I never cease to be amazed by God’s ability to bring life to situations that seem hopeless. I vividly recall hearing the story of Mauricio Rodriguez, who was born in Nicaragua, the 25th child of an alcoholic father. Immediately after his birth, his mother threw him into a nearby outhouse and then tossed large stones into the hole to hasten his death.
Against all odds, Mauricio survived and was later adopted by a family that settled in Los Angeles and attended Angelus Temple Hispanic Church. Mauricio, now a Foursquare minister, recently returned to Nicaragua, hoping to purchase the property where he was abandoned and convert it into a home for unwed mothers. He was amazed to discover that the property owner was the nurse who had taken care of him and nurtured him back to health when he was just an abandoned infant no one wanted. Negotiations are now underway for Mauricio to purchase the property.
Mauricio’s story reminds us that God still works miracles. As we move forward in the life of our church, I ask you to contend with me for God’s miraculous, redeeming presence to be among us. Our recent convention and global summit have opened doors that we can only enter effectively with God’s empowerment. As you read reports of the those two events and the establishment of a presidential task force, and as we look forward to next year’s convention, I ask that you commit to praying and believing with me that the miraculous will become the hallmark of our future.
At Connection 2012, we responded to the call to “Reclaim Our Voice.” The attendance was excellent: More than 3,500 people came from the U.S. and around the world. The move of the Lord among us brought a fresh commitment to our founding principles of moving in the gifts and anointing of the Holy Spirit. In the opening service, New Hope Oahu’s Dr. Wayne Cordeiro spoke about the need for our orthodoxy to be fully expressed through our fidelity to good orthopraxy. At the conclusion of his message, every person in the convention hall had been anointed with oil.
Numbers of people have commented on the outcome of our gathering in Phoenix. A wife and mother from Cheney, Wash., who was not able to join us onsite due to a physical illness, stated that “during this season of extended illness, the Lord has done a wonderful work of healing in me on so many levels.” Due to the live streaming of convention main sessions online, she felt connected and was very grateful for that blessing.
The Five Targets, introduced last year, were revisited and reviewed:
- Leaders: Every leader will be both a student and mentor, reproducing healthy leaders.
- Churches: We will develop a healthy, reproducing local-church-centric culture.
- Nations: A renewed laser focus will help us resource local churches to do missions more effectively.
- People Groups: All ethnicities/generations/genders will be embraced and empowered.
- Resources: One hundred percent of local church tithe will be reinvested in local, district and global mission.
For access to the Five Targets PowerPoint presentation, which includes full descriptions of the goals, please visit 4sq.ca/fivetargets2012.
I am thankful for the clear presence of God in our midst and the evident expectation within our constituency that we are, indeed, in a new season!
Leaders from more than 70 nations gathered in Phoenix at the conclusion of Connection 2012. Throughout the event, there was significant prayer time for the world and for one another. We were gladly interrupted on a number of occasions by clear words of prophecy and direction from the Holy Spirit.
The Foursquare Church began in the United States; so, in light of that fact, we were the pioneers of the global Foursquare movement. We then acknowledged that the U.S. Foursquare Church had become the parent by default. But the exciting opportunity before us is to dream together about how the global Foursquare movement can become true partners in our efforts to “make disciples of all nations.”
We heard from leaders around the world on four primary areas:
- What are the distinctives that we should hold to, orient new national leaders to and frame our future around?
- What are the current realities that shape our approach to taking the gospel to the ends of the earth? What are the challenges and the obstacles?
- What opportunities are open to us? There are doors that only the Holy Spirit could have opened for us.
- What are our next steps? What should our priorities be?
I left the meetings with a renewed sense of purpose, focus and optimism. The Foursquare Church is playing a significant role in the body of Christ during these days. We can accelerate the work if we do it together.
Presidential Task Force
The board of directors has commissioned a group of U.S. leaders to begin helping structure The Foursquare Church for fruitfulness in the next 100 years. We want to unlock our potential, to assess, analyze and recommend important and courageous steps that will allow us to be a relevant 21st-century movement.
This task force will help us think through four very important things:
- Identity: What is it that really defines The Foursquare Church? What are our core values? What is our primary mission and vision?
- Missional Responsibility and Missional Effectiveness: Exactly who does what best? What should the local church be empowered and resourced to do? What should the district office do, and what should the national church offices do?
- Denominational Funding: How can we reduce the administrative overhead and drive our primary funding resources to the field?
- Property and Polity: How should we address our property/polity realities so that they are not a distraction to our mission to reach the world for Christ?
In order to become more focused on mission and less focused on administration, we must be wise and courageous but not irresponsible or reckless. This task force will help us negotiate these areas effectively.
You will be hearing all about Connection 2013 in my December communication, but I want to give you a sense of anticipation for the May 27–30 event:
• The Walt Disney World Resort property located in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., where our Foursquare family will be staying, features a beautiful 100-acre lake in the middle of the property.
• Our staff is being very creative in thinking through our schedule for next year, planning to allow maximum “connection” time for families and friends.
I am so grateful for your partnership at this significant time in the life of our Foursquare family. We remain committed to taking the whole gospel to the whole world. As we walk in unity and believe for the miraculous, I am convinced that we will see many people brought into God’s kingdom—and we will see Him do great and might things among us.
By: Glenn Burris Jr., president of The Foursquare Church