Perhaps one of the most traveled leaders in Foursquare, Daniel A. Brown is rarely on official business when he goes overseas. More likely than not, the ordained Foursquare minister is visiting as a friend, offering encouragement, advice and insight from his 22 years as the founder and former senior pastor of The Coastlands (Aptos Foursquare Church) in Aptos, Calif.
Often asked for help in areas such as leadership, discipleship and church planting, Daniel sees himself as an “apple tree”: “My job is to sink my roots deep and produce fruit so that others can reach up and pluck what they want,” he explains. “I’m really just a resource for people.”
The prolific author and teacher addresses leadership events, but qualifies his role in that regard, stating: “I don’t want to be a conference speaker. I don’t want to go from convention to convention and drop my pearls of wisdom. I want relationships with people. I think my conversations over a cup of coffee are far more valuable in growing and building people than a sermon.”
Daniel’s present reach has grown through the years, from regular ministry trips to Europe as a young pastor. Through his repeated visits to friends rather than any formal status, he played a key role in bringing existing churches in Switzerland and The Netherlands into relationship with Foursquare.
“I just responded to the little things I sensed God saying, and look where I ended up,” he says, encouraging others not to look for big challenges, necessarily, so much as small opportunities.
“Everybody is waiting for the big, world-changing vision,” he comments. “I think if you take those little steps, going down, then He takes care of moving us up.”
Big Vision and a Big Heart
For his part, Leslie Keegel was given a big vision, but he has followed it with similar humility. Though he is sought out for his prophetic messages, and well known for his powerful healing and deliverance ministry, the overseer of Foursquare’s work in part of the Asia-Pacific region does not fit the typical larger-than-life platform personality. Gentle and quietly spoken, he says he doesn’t have much self-confidence.
“But I pray a lot,” he says, and when led by the Holy Spirit, he recognizes a quiet authority. “I have seen that I don’t have to be loud and demonstrative.” He lets the healings and miracles speak for themselves.
Invitations to teach and minister are prompted by the clear fruit of his ministry. Since he was appointed national leader of Foursquare’s work in Sri Lanka 30 years ago, the denomination has grown from two churches to more than 1,700 meeting places. Under his leadership, four other Sri Lankan nationals have been appointed leaders of Foursquare efforts in other nations: Bahrain, Dubai, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
All of which prompted Foursquare President Glenn Burris Jr. to quip at Connection 2013, introducing Leslie as he brought a prophetic word to the annual convention, that he was “taking over the world.” The comment underscores just how God has used someone who says he would have been content as a Christian accountant financing God’s work, until God said, “I want you, not your money.”
Though he received a global vision shortly after becoming a Christian as a teenager, the ordained Foursquare minister echoes Daniel A. Brown’s emphasis on the “small.” Frustrated by the lack of progress he saw in his early days as national leader, he cried out to God in a time of prayer and fasting. Leslie expected some dramatic intervention, but instead, “God said, ‘Do the best you can with the little you have.’ ”
That surprising directive was a turning point, leading Foursquare in Sri Lanka to the house church model that has been behind its explosive growth. As well as pastoring the lead Foursquare congregation in the capital, Colombo, and presiding over a Bible college, Leslie now leads a ministry aiming to reconcile the two sides in the country’s long-running civil war, which ended in 2009, through practical helps such as building homes and orphanages, and vocational training.
“We call it ‘presence evangelism,’ ” he explains. “We offer compassion and care. We love them and love them and love them until they ask why. And then we have the opportunity to tell them.”
Melinda Scott’s international touch has come through the death of her original dreams. As a newlywed, she longed to be a mom and a missionary. Though neither desire has been fulfilled in the way she hoped back then, she has nurtured more children and shared God’s love in more other nations than would have been possible following her original plan.
The ordained Foursquare minister has traveled to 40-plus countries. Melinda loves ministering to all, and specifically looks for opportunities to “open the doors for other women.” Indeed, she believes that women may be one of the keys to sharing the gospel globally, as they are able to reach other women and children in a way that men cannot because of cultural restrictions.
She recalls a prophetic moment on a trip to the Indian subcontinent when a Muslim woman who had been prayed for lifted her veil to say thank you.
“I knew that God was speaking to us, that it is time we lift the veil and be all that God has called us to be,” she says. “No more hiding.”
One of Melinda’s high callings is to care for her mother, Charlotte, who was left unable to speak after a stroke.
“But I listen to her heart,” Melinda affirms. “The words are not important; we have learned to communicate without words.”
Melinda has found this ability to connect without words to be helpful in overseas encounters with people who speak a different language—another example of how an apparent obstacle becomes a doorway.
“Even in the midst of your pain, when God speaks, you obey,” Melinda says of the years when it seemed she had not heard God correctly. “You might not see it happen for years, but God’s promises are true.”
By: Andy Butcher, a freelance writer living in the Orlando, Fla., area