the field. You have to understand what issues the younger generation might be facing, and learn how to relate what they have learned about the vision. So it's a learning process.
Q: How did you bring the G12 Vision message across to your members?
When we heard about G12 and even taking it further, I said, "Listen, I'm not gonna tell you what this is, but I want to work with anybody in this room, anyone in this entire church." I wanted our church to be at the cutting edge of the global ministry. And several hundred people came forward and I took about six months to basically work with the concept of small groups as a start. I didn't immediately come out 'shouting' about G12 because I hardly knew about it myself. But I was learning and we transitioned that way. So they understood my motive instead of seeing it as just another programme or something that had to be done.
I think it's important that the people need to know where the heart is and where are we going. They want to buy into you genuinely. They want authenticity. They want somebody who is real. So I tell them, "Listen, I want your time or your treasure. When you give me your time, I'll make sure I'll invest in that!"
Q: What are your thoughts about this year's Painting the Town Red theme? You certainly gave a very visual message!
It's such a powerful message that needs to be understood by any generation. You know, it's sad that some people come to church without seeing or understanding biblical truths. So what I do is deliver the same message but use different tools to communicate it. If I have to use a visual, I'll use a visual.
This year's theme is so powerful because you can't be a Christian without the power of the cross. Receiving Christ is about his understanding that it is His blood that was shed for our sins so we can be free! That means that wherever you go, you've been washed by the blood and that gives every believer - young and old, the authority over sin.
And God is saying, "Take my power, my grace, my love, my mercy - wherever you're at, that's for you, to declare, to evangelise, to command and to help people.