Important as services are, gathering to worship and hear from God, they are only one part of what it means to be the church. Just as important is doing life together the rest of the week—an emphasis to be found at Foursquare Connection 2014, the annual convention of The Foursquare Church.

Although Connection 2014 in Dallas, May 26–29, will feature dynamic keynote speakers—including Foursquare elder statesman Jack Hayford, and author and pastor Francis Chan—and focus on important discussions about the movement’s future, organizers are also working hard to ensure that there is essential informal time and space.

Among the new and revised elements of this year’s “Multiply”-themed event at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel are plenty of opportunities for discovering fellowship, food, fun and further help.

Connection Center

More than just an exhibition hall, this will be the place you’ll want to head outside of the main sessions. In addition to visiting with those offering educational, ministry, and other resources and opportunities, the Connection Center will be where attendees get to relax, renew old friendships and make new ones.

There will be an informal lounge area where you can sit, coffee and snacks available for purchase, and a mini-stage where artists from Dallas-area churches will perform. Oh yes, and there will be a mechanical bull offering the courageous a shot at eight seconds of fame.

“Most times at events like convention people end up in the hotel lobby, but there is not always a lot of space, and it is not very conducive to connecting,” says Tammy Sevcov, who is leading the convention team. “We wanted to provide a space where people can hang out, meet up or goof off for a bit.”

Resource Providers

While the Connection Center will give you a chance to unwind, it will also be a place to dig in. More than 75 exhibitors are expected to have materials and informational available. In addition to Foursquare ministries and resources, a wide range of other organizations and ministries will be represented.

“It really provides a perfect way for people to network and look at different opportunities they may not know about otherwise,” says Tammy. “It’s like being able to walk through a live catalog, and get to talk with someone about what you see, a chance to engage.”

Guest exhibitors offering information about their programs and services are “people with a real affinity to Foursquare,” she says. “They are people who like us and want to connect with us.”

Celebrating ‘We’

The Hispanic connection gathering has become a popular part of the convention in the past couple of years, and now is being expanded to recognize the further breadth of the Foursquare family.

Conexión Hispana, on Monday afternoon, May 26, will include a multiethnic celebration, with multicultural, multi-language worship featuring representatives of Foursquare Chinese-, Portuguese-, French- and Spanish-speakers, and our Messianic rabbis network. And there will be English translation available!

On Wednesday afternoon, May 28, the Hispanic Council will host an important presentation on future plans and direction for Foursquare’s national Hispanic ministry.

There will be ongoing translation in the four languages featured in the multiethnic celebration throughout the rest of the convention. It’s part of an emphasis of “wanting to acknowledge the bigger ‘we,’ ” explains Tammy. “As Foursquare, we are a lot of different languages, colors, histories and cultures, and we want to do all we can to reflect that.”

Multiple Sessions

With a theme such as “Multiply,” you would expect the chance to do more. That’s what the shorter Multiply Tracks offer before and after lunch on Wednesday, May 28. Keynote speakers will give more nuts-and-bolts reflections on, and applications of, their main session presentations, with an opportunity for questions and answers.

Replacing the longer, multi-focus sessions of previous conventions, the 75-minute tracks will be repeated, giving attendees a chance to dive into two of the keynote topics, which consider what it means to multiply disciples, church ministry, young leaders and Spirit-filled services.

Short and Sweet

Back by popular demand will be the QuickTalks introduced at last year’s convention, giving space to diverse voices in Foursquare leadership. The short messages offering a single “food for thought” point were a big hit last year, as were the interview-style presentations also to be repeated.

Hands-On Help

With so many Foursquare leaders on hand, it would be a shame to miss out on the opportunity of getting some practical help from them. That’s where the How-To Workshops come in on Wednesday afternoon, May 28.

You will be able to attend two short sessions that will see Foursquare ministry and service representatives provide practical guides and resource materials meeting a range of concerns, from how to launch a missionary from your local church to higher education choices, and retirement and estate planning.

With a strong emphasis on opportunities like these for enrichment in addition to the important main sessions, “Multiply” promises to be a deeply satisfying and encouraging few days. And you can still be part of it! Individual registration is $219; guest or spouse $199; children and youth $50 each; ForeRunners $99 each; and international guests $169 each.

Go here to register today. For more information about Connection 2014, visit the official website.

By: Andy Butcher, a freelance writer in the Orlando, Fla., area