Dear Fellow Servants in the Gospel:
Let me begin this fourth communiqué with a massive "Thank You! In Jesus' Name, Thank You!" Many have been so affirming of our effort to open the doors of information to all our credentialed Foursquare leaders and pastors--to acknowledge and manifest these central values: You are the reason our movement is advancing--Your leadership and the local ministry and people you serve are the reasons our Central Offices exist. Our offices here in Los Angeles are not the epicenter of God’s work through our Foursquare fellowship, but a service center for what He is doing where you are. I cannot strongly enough enunciate how deeply I want to see that value fixed in the understanding of all our leaders. Thank you: it is our joy to partner with and serve you!
As we approach the coming convention, knowing it will be my responsibility, may I ask for several minutes right now? I’ll conclude this letter with some words in that regard, but right now I want you to be fully aware of issues and initiatives being studied as we open the windows to the fresh breezes of the Holy Spirit--upon our souls, in our midst, and throughout our movement.
I have been delayed in writing sooner. My third communiqué--a very brief focus on our Chicago gathering--was sent to you to introduce the prayer and passion I feel concerning that event. I was unable to follow it up as quickly as I had hoped due to the unplanned surprise of my recent surgery--a painful and most inconvenient, but non-life-threatening matter (hernia) that set me back for three weeks. In that personal context, I had an experience I want to briefly share before I present this letter’s target content.
It was in the aftermath of my surgery that I discovered I had unwittingly neglected a point of practical wisdom that was probably limiting the speed of my recovery. How often, under duress of circumstance, we forget to apply the simplest wisdom, in this case, the importance of praiseful song. The Holy Spirit was gentle but pointed that morning--a full ten days after the surgery--as He snapped me to attention with the words, "Don't let the Adversary steal your song!" It was only then I realized how (a) pain, (b) frustration, and (c) the interruption of my usual routine had so altered my devotional habits that I hadn't sung at all! Though explainable and even excusable in the face of pain and recovery, the fact is that I know to behave more wisely. But a stressed situation blocked my perspective, temporarily disabling my applying a spiritual principle I needed.
Alerted, I immediately responded with praise. The weakness of my voice was immaterial--the spiritual power of a principle adopted in faith is not in our exercise of it, but in what God is able to release toward us when we align with His ways! In the light of my being corrected, I thought it worthy to offer you the same message I received. If in any event your circumstance has dampened your spirit as mine had my own, I urge you to embrace the following:
1. Sing to The Lord! Don't let the Adversary steal your song.
2. Pray in The Spirit! Don’t let your faith be shaken.
3. Shout—Rejoice in the Cross! Declare the Kingdom’s break-in.
4. Speak the Word! Take up the Sword you’ve been given.
I so respect your experience and maturity; please forgive me if my sharing seems too simplistic or pretentiously "teachy." In any case, I was refreshed by the prompting to employ these proven keys to renew strength amid struggle or trial. So may Jesus bless this to any weary warrior (Job 35:9-11; Ps. 32:6, 7; 59:16, 17; Col. 3:14-17).
I have enclosed two pieces of communication that are key to our moving forward together:
1. Prayer Guide for the Global Day of Prayer
Please attune your heart with mine as we join in prayer, with a rising voice of believers from around the world. I have seen several vital “prayer movements” birthed by the urgings of the Holy Spirit over the years. I believe this to be another, originating out of the heart of South Africa. May 15, 2005, is the day this mighty movement observes the day of prayer. I am sending you a prayer guide, which you can use along with me, in response to this prophetic calling of THE Church to prayer.
2. DVD Invitation to Convention
What a joy it is to partner with you in serving through The Foursquare Church! With genuine excitement, but seeking to avoid being sappy, I have prepared a distinctive invitation for you to join me for our 2005 convention. Please view my DVD invitation, and feel free to pass it on to others who have interest. I can hardly wait to be together in Chicago!
Now, to the several matters for your awareness, prayer, and enfranchisement as I honor our partnership for the advance of the Kingdom, where we each labor:
1. Business "not as usual"
I wrote you last time regarding our traditional business meetings at convention: "Without reducing attending to 'family business' efficiently" we are implementing a means of advance awareness, broader involvement, and greater transparency. By May 15--a full two weeks before convention--a broad display of information will be posted, providing opportunity for interaction, including questions and answers. This will be accessible to all credentialed Foursquare ministers, whether you attend convention or not. I have asked that we do this because (a) every leader deserves this privilege, (b) it affords ample time for those interested to gain clarity or express their voice freely, and (c) it will reduce confusion and expensive time spent on wearyingly long business meetings.
You will be able to access this informative, advantageous approach beginning the weekend of May 15, on this Web site. Your input or inquiry is welcomed.
2. Property not scheduled for sale
The Foursquare Cabinet recommended, and the International Board approved
my earnest request that the Life Bible College East property in Christiansburg, Virginia, not be put on the market. Some excellent developments are taking place in the East as a result of strategies our movement laid in the wake of Life East's sudden closure. There are many--including myself--who feel that both (a) the speed of processing its close, and (b) the proposal of selling the property need time for more careful review.
While this is not to suggest a restart of the college, or a reduction of our plans to multiply institutes throughout the East, we believe God is calling us to keep this property for effectual purposes that He will unfold to us in the future. Land everywhere is not getting less expensive. We believe it wise to keep this; meanwhile, a team is developing ways to make it sufficiently cost-productive as to not be a liability.
3. Central Offices and Executive Salary Structures
Having been involved with a large staff and significant church budget for years, I
am familiar with the need for a well-administrated compensation program (a) to assure equitable pay commensurate with a task’s skill requirements and job description, and (b) to affirm an accountable means of all salaries being overseen by a group external to those being paid. I was surprised to discover we have never had a structured compensation plan, complete with a rationale for ranges of pay or written job descriptions. This is not to say there has been anything dishonest, nor to suggest people were not fulfilling their jobs faithfully. Further, while there has been a compensation committee, it concerned me to discover that only two non-executive staff members of the Board were informed of the salaries paid our executive team, including the president.
I am happy to report that, with Jim Scott’s diligence as our COO, we now have and are implementing a systematic structure of job descriptions, salary reviews, and appropriate ranges for every position in our central and ARC offices. The Board also accepted my request that our International Board know all salaries in every office. This is critical to proper oversight, righteous accountability, and sound-minded operations. I have no fear of appropriate confidence being maintained by those who represent you and me on our Board. But I do believe that no position should be exempt from our Board’s full awareness of any pay, privilege, or provision granted as compensation for a task that is clearly defined, dutifully served, and reasonably paid.
A separate note regarding our Church’s Central Offices: I have directed that the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel become a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). This is the nationally recognized association that sets the standard for all Christian organizations in America that mutually commit to the highest integrity and soundest business practices. We have now been accepted as a member.
4. National Leadership Summit--Global Leadership Training Concept
January 10-13 and February 2-5, 2005, occasioned two highly significant gatherings of many key leaders who serve our movement. The first assembled 165 participants, including all our district supervisors, Cabinet and Board members, lead college and seminary personnel, and a selection of non-positioned leaders from key churches and ministries. I called this Summit as a response to the inquiry made of all presidential candidates last spring in 2004: “What would you do in the first 100 days of taking office?” Because I believe in the full enfranchising of, attention to, and partnership with the broadly gifted leadership we have throughout our fellowship of churches, I proposed such a summit. The fruit of this is providing a beginning for our finding a new point of moving together with genuine trust, transparency, and tenacity to our task as a people.
Task Teams (a dozen participants in each) responded to presentations focusing our call as a movement, our identity as a denomination, and our relationships as a fellowship. All of us at the Central Offices are thankful for the input and wisdom of the leaders who participated and who represented you.
The second gathering, February 2-5, brought together the leadership of over 70 North American Foursquare Bible institutes, under the leadership of Dr. Dan Hedges. In my keynote message to them, I affirmed our gratitude for and confidence in the growing impact and influence these training centers are having in the shaping of leaders for our churches and our growth. In addition, I proposed the opening of a discussion as to how we might frame a Center for Global Leadership Training--a group of key leaders who will serve, coordinate, and integrate the training of church leaders in the more than 300 Foursquare Bible colleges, institutes, and seminaries around the world.
I offer these summaries of two meetings that have significant importance. Though the meetings were not convened to frame decisions, we have embraced a will to develop agendas that will be shaped as we continue teaming together. In time, these will become fruitful in serving our movement.
5. Forthcoming Events
The following are not merely "announcements." I would not bother you with "dates," but rather note the following to inform and encourage you with coming events that open the door to God's work among us in distinct, significant ways.
a. May I ask every pastor and Foursquare Church leader to begin now to pray and plan toward (with budget and your stance of spiritual support of) our National Youth Leader's Summit, January 10-12, 2006. It will be convened at Angelus Temple by James Craft, our new national youth director, with the visionary support and commitment of Glenn Burris, our general supervisor. This is intensely moving to me, as the first such event took place 45 years ago when I became national youth director. Today, my heart is no less gripped by the conviction that, like Moses with Joshua, discipling the rising generation for Spirit-filled life and leadership is pivotal if you intend to "possess the land." I will write more about this in the future, but begin prayer now, please.
b. I am deeply moved to inform you that this fall, seven clusters of our present districts (approximately 50 in all) will be gathering for regional conferences, in which they have invited me to minister. I have been asked to bring an adaptation of material that I have presented in numerous denominational and interdenominational conferences over the past four years--The Spirit-Formed Church. I hasten to note: I neither proposed nor promoted this concept, which evolved via planning between the National Church Office and the district supervisors involved. For that reason, I feel uniquely honored and trusted to anticipate these potential times with so many of you. Dates and locations will be communicated shortly. (Districts and areas not involved this fall reflect calendar limitations or the fact other plans were already in place.)
Allow me to leave you with a part of my "President’s Report"
In the few months I have served you from the president's office, my pastoral sense that "God is doing something wonderful" has been confirmed to me over and over by countless of our leaders--from notable and influential men and women in our ranks, to equally valued but less visible pastors and workers. I have no illusions. This has nothing to do with anything we at the Central Offices can produce. It is the result of MUCH PRAYER, GOD'S GRACE, and YOUR FAITH and UNSELFISH LABOR as we all together seek to align ourselves with His Word and ways.
When asked to prepare the report traditionally presented by the president at convention, I inquired of the Lord how best to communicate something purposeful as well as reflective concerning "the state of our union." Of course, the full report will be available at convention and on the Web site mentioned above. But now, concluding this letter, may I ask you to let me open my heart to you in the following--the summary of my sense of assignment being offered to you. It isn't an agenda man can achieve, but it reflects hopes to which I believe all of us can aspire.
As a precursor to our Chicago gathering--where I trust the Holy Spirit to draw us with faith, fill us with Jesus, and enlarge us in mutual love, trust, and humility as partners in the Kingdom--prayerfully reflect with me on the following:
(Excerpted from the '05 President's Report)
Very soon after the stunning surprise of God’s assigning me, by your acceptance, to serve this office, He whispered to my heart, "I’ve put you here for three reasons."
Most of you have heard me give a brief enumeration or description of these before. Some of you have heard me elaborate parts of the whole at length. But please permit me to set them forward again because I don’t really think they are my agenda only. Indeed, if they aren’t ours, I’m certain I cannot see them fulfilled. So with faith in God and as I reach out for your partnership, join me in expecting:
- Health and Harmony--as the love of God, "poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit He has given unto us," flows into our ranks at dimensions never before known. As it does, historic patterns of suspicion, separatism, doubt, stonewalling, dishonesty in communication, and confusion of purpose will be flooded out by the River of Heaven.
- Focused Vision and Values--as the "teamed" pastors and leaders of the Foursquare Church discover that the dynamic liberation of each person’s and each congregation’s uniqueness and ministry are not regimented, but released. When we arrive at a single-hearted, one-minded agreement on who we are as a movement, what we’re called to do, and what we’re charged to proclaim, we will have begun to achieve this.
- Leadership Training Explosion--as we prioritize “discipleship,” recognizing this is not a subordinate part of the Great Commission, but the key to its being fulfilled. Church health, growth, and multiplication are not products of a program--they are part of a process that flourishes where Jesus’ priorities are clear. His plan for building His Church is people, and I invite your passion to join mine as we disciple those we have--then watch them lead: lead people to Christ, lead youth out of darkness, lead homes in holiness, and lead churches to healthy fruitfulness and reproduction.
Thank you for giving your valuable time to thoughtfully read this letter. And thank you for the prospect of your strong companionship as we seek the face of the Lord for "His way for us and for our young ones" (Ezra 8:21).
Your brother and fellow shepherd,
Pastor Jack Hayford