Challenging speakers, leadership development and important business are only part of the emphasis of Foursquare Connection 2015. An equally significant aspect of the annual gathering—this year May 25–28 in Anaheim, Calif.—is the opportunity to forge and renew personal relationships with others in Foursquare.

Enduring friendships, emerging ministries and enriching partnerships that can bear long-term fruit result from connecting with other members of the Foursquare family from different parts of the country, and even overseas. Among those due to be at Connection 2015 is a couple who are so convinced of the importance of being able to connect in person with others that they are bringing a group of young leaders with them to experience it firsthand.

Jeremiah and Suzie Genin, assisting ministers at Chapel Valley Community (Madison Foursquare Church) in Fitchburg, Wis., are due to attend with their Emerging Leader Network students. Having both been to several Connections in the past, they know the value of gathering with other members of the movement.

“It is in these moments and in this type of atmosphere that bonds are both formed and strengthened,” says Jeremiah. “Some of my greatest friendships and strongest relational bonds were discovered at Foursquare Connection—friendships that will remain and endure the test of time because of the common cause and heart we share.”

Suzie’s time at Connection has been “invaluable,” she says, providing an opportunity to make, renew and nurture relationships away from the demands of local church ministry. Especially for those serving in areas where there are fewer Foursquare churches, “you come back encouraged and feeling more connected,” she affirms.

The Genins’ experience illustrates why a lot of effort goes into ensuring that, busy as it is, Foursquare Connection lives up to its name in providing times and ways for attendees to reconnect with old friends and make new ones, around shared concerns and interests. There are several opportunities to do this built into the program at the Anaheim Convention Center, when the event brings the Foursquare family together under the theme “Sent.”

Conexión Hispana

Kicking off the convention at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, May 25, this celebration of, and report on, the continued growth of Hispanic ministry within Foursquare will be a gathering point for those who are part of what is happening in the Spanish-speaking world—and an opportunity for others to experience and learn more. Speakers will be Daniel Prieto, chairman of Foursquare’s National Hispanic Commission, and Juan M. Vallejo, recently named supervisor of the new Distrito Hispano del Suroeste (Southwestern Hispanic District). English translation will be available.

Multiethnic Connections

While Spanish will be widely heard at Connection, it will not be the only language other than English. On Tuesday, May 26, at 1:15 p.m., there will be breakout meetings focused on ministry developments in several language and cultural groups. The gatherings are for those involved with, or interested in, Foursquare’s ministry through its Messianic Rabbis Caucus; in French-speaking Africa and the rest of the Francophone world; and among Native Americans, as well as Chinese, Indonesian, Korean and Portuguese speakers.

Visit With fellow pastors and friends at the Connection Center Café

Connection Center Café

Food and fellowship have always gone together, so there will be time to share both, daily, after the evening general sessions in the adjoining exhibition and recreational area. In addition to visiting with those presenting Foursquare and non-Foursquare church-related services, resources and ministry opportunities, attendees can meet informally with others over snacks and refreshments that will be available for purchase.

There also will be a games center, daily prize drawings and evening musical performances by members of local Foursquare churches. A display of some Foursquare history may include founder Aimee Semple McPherson’s famous Gospel Car, which she used as a mobile pulpit, and Foursquare Missions Press’ solar-powered printing press.

Heritage Tours

Digging deeper into Foursquare’s past will provide another chance for attendees to connect with one another—and their Foursquare roots—as they travel together to visit one of several hosted Foursquare sites on Tuesday afternoon. Tours are available at the Foursquare Heritage Center, Angelus Temple, Foursquare's central office, Foursquare Missions Press and Life Pacific College.

It’s not babysitting. It’s complete kids ministry.

Kids + Youth Program

Connection provides an important opportunity for children of ministers and others in leadership to learn and grow with peers who understand the particular challenges and opportunities of their situation. Long-distance friendships can be established here that become an important place of support and encouragement throughout the rest of the year.

Social Media

All the tools that are available will be employed to help make connecting in person even easier. Look for the hashtag #Connection15 on Foursquare’s @WeAreFoursquare accounts on Twitter and Instagram, and follow event updates on Foursquare’s Facebook event. The conversations there have already started.

Connection 2015 begins at 12:30 p.m. on Memorial Day—Monday, May 25—and concludes on Thursday, May 28, by 1 p.m. Keynote speakers include Foursquare General Supervisor and Vice President of U.S. Operations Tammy Dunahoo, renowned leaders Bob Goff and Miles McPherson, and more.

Registration is available online and by phone for $239 through May 22. Spouse or guest rates are $199. ForeRunners registration is $99, with Kids + Youth program registration available for $50 each child.

Special accommodation rates are available at the Anaheim Marriott and four other hotels, all within walking distance of the convention center. Rates range from $99 to $115 per night.

Visit the Foursquare Connection 2015 website for more information and to register today.