Greetings in the name of Jesus!
I’ve looked forward to writing you for some time. My only disappointment is that I wish this letter could be delivered in person. It would mean a lot to me if we could just sit face to face and dialogue together about this amazing journey the Lord has for all of us. With it comes the triumphs and the trials—but we learn from both! Now I know just a little of what Paul must have felt when he penned some of his letters to the churches in the New Testament. The aching of his heart to be with his co-laborers was clearly seen in his correspondence. But I can assure you that I’m not writing you from a prison cell—at least not today.
I’m writing this letter from an apartment at CrossPointe in Christiansburg, Va. Hundreds of pastors have found their way here for refreshing. Others have come to re-evaluate their call to ministry or to sort out a difficult season. This ministry, Center for Spiritual Renewal (CSR) is provided to our ministers without cost. I have encountered some leaders who are here for a Sabbath or study break. If you haven’t taken advantage of this resource, please do. We also have a beautiful Victorian home in Los Angeles that serves the same purpose. Both places are designed to serve you. I highly encourage you to consider these options should you want a place just to get away, or should you desire to engage in a conversation with Chuck Shoemake (CSR East/CrossPointe) or Robby Booth (CSR West/House on the Hill) about your life, your ministry or your marriage. I encourage you to learn more about CSR, and to contact Chuck or Robby.
I’m at CrossPointe now to interact with our ForeRunners ministry, which comprises some of our most seasoned leaders. I’m not sure if any of them think of this season as retirement—except possibly from the daily grind of responsibility. They are among the many groups that come to this campus for a retreat or conference. One of the people I will miss having here with us is Rev. Alice Cauble. She went to be with the Lord in early August at age 85. Debbie and I came out of Bible college and served under the Caubles as our first formal ministry assignment. I described her as tough (she was a strong leader), tender, a trendsetter and teachable. She actually came to work for me after I became a district supervisor. Be careful how you treat those who work for you; you may actually go to work for them someday!
In preparing to share at her memorial service, I came across a powerful portion of Scripture in Numbers. It’s a conversation between the Lord and Moses. God is giving Moses clear instructions on how to lead with a transition in mind. We should always be thinking of preparing others for the day when they will assume the full responsibility of leading. The Lord instructs Moses to platform Joshua, share with this younger leader some of his authority and commission him publicly so that others would recognize the affirmation of Moses upon this leader (see Num. 27:18-21). I shared at the service that I didn’t believe our greatest success in ministry would be to point to the position, power or possessions we had attained during our tenure; rather, our greatest success would be to position those around us for their future. It’s not about the “what”; it’s more about the “who.”
Think of Paul’s instructions to Timothy. He does not let him gloat over the fact that his mentor is the apostle Paul. In fact, he instructs him to go and find others whom Timothy can pour his life into (see 2 Tim. 2:1-3). Somewhere along the way, I think we began to assume that our Bible colleges, denomination and districts, and the conferences people attend or books they read, would be the primary shapers of their ministries. We’ve lost the passion to intentionally invest in and, sometimes, invade others’ lives so that we can make an impact for the sake of the gospel!
The reason I’m in Foursquare today is not because of the institution. Sidney Westbrook (former district supervisor) told me in my early days of serving in that role that there is no compassion in a system or the “corporation.” I am in Foursquare today because of people—such as Alice Cauble, who saw something in my life that she nurtured, celebrated, discipled and released. Others have contributed as well, but those early days were instrumental in shaping how I would view the “community” of our movement. My commitment to the “cause” of the church has never wavered; but the “community” I have surrounded myself with has shaped the strength of my ministry.
I would like to issue a challenge to you. There are many like Joshua waiting to be commissioned, partnered with and empowered. King David declared, “One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts” (Ps. 145:4, NKJV). On May 28 of next year, we will be gathering in Phoenix for Connection 2012. I sense the Lord saying to our Foursquare family that this season is an “All or Nothing” moment—that He is calling us to risk everything for the kingdom. I’m planning to sponsor a young leader or two to come to Phoenix and join our gathering. I’m asking you to consider the same. Ask God for the “who” and plan/pray for the resources to make it happen. Imagine a gathering where we deliberately celebrate the commissioning of young leaders “in whom is the Spirit” (Num. 27:18). If this intentionality becomes part of our DNA, we will never have to be concerned about the aging of our movement or whether or not there will be enough leaders in our future.
Please take a moment to review the President’s Report (PDF, 250 KB) that I gave to the board of directors at our June meetings in Los Angeles. It’s a very important overview of the direction of our movement and a current review of it. If you don’t have access to a computer and would like a hard copy, please write, call or e-mail us.
Also, please read the recent letter from board member Richard Casteel. We are excited to see all that the Lord will do through your generosity to the Foursquare Missions International Faith Pledge.
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace” (Num. 6:24-26).
By: Glenn Buris Jr., president of The Foursquare Church