The final day of Foursquare Convention 2008 started with a special time of worship and prayer, followed by encouraging words from speakers Peter Bonanno and J. Doug Stringer.
The service commenced with Roger Thrower leading with his own original worship songs one final time, followed by Pastor Jack leading a time of prayer.
General Supervisor Glenn Burris Jr. introduced the session’s first speaker, Peter Bonanno, who is co-founder of Grace Capital Church in New Hampshire with his wife, Lisa, who was also present. Pastor Jack noted the exponential growth The Foursquare Church has seen on the East coast since Bonanno, who has pastured for 20 years, became the district supervisor for Northern New England.
Bonanno spoke on the importance of pastors taking a Sabbath in his timely and practical sermon titled, “God’s Rest and God’s Work.” He observed that ministry work will never be complete, and the Sabbath is a reminder that we can’t do things on our own—that we are limited creatures who must allow God to “refuel and refill us.”
He respectfully observed that Sister Aimee McPherson is an example of someone who likely struggled with allowing herself enough rest as she regularly spoke 10-20 times per week at Angelus Temple in addition to running a radio station and teaching Bible classes, among many other ministry responsibilities.
He noted it is hard to step away, and that it can cause feelings of guilt, but those who don’t rest can burn out, get sick and are more likely to fall into sin.
The Sabbath is a gift from God—not a punishment or a law—He allows His followers to release their cares on Him, Bonanno said. The Sabbath is also a “heart attitude,” offering the reminder that God is there in the midst of anything to give rest. “It’s up to God; it’s not up to me,” he noted.
He concluded by saying leaders sometimes need to sit on the bench, not only for their own rest, but also so that others are able to rise up. “When we sit the bench and allow God to work things in us, there is a greater sense of a God who loves us. He wants to give this gift of rest to us.”
After a moving time of worship with Eric Green and Carolyn Foster, J. Doug Stringer, founder and president of Turning Point Ministries International (TPMI) in Houston, told the convention attendees that “we need spiritual godly leaders who will stay the course and persevere,” telling stories of how people are being changed and saved around the world.
He said there are three “A’s” to remember in endeavors to reach the nation, noting that “this is our time to let the world know that Jesus is the answer.”
- Alignments in an unsure world are needed.
- Agreements and relationships with like-minded people are the place of power.
- Winning Attitude—our desire to win is greater than our challenge.
“How can we change the soul of the nation when the heart is sick?” concluded Stringer. “If the heart is weakened, we need a defibrillator, we need to go to our knees and ask God to fill us afresh ... God can do the impossible if we will go to our knees and ask Him ... for a fresh anointing of His Holy Spirit.”
The exhibit hall was open for a final day, full of booths with resources and ministries for the church. After enjoying an afternoon at the Space Center Houston, guests returned for a final time of worship with Eric Green and Carolyn Foster, followed by teaching.
The evening started out on a somber note with Pastor Jack announcing one of the “most important projects that has ever taken place in The Foursquare Church”—the “Child and Youth Protection Training Series.” A video was shown to the audience to demonstrate the importance of the project. In an effort to keep kids safe while they are in Foursquare churches, all member churches will be required to comply with child protection standards that will soon be released.
After viewing the video, Karen Heimbuch, an ordained Foursquare minister, then took the stage to do a dramatic interpretation of two chapters of the book of Revelation, moving the crowd to applause. Eric Green and Carolyn Foster then lead the group in a final time of worship. Foster asked God that the group could “savor everything” from the week and that God would bring a fresh vision to those present.
Pastor Jack and General Supervisor Glenn Burris Jr. announced two events due to take place in the fall. The fall 2008 regional conferences, themed “This Generation Shall Praise You,” will feature James Craft, National NextGen Ministries director and Ron Luce, founder of Teen Mania, as well as workshops.
Then on Oct. 26, the National Foursquare Church Family Prayer Meeting will take place at local churches across the nation, connected via satellite. The prayer gathering will be themed “Calling on God—Covering a Nation,” which will focus on praying for the nation, intercession preceding the presidential vote, and for health and peace for our country.
Pastor Jack then turned the stage over to Luce, who encouraged the audience to imagine a church that creates an environment that is stronger and more exciting to teens than any messages they might be receiving from the media or the culture at large. He told the crowd to make kids feel loved and welcome, and that it is of utmost importance for the senior pastor to make the kids know that he (or she) cares about them. He explained that senior pastors can’t simply “subcontract” their “love for kids out to the youth pastor,” and that the entire church must be behind a movement to win over kids’ souls for Christ.
Pastor Jack then introduced Kirbyjon Caldwell, the senior pastor of Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston, the largest United Methodist Church in the nation, with a congregation of 14,000.
Caldwell revved up the crowd with his animated message on transformation. He began by asking, “What good is the church if the church is not going to be in the business of transformation?” He added: “If we aren’t going to change something [or] change somebody ... then what good are we?”
In a powerfully visual message about faith—even calling up Foursquare executives Glenn Burris Jr., Jim Scott and Jeffrey Bird—he proclaimed that “just because you haven’t seen it horizontally [in the physical reality you can see right now] doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist vertically [in the heavenly reality that will soon be manifested].”
He wrapped up his message, saying that Scripture further defines the role of hope:
- Hope defies (speaking from the book of Daniel)
- Hope dares (Isaiah 55)
- Hope declares (Isaiah 55)
After his message of hope and transformation, he concluded by offering to pray and lay hands on those pastors who had experienced a difficult year and had considered leaving the ministry. Many came forward for prayer and were touched by the Holy Spirit, while the worship team reconvened to sing, “Here I am to Worship.”
Following Caldwell, Pastor Jack returned to offer some closing remarks on prophetic realities. The Foursquare president shared an encouraging prophetic vision he had that powerfully illustrated how God’s promise, destiny and anointing were poured out over the attendees via the messages this week.
The service, officially marking the close of Foursquare Convention 2008, concluded with a time of communion and a special offering to help toward disaster relief for the countries of Myanmar and China.