Dear Fellow Warrior:
Having traversed the recent season of measurable and remarkable blessing (often including miracles), I sense that we, as a team of fellow servants, are stepping into the labor ward of a time of "birthings." This is both positive and demanding, for births require "travail." Travail is always a part of any life-giving process, and it is unquestionable that God has released a fresh flow of spiritual life, love and grace among us as a movement! (If you believe that, go ahead— "Amen." It's right to do!)
As you see, the top of my letter invites you to come to some "altars" with me; altars of mine, but representative of similar ones of your own I'm sure. So this is a kind of "prayer letter"—not in a formal sense but in a family sense. I could not be more earnest: I am reaching to ask the strength of your partnership in faith! And though I'm not writing in desperation (because this isn't about problems), I am writing with urgency (because this is about possibilities). We need to pray. I know you don't need a sermon: we agree on our need to pray in general, but I'm asking you to band together with me—possibly even fasting a day each week for the next seven weeks ('till year-end). I believe the stakes are high—that huge issues are in the balance, and that Jesus is looking for a people who will "watch with me one hour."
My Prayer Altars
I have four: one in my office, one in my front yard, one in my car and one in my living room (this "altar" is actually an antique prayer kneeler that sits in one corner). The front yard is a frequent altar, where I go before neighbors are up and about; walking back and forth (in the darkness, more often than not), I meet Jesus there. The front seat of the car is a regular place of worship—with a 30-minute commute and a CD deck, I come before the Father's Throne—often assisted in praise by friends such as Tommy Walker, Darlene Zschech, Don Moen or Terry MacAlmon. My office is regularly filled with prayer-in-the-Holy Spirit—alone, or with others of us who serve you here. Then, I commonly stop at the antique kneeler and elaborate that day's schedule and my personal needs—outlining my approach after the pattern Jesus gave us in The Lord's Prayer. It is so releasing to conclude, putting everything in His hands—surrendering it all to Him with those final words, "Yours is the Kingdom, the power and the glory forever"!
That review is made with no attempt to impress you with anything other than this: Just as you, I am servant to a Master—and without the power or ability to achieve anything He asks apart from His presence, fullness, and blessing! The bad news is, "Without Him I can do nothing!" The good news is, "With God, nothing is impossible." And the added joy within His prayer promises is the dynamic potential of you and me praying together: "If two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven" (Matthew 18:19, NKJV).
Please Feel the Pulse of My Passion
Nothing God does in The Foursquare Church—either in local congregations you and I serve or in our shared gatherings—is the result of an individual leader alone. Whether it is pastor or president, teacher or worship leader, youth pastor or administrator—none of us in our respective roles alone, can "produce results." Spiritual results ("birthings") take more than one person, just as surely as does the birth of a child. So be certain of this: There is a compelling earnestness and passion as I invite you to "come with me to my prayer altars," and this letter is entirely focused on an agenda to invite you to yoke with me beside our Savior Jesus—in focused, life-giving prayer!
I am asking you to pray with me for four matters...
Each of which, to my view, matters very much!
On the following pages, you will find these matters outlined and interpreted; I believe these issues are decisively pivotal for our movement ... thus, for us all.
Please Believe Me ...
... I Believe In You!
- I believe each leader holding a Foursquare minister's credential card is a fellow-learner with me in Christ's school of prayer.
- I believe each person reading this page knows I am not simply "rattling words about prayer." I believe you take my request seriously.
- I believe that we may be on the cusp of advancing the impact and effectiveness of each leader and congregation in our movement—not through a program, but through a partnership—each joined with one another ... All of us bowing at the feet of Jesus—Our Lord—Head of the Church!
As I ask you to join me in prayer, we come together—irrespective of where your or my altars are—bowing at the Throne of Grace, where we are invited to "come boldly, to find grace in time of need." The following prayer concerns are all time-sensitive; all are issues of much needed grace and, thereby, ones that fully qualify for us to expect the Father's mercies to abound in return—but only as we pray. It is the one qualification to put the keys into our hands, so taking them together, I offer these points of focus.
These things are ours in common—so let us continuing praying in agreement, through the end of this year:
For your Congregation's Ministry
Let me, as well as our team at the central offices, share with you. I'm opening a blog entitled "Praying Together, November 15-December 20." It's located at FoursquareChurch.org/prayerblog. Go there if you wish, and enter your request by clicking on "Comments," either by name or anonymously. Let's start there.
Further, whether you send a request or not, I enter into agreement with you now, concerning basics: (a) the presence and blessing of God in your midst, (b) a precious moving of the Holy Spirit during the coming holiday season and services, (c) a financial surge, blessing your budget with balance as the year ends, (d) a clarity and confidence as you look ahead to lead your flock into the New Year; and always, that souls come to Christ—regularly.
For our Nation's Challenges and Choices
The United States is more tense and divided now than at any time since either the political struggle that centered on Vietnam in the late 60s and early 70s, or the aftermath of the terror related to the fall of the World Trade Towers in NYC on Sept. 11, 2001. The debate over Iraq, the threats of Iran and Syria, the impact of rising debt and interest rates, our abiding vulnerability to further acts of terror—all are reminders of imminent need or disaster potential to us nationally, locally, and personally. At the same time, we enter an election year, when choices to be made will put mere human beings in seat of power that only God can adequately enable for leadership effectiveness.
Please read the book Restoring a Nation's Foundations (Foursquare Media), and let's increase our perspective on "biblically focused, Holy Spirit directed, non-politically prejudiced, spiritually enlightened intercessory prayer. [Beginning January 15, my blog will contain teaching and preaching resources to stimulate those we lead toward prayer-with-faith-in-partnership guidelines. Please note this on your personal calendar. But, in the meantime, let's pray together about these issues.]
For our Pivotal Moment with Youth
This is not a promotional ad: I am desperately inviting passion with perspective concerning a personal challenge to every Foursquare minister. The Spirit of God has placed before us a "moment"; an occasion to reverse a societal flow among youth. The Foursquare NextGen Summit '07, drawing more than 5,000 youth from across the United States to Anaheim the last three days of 2007, is a prophetically decisive moment.
- For pastors like you and me to either bring or send youth, to assist with funding, pray with fiery passion, to envision the future with expectation. Let's be moved and then move—move to initiate action that demonstrates faith and support of this "moment."
- For youth to encounter God, become focused on His purpose for their lives, be filled with the Spirit's power and wisdom for their witness, and rise—awakened to their "moment," personally and collectively. The future of the Foursquare movement will be decided in very real ways by what happens December 29-31, 2007. Let's pray.
For Heightened Awareness About "Us"
Those of "us," who are leaders in our Foursquare movement, are progressing through a season of increased possibilities. But this is the risk: That any of us may be duped by the thought that these are merely transient "ideas," or whimsically motivated "initiatives." To the contrary, there are three that worthily summon a full-dimensioned awareness, which I believe prayer alone can generate.
- There are deeply spiritual and dynamically significant reasons for the launch of CrossPointe. Let's pray for every Foursquare minister to "get it," as we open the door to a new era of care, service and resourcing of our pastors.
- There are highly purposeful and historically responsible reasons for the initiating of The Foursquare Association. Let's pray for each of us to embrace its purpose with full understanding as we reassert our founding call as an "interdenominational" people with a clear-headed denominational identity unaffected by sectarian separatism.
There are biblically enlarging and soundly conceived purposes in our "just-now-taking-shape" new and expanding approach to our Global Foursquare Missions ministry. Nothing of wisdom from our past procedures is being dismissed or discarded; everything of fresh vision and readiness to seize the strategic demands and possibilities of the future is being opened and unfolded. Pray:
- that a new spirit of Jesus' call to this world He died to save will take hold of our hearts; and
- that any notion of "being confused' will be overtaken by our collective will to rise to new levels of vision and renewed dimensions of using what we've always had—but now are "staging" for the 21st century.
These are Four Points Of Prayer Focus
... For The Next Four Weeks!
Take them to your knees, please, and join me in fasting and prayer. As I go to my altars, I anticipate a mighty release of grace flowing from His Throne as we unite—Foursquare leaders, bowing at their places of devotion and service and expectant of God's purposes finding ever-broadening release among us and through us all!
This Thanksgiving season, I am very thankful to serve beside you ... and to pray with you.
Pastor Jack Hayford
P.S. Please note the enclosed, especially as you address the above fourth prayer point.
As we pray ... please allow me to add this urgent explanation—
Years of leadership have taught me how easy it is for even a positive proposal to have a negative effect. When that occurs, I have learned that it is either my failure or the result of something I am responsible for releasing my team to do. I have also learned that, when people feel confused or see problems with what is being communicated, the proposal has either been poorly conceived or poorly presented. So I want to begin by thanking any who have openly and candidly communicated back to our offices their frustration with what they have seen as a reversal of our historically proven approach to supporting and advancing our global Foursquare missionary program.
We are grateful that many did understand our intent, and a number of leaders have applauded their sense of the new possibilities they perceive are being afforded. Nonetheless, many felt or feared that we had communicated an approach that either risked or planned to dispense with (a) our ongoing pattern of partnership with local churches that support our collective Foursquare world outreach, and (b) our historic commitment to support those we have placed in the field. In short, these concerns are worthy because of the values they want to preserve, and they are welcome because we feel precisely the same values—we do not and did not intend for either of those practices to diminish.
At the heart of the early presentations—declaring our desire to "release the maximum possibilities of the local world missions vision of a Foursquare church"—there is no intention to discard the values of our united partnership. So, in these regards, my pastoral heart for every local pastoral leader, as well as my heart for our global outreach shared through five decades as a Foursquare pastor myself, is to assure you of this:
Whatever our ineptitude or lack of clarity in communicating our desire to aid in expanding and facilitating "the local church missions vision," we in no way are leaving established principles or proven policies behind.
Yes! We do want to open doors to the Holy Spirit's creative vision where a local church receives a sense of God's direction to extend ministry anywhere—whether in its own neighborhood or on the other side of the world!
No! We are not ceasing our basic commitment to a coordinated, national Foursquare Church missionary program you can depend on; a plan of proven partnership between Foursquare Missions and your church—united and working together!
So please forgive any uncertainty we have caused. God has given us a great season of deepening trust and confidence at every dimension of our movement's operation, life and ministry. You can be confident—we will not violate trust, and we will always be forthright with you. So, whatever broadening vision for global mission we may join in, let every leader know that we will remain constant in the two basics:
- Our commitment to assure ongoing support of our present missionary personnel around the world.
- Our continuing need of and gratitude for your faithful prayer and companionship through monthly missionary offerings from each church.
If you feared either was at risk, fear no more—and never doubt it.
And please know this: Any strategies we may offer to encourage your local church in new ways we can partner to release global ministry will never be proposed as substitutes for that partnership we already practice, as each church sends monthly offerings to support our collective global vision!
As 2007 draws to a close, as surely as ever, your missionary offerings are crucially needed, with your prayerful care for our gospel advance!
By: Pastor Jack Hayford, president