Nearly 5,000 Foursquare pastors, leaders and church members from 48 nations around the world gathered for Foursquare Connection '09, held in Anaheim, Calif., last week.

During the May 25-29 event held at the Anaheim Convention Center, attendees heard from dozens of speakers and teachers, including Pastor Matthew Barnett, Angelus Temple; President Robert Flores, Life Pacific College; Pastor Wayne Cordeiro, New Hope Christian Fellowship in Honolulu, Hawaii, Larry and Devi Titus, Kingdom Global Ministries, and many more.

Those gathered experienced a diverse blend of worship styles from such groups as Dream Center's Press Play, Christian Assembly's Tommy Walker and Jacob Park, New Hope Foursquare Church's Roger Thrower, The Rock-The Anaheim Foursquare Church's choir, Life Pacific College's music and worship department, Puyallup Foursquare's Marc Wymore and Pasadena Foursquare's David Pinkston.

Sessions

Kimberly Dirmann, newly appointed district supervisor of the Southwest District, and her husband, Jerry, senior pastor of The Rock Foursquare Church in Anaheim, hosted the four-day event under the theme "Wide Open," inspired by Rev. 3:8. Pastor Jack Hayford stated, "The door is wide open!" and the appropriate response for the people of God is to see through the door, to view the harvest, and to embrace the opportunity.

Each night had a distinct theme, and the convention began on Monday evening with a focus on the next generation of Foursquare leaders under the umbrella of "Wide Open to Dreams and Visions." The service, in which Pastor Jack affirmed a commitment of Foursquare ministers to shape the next generation of leaders, was followed by a NextGen night of worship featuring Press Play; Matthew Barnett; James Craft, Foursquare NextGen Ministries national director; and Pastor Roger Archer from Puyallup Foursquare Church.

Other themes included "Wide Open to Sons and Daughters," which focused on the importance of women in leadership, and "Wide Open to Peoples and Nations," with a special missions focus and diversity within the Foursquare family.

Higher Learning

Ten, four-day Learning Tracks provided seven hours of education hours to complement leadership pursuits, which included optional certification in church and leadership health, global missions, worship and children/youth ministries. In addition, workshops on themes that ranged from the digital church and helping the homeless, to generational and tween ministries were at room capacity. Attendees were both encouraged and challenged to make a difference in their churches and cities.

Ministry to Children and Youth

In addition, children's services were held concurrently with each morning and evening service for nearly 500 children between the ages of 3 and 18 years old. Gregg Johnson, J12 Ministries (Jesus |at| 12) founder who led the tween group, noted that the Holy Spirit was moving among the group as many were filled with the Spirit on Thursday evening, after a week of teaching kids how to put their faith into action. James Craft confirmed that hundreds of teens came to the altar each night as well.

Pastor Jack Hayford Honored

Following the opening of the 2009 business session on Tuesday morning, Foursquare President Jack Hayford requested to speak to the convention. His announcement that he would not be making himself available for a second term, choosing to conclude his present appointment when it is fulfilled on August 31, 2009, was met with surprise and strong emotion. His statement explaining how he processed this decision was distributed to the group. He described the decision as bringing himself and Anna "perfect peace, which passes understanding, and there are no negatives motivating my decision."

In keeping with Foursquare's bylaws, the board of directors appointed Foursquare's general supervisor, Dr. Glenn Burris, to serve as interim president until next year's election takes place at the annual Foursquare convention in Atlanta.

Before his ministry of the Word on the final night of convention, Pastor Jack and his wife, Anna, were honored with a moving tribute that included a video retrospective of their lives and ministry, beginning with their first pastorate in Fort Wayne, Ind. Martha Williamson, creator and executive producer of Touched by an Angel, narrated a live presentation that included soloists, an orchestra and a choir. Dr. Burris, who emceed the evening, noted that the tribute did more than honor a man-it honored a life yielded to the Holy Spirit.

The final service concluded as Pastor Jack and Foursquare Missions Director Jonathan Hall led the group in prayer, anointing Dr. Burris as he prepares to step forward to serve as interim president, beginning Sept. 1, 2009. The entire convention body united in faith as the 70 former district supervisors, demonstrating the strength of unity among the movement's leaders and that God's will and presence are being manifest at this time of transition, circled the 14 new district supervisors with supporting prayer for the movement's future.

The Continuing Connection

For more information on all the speakers, worship artists and business sessions that took place during Foursquare Connection '09, read daily recaps of the event at www.FoursquareConnection.org:

In addition, backstage video clips are available on the Foursquare Vimeo page. Photos from the event are on the Foursquare Flickr page, and Twitter conversations (#Connect09) can also be accessed from the Twitter site.

To download MP3s of select sessions and workshops, click here. To order CD or DVD copies of general sessions and workshops, click here.

Foursquare Convention 2010 will be held in Atlanta. Check Foursquare.org for updates throughout the year.