The last day of Foursquare Connection '09 in Anaheim, Calif., which concluded this evening, included several presentations regarding the Foursquare value of educating leaders, and equipping and resourcing these leaders for fruitful ministry. Presentations were made honoring new and former supervisors, as well as recognizing the significant contribution to The Foursquare Church made by current president, Pastor Jack Hayford, and his wife, Anna, before the nearly 5,000 people registered from 35 nations.
Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer—pastor of Faithful Central Bible Church in Inglewood, Calif., and president of The King's College and Seminary—greeted the convention body in the morning session with a prophetic expression of Psalm 92, "I shall be anointed with fresh oil," and affirmed that the Holy Spirit is indeed our life source. He reminded leaders of the importance of the Sabbath, and pointed out that this week's convention has been for us a Sabbath of rest and restoration as God prepares us for a new season in the Foursquare family.
Robert Flores, president of Life Pacific College (LPC), was introduced by recent LPC graduate Krystal Sanford, who humorously yet poignantly spoke of the influence Robert Flores has brought to his first year as president of the college. Krystal, who received her Foursquare ministerial license just one month ago, identified herself among the nearly 5,000 Foursquare ministers and lay leaders attending the convention. She said that the future ministry potential she and others like her possess is in large part due to the way the present generation of leaders has embraced her generation, with arms wide open.
Robert Flores spoke on "Restocking the Shelves of Foursquare Leadership," which brought together two significant needs of the people served: hunger and provision. He reminded the morning audience that the shelves in a grocery store are stocked because people are hungry and need provision. Applying the analogy to the present reality in The Foursquare Church, he observed that present leaders are aging, and that the total number of Foursquare churches in the U.S. has leveled off, not increasing in the past decade.
"What we need is a new generation of leaders," he said, "leaders who can do ministry like we never did it; a generation that we will encourage and celebrate as they succeed." He described the present "farm system" in Foursquare as the 54 certified Foursquare ministry institutes and the 4,500 students being trained for ministry through these and other institute programs in Foursquare churches around the country. He mentioned Foursquare's Emerging Leader Network (ELN), the Ignite program at LPC, and the more formal training venues of The King's College and Seminary and Life Pacific College, all as places of preparation for this new generation of leaders.
Robert Flores summarized his message by describing the pathway to resourcing these new leaders. He said that a baseball farm system requires more time, resource and management than any other part of a major league baseball franchise. The Foursquare Church is establishing a clear-cut strategy that will be released in the near future. The strategy includes specific ways for people to contribute toward the cost of training leaders and the hope that all Foursquare people will commit to pray for the next generation. He reminded everyone about Jesus' words in Luke 10:2, and said that the way to identify the laborers for the harvest is through prayer. The message concluded with an invitation to take this new path together in unity, as one Foursquare family, releasing the next generation.
After an afternoon of Learning Tracks and district meetings, the closing service of Connection '09 began with a shout of praise, led by The Rock Choir, and ended with a surprise presentation for Pastor Jack.
A video (see below) wrapping up the events of the week allowed those in attendance to relive the many highlights of our time together in Anaheim. Then, Pastor Jack and Glenn Burris Jr. recognized the 70 district supervisors whose service in that position concluded with the consolidation of our district structure into 14 newly aligned districts on May 1, 2009.
Delegates rejoiced during the annual report of the Foursquare Foundation, as celebration rang out for projects funded by the Foundation for evangelism, discipleship and leadership development around the world. According to the report, "in 2008, 106 ministry projects shared over $7 million in grant funding. The fruit of this year's funded projects continues to accumulate, and we expect to see more than 1.9 million decisions for Christ!"
Greg Campbell, executive director of the Foursquare Foundation, announced the new Risser Endowment, named in recognition of former Foursquare President Paul C. Risser. The endowment will benefit the ministry education of generations of students in the future through Foursquare colleges and seminaries.
Lifetime of Service
A moving tribute to Pastor Jack Hayford and his wife, Anna, began with a video retrospective on their lives and ministry from their first pastorate in Fort Wayne, Ind., and took the audience through their present ministry. Martha Williamson, creator and executive producer of the popular television show Touched by an Angel, narrated a live presentation that included soloists, an orchestra, and a combined choir from The Rock in Anaheim, Calif., and The Church On The Way in Van Nuys, Calif. The Hayfords' young granddaughter, Emma, was among the many soloists, and sang Pastor Jack's beloved hymn, Majesty.
Martha said that when we outline all the accomplishments of Pastor Jack's life and ministry, they all link back to one foundational quality: obedience to the call of God. She thanked Pastor Jack for 75 years of obedience, and for his words, music and unwavering faith.
Glenn Burris Jr. said the tribute to Pastor Jack was a spiritual presentation that did more than honor a man—it honored what can happen when any person is fully yielded to the Holy Spirit. Glenn surprised Pastor Jack and Anna with the keys to The Hayford House, a developing ministry center to the people of Fort Wayne that will be housed in the building in which they pastored their first congregation.
As the plenary speaker for the evening session, Pastor Jack took the podium and spoke briefly from his heart. He reiterated the theme of the week, "Wide Open," and reminded the fellow pastors and ministers that the wide-open door before us includes several significant prophetic realities. If everyone is to experience fulfillment of these prophetic realities, they must walk through that open door together. He also noted that it takes action from each individual to boldly take a step of faith into a future they cannot fully see. Affirming those hearing his words tonight, Pastor Jack said the highest value is to shepherd God's people, and he warned that we not trivialize the role of the shepherd. "The Lord has called you and has placed you in the environment in which you find yourself," he concluded.
Pastor Jack invited Robert Stearns, founder of Eagles' Wings Ministries and a member of the Foursquare Association, to the piano to lead the congregation in song. Then, Pastor Jack asked the 14 newly appointed district supervisors to stand amidst the 70 former supervisors for a time of personal anointing and commissioning for their new assignments. Glenn Burris Jr. delivered the formal charge to the 14 new supervisors, and asked that each supervisor respond to that charge affirming their commitment to the covenant.
The 70 held up the arms of the 14 and anointed them, as Glenn prayed for the oil of the Holy Spirit's covering and power to settle on the ministries of these new supervisors and the districts they lead. Pastor Jack and Foursquare Missions Director Jonathan Hall prayed and anointed Glenn, commissioning him into the season as interim president of The Foursquare Church beginning Sept. 1, 2009. The prayer affirmed the selection of Glenn by the Holy Spirit to lead The Foursquare Church during this time.
Dr. Harold Helms, former pastor of Foursquare's historic Angelus Temple, led the congregation in prayer for Pastor Jack and Anna as the ministry of the Lord in their lives continues to enrich our Foursquare family and the larger body of Christ.
Connection '09, the Foursquare annual convention in Anaheim, Calif., concluded with an invitation to all Foursquare ministers and lay leaders to join together in Atlanta in May 2010 for the next gathering, where the church will come together to celebrate the successes of Foursquare ministries around the world, and especially to realize the many ways in which God will use all leaders of every age, gender and ethnicity as we realize His plan for our movement.
Sessions and workshops will be available for purchase from Fresh Audio soon, and information will be posted as soon as it is available. Photos and backstage footage and interviews are also available.