A Brief by Pastor Jack Hayford, President--The Foursquare Church
Foursquare is called to be a movement--to be a group of leaders and congregations in fellowship around common convictions and passions. Our identity is not in what we own, but in what Christ made us to be. The expressions of our movement will be as diverse as cultures, giftings, personalities and seasons are under the Father's creativity, but the elements of our identity are as constant as the DNA in a family line. There are clear components to our genetic composition.
As an evangelical group we are rooted in The Holy Bible, God's Word. As a Pentecostal group, we exalt Christ as Savior, Healer, Baptizer in the Holy Spirit, and Coming King. As a charismatic group, we commit to a sane, sensitive, and scriptural openness to the gifts, fruit, graces and ministries of the Holy Spirit. These are basic to our identity--none of these elements can be tampered with without attempting to reinvent what God has created and called into being for His purposes.
As I begin the second year in this role of my service to my church fellowship, I am writing to define mission, project vision, and interpret goals. The spirit and focus that has compelled my sense of mission in other roles is unchanged--not only in how I see The Foursquare Church as an entity but in how I perceive my place in the continuum of the vision that birthed and developed our movement's first decades. In other words, I do not see myself as a reformer but, if anything at all, as a rebuilder, for times have not changed either the essential substance or strategy Jesus uses to build His Church.
In essence, the advance of today's Foursquare Church will not be the result of clever innovation, but of renewed fundamentals. Rather than seeking to be contemporary, we must recover the timeless--the unchanging. This calls us to be certain that we live and minister with New Testament priorities and that we cultivate and nurture pastoral leaders of conviction who are committed to those priorities. Thus girded, we will be ready to move as a movement--as a spiritual force enabled by God's power because we are aligned with His ways. Graciously acknowledging our variety of styles, but with a uniform humility of dependency on the Holy Spirit's direction, together we can discern His strategies for each local ministry to embrace its unique call as we all still embrace our collective distinctives.
This type of unity without uniformity allows us to be what we were called to be--a movement addressing each present generation's contemporary need and circumstance through our multiple locations and leadership styles, sharing in common our passion for moving in the fullness of God's Word and Spirit--living in His wisdom and functioning in His dynamic resources.
For us as a movement, it is a worthy quest to assure our pursuit of the biblical and timeless and to discern and avoid the temporary and transient. A truly prophetic movement will embrace "what the Spirit is saying to the churches" and, at the same time, sustain a constancy to God's proven pathways of purity and power, thus avoiding the pitfalls and cul-de-sacs of human systems. Human structures and traditions arise in every generation, and they easily charm or seduce leaders by the supposition that "new is better." I am not referencing methods, for flexibility in approach or style is essential in various cultures at different seasons. But methods, style and personal ministry approach are one thing, while mindset, substance and message content are another. The former will always be widely diverse because people and situations are. The latter will determine the character and convictions that undergird our life as individuals and as a movement.
I deeply hold to the conviction that flexibility of ministry styles and fidelity to ministry substance do not create contrary motion--that unity in a movement does not require uniformity among its constituents. So I am bold to call us to live together in the biblical-spiritual framework of Foursquare life and truth and to grow healthily as we draw deeply from the wellsprings of the Holy Spirit's power-flow. With the confirmation of our primary leadership--Board of Directors, Cabinet, and Supervisors--I want to partner with you to possess our future as a people who live and move and have our being (a) tuned to present prophetic promptings of the Holy Spirit, (b) ruled by the overarching Word of the Scriptures, (c) confirmed by the counsel of elders who serve us with wisdom, grace and humility, and (d) committed faithfully to the priorities of New Testament apostolic life and ministry established by the forbears of our own movement.
It is in light of all the above that I prepare this brief. It is an invitation with "a certain sound"--inviting us to rise to our moment as one movement, partnered with priorities rooted in New Testament truth and proven to produce dynamic life and lasting fruit when lived by those who love and follow Jesus Christ, Lord of the Church.
A Present-Moment Application
As my elected term of service does not permit presuming beyond the next four years, I am proposing a vision that might be conceivably secured for the long-term life of The Foursquare Church--one having component parts I have submitted to the governing elders (Board of Directors) of our movement and that I have presented to large groups of our leadership. The four categories indicated, along with the timeless concepts they reflect, contain "present-moment" points of proposed application. The specifics of current enterprise will always change, but the values they serve and nurture must always be kept in focused priority. This is the rule of sustaining a movement's momentum, or sustained forward thrust.
Based on that understanding, I propose the following "vision." I do so in the belief that it is (1) consistent with God's timeless priorities, (2) expressive of our movement's continuing call, and (3) responsive to the Holy Spirit's present-moment call. And I believe these priorities and their present-moment application, pursued together as a people, will result in our being renewed and released as a movement. This "family" vision reflects my compelling passion, born of a servant-hearted desire to see pastors, leaders and churches fruitful in all seasons and fulfilled in realizing the unique "personal/local" vision the same Holy Spirit gives each one to apply the timeless to a specific time and place.
I am driven by the holy sense that we have been given a present, prophetic moment--a season at which we are being called by the Holy Spirit to rise as a movement and to regain and be renewed in the vitality and significance of our distinct identity, calling and convictions as a people banded in Christ--bonded in love. May that Spirit transmit through and beyond what is provided and proposed here.
Foundational: Proposal of Constants
I propose that the Foursquare Movement declare itself a "becoming" people--always available to be stretched by the Holy Spirit and grounded more deeply in God's Word. There are four constant realms in which this becoming may timelessly be pursued: our Partnership, our Discipleship, our Stewardship, and our Leadership.
- Our partnership must be spiritually based and relationally sensitive, mutually nourishing, grace-filled and life-begetting (John 13:1-17; 1 John 1:1-7).
- Our discipleship must align with New Testament apostolic passions and priorities that are changeless in truth and values (Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 2:37-47; 20:17-27).
- Our stewardship must be responsible and irreproachable, honoring and managing all that has been given and bequeathed to us (2 Thess. 2:13-17; 2 Cor. 4:1-5).
- Our leadership must be nurtured, shaped and cared for in ways that cultivate Christ-exalting, Word-based, Holy Spirit-filled men and women who are equipped to raise up successive generations of their kind (2 Tim. 2:1-6; 1 Tim. 3:1-4:16).
Present-Moment Vision Proposed
Rooted in the objectives and values reflected in the above four categories, each being biblically revealed, spiritually timeless, and essential priorities, I propose the following pursuits as our "present-moment" vision. I have not conceived it of myself alone, but have taken counsel with our leaders across the nation. At this distinct season of our life, I believe a consensus exists to confirm these means by which we all may review and renew our call, identity and united mission as a movement.
Partnership: A Loving, Spirit-Filled Movement (Together in Christ's Life)
Our partnership must be spiritually based and relationally sensitive, mutually nourishing, grace-filled and life-begetting (John 13:1-17; 1 John 1:1-7).
Addressing: Our Communications, Conventions/Conferences, Fraternal Embrace and United Prayer
1. Our Communications
Concept: Since beginning with you, I have demonstrated a forthright, transparent and fully disclosing order of communication with our church leaders. Fundamental to building true, trusting partnership is the need for timely, pointed, clear and help-filled interaction. I will continue with seasonal communiques. Our departments will offer coordinated and correlated mailings to inform or inspire, without costing you undue time expenditure.
Vision: We are exploring the concept of a new publication focused on our leaders and church news.
Begun: We have circulated the first issues of The City magazine, featuring our Urban and Multi-Cultural Ministries; we have developed a new stream of DVD and CD resources aiding leader-church communication.
2. Our Conventions
Concept: Chicago demonstrated a move from "business focus" to "worship and ministry focus" in our annual gathering. We will be business-responsible, but we will feature nurturing our body-life together--worshipping, praying, fellowshipping, and feeding our souls.
Vision: Our goal is to develop gatherings strategized to spiritually band, bond and break through.
Begun: The next two conventions incorporate our new focus:
The U.S. Capital, Washington, D.C.
May 29-June 1, 2006
The International Congress on Discipleship and Ministry
"Your Kingdom Come--In Word and In Power!"
God's "Global Capital," Jerusalem
July 22-25, 2007
The International Congress on Worship, Prayer and Our Global Witness
"On Earth As It Is In Heaven"
Info coming later this fall planning packet--late 2005
3. Our Conferences
Concept: Understanding the value of various meeting types and settings, we will emphasize district, regional and special focus conferences that are geared to network and build an interactive, aware-and-informed body of leadership in our movement.
Vision: We want to assist supervisors to cultivate broadly reaching (sometime multi-district) gatherings that create an environment that serves our own leaders, but is also welcoming to others who desire to benefit from the ministry health and church vitality we have to offer.
Begun: Six regional conferences in autumn 2005 will provide a model of this, not by reason of our president's involvement but by reason of any speaker nourishing our values.
4. Our Fraternal Embrace
Concept: A host of leaders and congregations desire involvement with and access to a vibrant, warmhearted, Spirit-filled family of likeminded believers. We want to open the door of our movement to a more ready accessibility than we have had heretofore.
Vision: We want to form The Foursquare Association as a point of approach for those who, having visited our conventions or conferences or having become familiar with leaders in our movement, want to establish relationship and investigate membership in the Association.
Begun: A Board-appointed team is taking assertive steps to address the manner in which a minister or church may unite with us by simpler means than our historic, self-imposed limits allowed. Wisdom and discretion are being joined to enlarged vision and openness. In spring 2006 we expect to announce the association's formation.
5. Our Prayer Life as a Movement
Concept: Jesus' words, "When the Son of Man comes will He find faith on the earth?" follow an assertive teaching He gave on bold, intercessory prayer (Luke 18:1-8). We agree that prayer gatherings of dynamic New Testament description are too rare today, and the "pastoral priority" of Paul to Timothy (1 Tim. 2:1-8) is generally unapplied. Can we find an answer for us?
Vision: When in retreat with the Board of Directors, I presented my passion to see the rise of a prayer and intercessory thrust that could unite our movement and bring breakthrough to our towns, cities and nation. Whatever a local congregation's prayer habits are, I envision a tele-prayer meeting several times a year, knitting us together in nationwide intercessory prayer partnership.
Begun: This will be presented to our district supervisors' gathering for consideration and counsel at the end of October 2005.
Discipleship: A Biblical, Spirit-Driven Family (Growing in Christ's Ways)
Our discipleship must align with New Testament apostolic passions and priorities that are changeless in truth and values (Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 2:37-47; 20:17-27).
Addressing: New Publishing Vision, Ministries to Children, Youth, Men and Women
1. New Publishing company
Concept: Our movement lacks a common base of literature development and distribution, and, while excellent resources are available in abundance today, we have no common source of reference that nurtures our family directly. The result is the erosion of any "united perspective" on who we are and how we think about pursuing our common mission. In the Early Church, "they continued in the apostles' doctrine," (i.e., steadfast teaching, Acts 2:42). Absence of strong teaching brings confusion, dearth and bondage (Isa. 5:13, 14; Prov. 29:18).
Vision: Many pastor-teachers in our movement are recognized nationally for their writings. Others among us would be except for the limits of national publishers' agendas. I envision beginning with eight books a year, published for our movement but fashioned with an appeal that would reach trans-denominationally to all who are open to Spirit-filled truth and life.
Begun: With the help of an internationally accomplished publishing company and the strong approval of our Board of Directors, we are presently moving toward a capacity to serve our congregation with top-level printed resources that will help pastors and leaders disciple their congregations. Creative programs for church wide participation where leaders catch the vision of such possibilities will bless believers and contribute to spiritual health, while nurturing mutual vision and values among us as a movement. First books will be available: Convention, 2006.
2. Ministries to Children, Youth, Men and Women
Concept: The rise of "big church" focus in much of America sometimes neglects needed attention on individual discipleship. Children and youth are too often entertained more than trained, while special ministries of discipling men and women hardly exist in the majority of churches. Church as an "event" rather than the church (the people) as a "force" waiting to be equipped puts Jesus' "Church building plan" at risk (Matt. 16).
Vision: Our movement is rich in outstanding cases of well-conceived, dynamically executed ministries to children, youth, men and women. I've spent time with many of these in my offices, calling them out and releasing them to rekindle hope and vision across our nation where these ministries need and seek help.
Begun: First, under the ministry of our National Church Office, Rod Light and Gregg Johnson are setting a pace for touching kids/preschoolers to 9 year olds, and "tweens"/10-12 year-olds in and through our churches! I expressed great passion in Chicago for an awakening among Foursquare kids. Let's expect it!! Second, with the Board's encouragement and in the wake of suggestions submitted at convention, we are pursuing the development of a dynamic national men's ministry. You will receive more on this as we move into 2006. Third, the National Youth Leaders Summit that is already being planned (Jan. 10–12, 2006) will be a rallying point geared to bringing a new focus to Foursquare youth. James Craft, National Youth Director, has set the pace forward. A promo piece is coming soon; catch the pulse. Note: I am passionate that this event draw all pastors as well as their youth leaders, but let me issue a call to all young leaders--pastors, youth workers and all others. Your church, its leaders, and its president want to meet you here to make a declaration: You are our tomorrow in Christ! Let's get together and move together.
Stewardship: A Responsible, Ministry-Focused Body (Serving Christ’s Call)
Our stewardship must be responsible and irreproachable, honoring and managing all that has been given and bequeathed to us (2 Thess. 2:13-17; 2 Cor. 4:1-5).
Addressing: Our Mission to the World and Family Roots, Your Support Ministries
1. Our Mission to the World
Concept: The Foursquare Movement was birthed through a woman who was a worldwide missionary before she was ever a nationwide evangelist. Moreover, we were birthed as a church wide fellowship before we were ever a denominational organization. It does not require our being "less Foursquare" to be more globally and trans-denominationally focused.
Vision: I know I represent hosts of our leaders everywhere who have longed to see the day we could grow up in faith to believe we could do both: (1) responsibly care for and fund our immediate church family's missionaries with adequacy to pursue their mission, and (2) partner with individuals and ministries, separate from our movement, which minister in ways and places that are needed and which have relationship or acquaintance with local congregations.
Begun: That "day" is here! Our Chicago convention received the announcement that, when a U.S. Foursquare church supports a mission ministry (not exclusively Foursquare ministry abroad) anywhere in the world, that church will receive full missions giving credit. This includes all personnel support ministries, all teams ministries, and all giving reported by the local church. In all giving, full compliance for the church will be recognized. This thrilling news touches the roots of our feelings of joyful partnership with Jesus' larger Body, because it was birthed in the roots of our church. For years I've said, and say so again: The Foursquare Church's greatest impact will be realized when we realize we were born to sow our lives into Jesus' whole Church--and when we "lose our lives" in that way, we will "find our lives" within His way.
2. Your Support Ministries
Concept: We are a movement called to expand our national and global outreach from bases in cities. Historically our central office location in Los Angeles has modeled this. In recent years, consideration has been given to relocation of these offices, but none of these exploratory quests found any site either acceptable or cost effective.
Vision: The June Board of Directors meeting occasioned a decisive judgment in this regard, and with this letter of vision I report their affirmation: We resolve that the permanent location of the central offices supporting The Foursquare Church shall hereafter abide at the Echo Park location in Los Angeles.
Begun: We are scheduling the enhancement of the Los Angeles World Base, which serves as a center for global training and urban outreach. We are also developing a plan to better serve Angelus Bible Institute, our Hispanic ministry training center. These improvements will be encompassed in a desperately needed parking structure to facilitate Angelus Temple's ministry. Funding for this work will draw on monies already belonging to Angelus Temple or drawn from monies in our reserve funds. We will keep you in touch with these developments, noting that the principle focus is the enlargement of our capability to serve leaders and churches across our whole movement.
Leadership: A Unified, Life-Multiplying Team (Shaping Christ's Servants)
Our leadership must be nurtured, shaped and cared for in ways that cultivate Christ-exalting, Word-based, Holy Spirit-filled men and women, who are equipped to raise up successive generations of their kind (2 Tim. 2:1-6; 1 Tim. 3:1-4:16).
Addressing: Leadership Training, Pastoral Nurture, Institutes, Pastoral Care
1. Leadership Training/Pastoral Nurture
Concept: The need for a movement-wide, coordinated plan for both training leaders for our churches and nurturing the leaders we have has been apparent for years. It is not a new issue, nor is it that nothing has been done. However, the facts are that fear and competition (and the absence of a precipitating environment to overthrow those two enemies) have blocked our maximizing a great blessing. We have great schools in our movement and a host of local institutes. We also have some of the most respected leaders in the nation, leaders who are capable of nurturing pastors and helping them grow in heart, spirit, mind and ministry; find greater health and hope; and gain new perspective on their calling.
Vision: The formation of a network connecting accredited Foursquare schools (Life Pacific College, The King's College, and The King's Seminary--with Pacific Rim in Honolulu, and a pair of other Foursquare schools en route to similar academic certification) is a passion of mine. As long ago as 1977, when I was president of LIFE, I projected a plan for developing 9-10 colleges across the United States by the year 2000. At that time there was no vision for this--a vision I believe would have been fulfilled. However, today there are many tributaries flowing toward the possibility of our seeing a global teaming of schools in our movement--possibly a worldwide “university” that can blend all our college, seminary and institute resources and provide Holy Spirit-filled, balanced Bible and ministry training for multitudes via our campuses and the Internet.
Begun: We have initiated good interaction and conversation regarding these possibilities. As president, I intend to give everything I have to see the strengthening of both--the way we shape and train our leaders for ministry, and the way we nurture our leaders in ministry.
2. Pastor Care
Concept: The spiritual oversight of thousands of pastors is a burden felt by any leader in such a role as mine. I know it is felt by those who serve beside me here and by our supervisors as well. Paul's description of the burden as "the care of all the churches" without doubt included his care for all the pastors.
Vision: It is time to increase our capacity as a movement to provide a center for assisting and caring for pastors who suffer burnout or failure. I have been deeply involved with pastors in every circumstance through the years, so this vision stirs my heart and its prospect delights me.
Begun: We are framing a task force to move us forward in the development of such a center on the campus of the former LIFE East. The property is still being cared for and managed in such a way that it is hardly the financial liability it might have become otherwise. At the moment, this beginning is all I have to announce, but pray with us for this vision's realization.
By: Jack Hayford, president, The Foursquare Church