When sometime in the future you are celebrating what many believe will be Foursquare’s part in a major coming spiritual harvest, remember that much of the ground was tilled and many of the seeds were sown this week, at Foursquare Connection 2014.
The May 26–29 gathering in Dallas that drew more than 3,000 attendees from across the U.S. and 41 other countries is being celebrated as a pivotal time in Foursquare’s history, preparing the movement organizationally and spiritually for the future.
That sense of significance was underscored with a prophetic word brought to Wednesday night’s session by John Wiley, senior pastor of River Church Family (Kansas City East Foursquare Church) in Raytown, Mo.
“When the 2018 convention is assembled (four years from now), there will be an incredible explosion of fruit that will be evident to all, and it will be seen by all to be directly tied to the decisions made in 2014 and 2015,” he declared.
Central to that coming to pass will be the organizational, legal and financial changes that are to be made as part of the Reimagine realignment endorsed in a lengthy business session on Tuesday.
Introducing the Reimagine proposals, Stan Simmons, chairman of the Presidential Task Force established to oversee the initiative, noted that while Foursquare is a strong family, it had lost sight a little bit of “the cause” through the years, as many groups do, and “we want to become a Great Commission movement.”
Reimagine Next Steps
The Reimagine steps intended to make that shift possible—which Stan said could mean “we may be the first denomination to turn around”—include permitting local churches to own or lease their own properties, whose titles are currently all held by the national church.
That change will involve revisions to the bylaws that will need to be voted on at next year’s convention. Other changes may also take some time to be implemented; with the convention body having given approval to the broad strokes of the plan, national leaders are to meet next month to begin fleshing out the details.
Other proposals include reducing the number of districts, while possibly adding Hispanic ones, and making cuts at the central office, including possible staff reductions and property sales.
With a clear new direction agreed upon, there was an enthusiastic endorsement of the leadership of Glenn Burris Jr., who was ratified as president for a second five-year term, with 731 people unable to be in Dallas casting qualified absentee ballots—the first time this has been allowed, following last year’s change in the bylaws—as part of the total.
Welcoming people at the start of the convention, which had been preceded by a Foursquare global leadership gathering, Glenn said that God has been restoring and reviving the movement “not to take us back to where we were,” but “to take us forward to where he wants to go.”
Multiplying Effective Ministry
Appropriately themed “Multiply,” this year’s convention was not just about organizational planning. There was also a major emphasis on personal preparation, providing inspiration, examples and tools for developing more effective ministry. From short QuickTalk presentations, interviews, video reports and keynote messages to Multiply Tracks and Foursquare How-To Workshops, there were around 50 different opportunities to listen and learn.
Among those featured were familiar Foursquare leaders such as Pastor Jack Hayford, founder of The Church On The Way (Van Nuys Foursquare Church) in Van Nuys, Calif., and Daniel Brown, director of teaching ministry Commended to the Word and founding pastor of The Coastlands (Aptos Foursquare Church) in Aptos, Calif. But there was also room for newer voices, such as Tammy Toft, who spoke of her Butterfly Project outreach to sex workers in Tallinn, Estonia, where she and her husband, Brett, are Foursquare Missions International (FMI) missionaries.
Guest speakers outside Foursquare included Francis Chan, bestselling author and leader of the Multiply Movement; Dave Ferguson, lead pastor of multisite Community Christian Church in Chicago; and Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research.
There was also time and space for the Holy Spirit to move, with several prophetic words brought to the platform. One, in an extended prayer time on opening night from Leslie Keegel, national leader of Foursquare Sri Lanka, promised a new era of miracles as the realignment brings the movement into greater fruitfulness. Several subsequent testimonies of healing in that session were reported.
John Wiley’s word was followed later on Wednesday evening by one from Kathy Shaw, an ordained Foursquare minister, who sang Jesus’ words from the Last Supper, telling His disciples that the world would know they were His followers because of their love for one another.
This echoed the keynote message just delivered by Pastor Jack Hayford, who had urged attendees to seek a fresh “baptism of love” that would free them from any judgmental or critical attitudes they might harbor to others, and protect the movement’s unity.
For all the prayer, discussion and studying, there was also time for fun, fellowship and recreation. Many took advantage of the Connection Center—whose Texas-style features included a mechanical bull—to visit with old friends and make new ones.
Those who weren’t able to catch Thursday’s closing session can watch it online through June 6, 2014.
It’s not too late—whether you attended convention in Dallas, enjoyed watching live sessions online at home, or missed out on all the happenings, you can capture everything Connection has to offer by ordering the Foursquare Connection 2014 Experience Kit at the Connection Store. You can purchase the Experience Kit With Digital Downloads or the Experience Kit With DVDs and CDs Mailed.
- Day 1 – Foursquare Connection 2014 in Dallas Begins
- Day 2 – President Ratified and Reimagine Outlined
- Day 3 – Multiplying Ministry in a Spirit of Unity
- Day 4 – Final Day of Connection 2014 Emphasizes Sharing Gospel
By: Andy Butcher, a freelance writer in the Orlando, Fla., area