Convention Business Foursquare Connection 2016 Reports + Updates.
Bylaw Amendments Approved at Business Session at Foursquare Connection 2016
As always, bylaw proposals come from the Foursquare board, officers, ministries and you, the ministers in the field. This year’s proposed bylaw amendments primarily dealt with proposals to facilitate Reimagine Foursquare changes. Some miscellaneous proposals were approved, as well. The proposals were discussed in the business session and at the meeting with the directors before being voted on. At the final business session, all of the bylaw proposals were passed by the convention delegates.
Reimagine Bylaws Adopted
The Reimagine amendments consist of three major concepts, with changes in the bylaws in various places to adjust for these new concepts.
Covenant church: The idea of a covenant church has been in the bylaws for some years as part of the Foursquare Association. The concept of covenant church was totally recast this year as part of the fulfillment of the Stake Five goal of creating new options for local Foursquare churches to own and manage real property. The adopted bylaw amendments provide for a covenant church to be a local Foursquare church, but with its own corporate existence. The unique feature is the existence of a written covenant agreement, voluntarily entered into by International Church of the Foursquare Gospel and the local covenant Foursquare church. In the covenant agreement, the local covenant church pledges itself to adhere to the bylaws of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel and to operate fully as a local Foursquare church. In turn, the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel pledges itself to provide the same covering and care to a local covenant church that would be given to a Foursquare charter or district church. Since the local covenant Foursquare church will have its own legal existence, real property can be held in the name of that local corporation, and the church council (acting as the board of the local corporation) can locally decide to buy, sell, improve, encumber or lease church owned property.
Local subsidiary corporations: In the past, local Foursquare churches have, with board approval, occasionally formed other corporations. The purposes for doing so have included the ownership and operations of a school, the ownership and operations of a day care, and ownership and operations of a medical clinic. Those subsidiary corporations were permitted by the board for ministry-related purposes, but there has been no general provision in the bylaws for local churches to do so routinely. This year’s approved bylaw amendments expressly authorize a local Foursquare church to form and operate a subsidiary corporation with board approval. Further instructions of what is required and how to proceed will be forthcoming.
Ministry Extension Tithe Fund: In support of Stake Three, returning 100 percent of the tithe to the field, fundamental changes were made in the bylaw provisions relating to local church tithing. The bylaws have long provided that local churches should send monthly a tithe (the extension tithe) of the unrestricted tithes and offerings they received. The tithe was used to support the operations of the central office, district offices and more. Stake Three mandates that 100 percent of the extension tithe be returned to the field. A first tranche return of the tithe was done recently by the board, but bylaw support for doing so routinely was lacking.
Accordingly, the bylaw approved permits the board to receive tithes (renamed the “Ministry Extension Tithe Fund”) from local churches and, at the same time, designate a portion of the Ministry Extension Tithe Fund to be retained by the local church and used locally for designated purposes. The approved local uses for these retained funds are leadership development, church transformation and church multiplication. There was some discussion about whether these three categories of approved use are adequately stated. No doubt, the Bylaw Committee will continue to work to refine the concepts and the wording.
Miscellaneous Bylaw Proposals Adopted
References to the “McPherson Memorial Fund” are deleted since this fund has been depleted and there are no plans to replenish it.
The “Foursquare Global Distinctives and Values,” formulated at the Foursquare Global Summit and adopted by the 2012 convention in Phoenix, Ariz., were added to the bylaws.
Life Pacific College will have a permanent nonvoting seat on the board of directors of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.
The job description of a district supervisor is slightly amended. The amendment clarifies the supervisor’s responsibility to urge local church support of Foursquare Missions International (FMI). Specifically, the amendment emphasizes that the partnership that FMI seeks with a local church is not merely a financial one. FMI depends on the local church for qualified and called personnel who can be prepared and endorsed by FMI as ready to be sent, and desires input from local churches on deployment locations and tactics, as well.
References to the terms and conditions on which the registered trade name “Foursquare” may be used were deleted. In the future, these matters will be addressed in the “Welcome to the Foursquare Association” materials that churches joining the Foursquare Association as community members will receive.