Early in my ministry, I kept hearing comments such as, “Everything happens through relationships.” Now, looking back on more than 30 years of ministry, I can tell you two things I have learned: Everything does indeed happen through relationships, and big doors swing on small hinges.
Our small, faithful actions, over time, can come together to make a huge difference both in our own lives and ministries, and in advancing the kingdom of God. The Foursquare family is special in the way we are all connected, and synergy of ministry can result in incredible spiritual outcomes. Allow me to share a few examples from my own life that illustrate this.
When I was 16, God told me that I would have a ministry in Russia and the Soviet Union. Fifteen years later, I was still praying about that word from God. Communism had collapsed, the Soviet Union was no more, and yet silence filled the air when I would ask God about the word He had spoken to me.
One Tuesday night, I was lying in bed reading a news article about the religious developments in Russia. I prayed again, “Lord, what about that word you spoke to me?” I turned out the light and went to sleep.
The next morning, I received a phone call from an acquaintance. He started off, “Jeff, you don’t know this, but we have a ministry in Russia, and we need people who will go in there and help train and develop new believers and new leaders. Every time we pray about who to ask, your name comes up. Would you ever be interested in going to Russia?” Fifteen years of prayer was answered through that phone call. That phone call led to the formation of The Foursquare Church of Russia. Big doors swing on small hinges.
The Foursquare family is special in the way we are all connected, and synergy of ministry can result in incredible spiritual outcomes.
Another example: My wife, Debbie, and I were in Zenica, the fourth largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina, to present Pastor Dario Kapin with his Foursquare minister’s license. Dario and I had been working together for several years; he was pastoring an independent church, and he longed for relationships in a healthy church family.
After several years of working together, Dario brought his church into Foursquare. This is the first Foursquare church in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a Muslim majority nation in the Balkan region of Europe. It is estimated that there are fewer than 500 evangelical Christians of any sort in the entire country of 3.5 million people.
Each little action, connected within the larger Foursquare family, resulted in nation-shaping events. Big doors swing on small hinges.
The amazing thing to me is how my relationship with Dario started. Several years ago, a Foursquare minister named Joe Gosha visited Zenica. Somehow, Joe found his way to Pastor Dario and said, “I want to wash your feet.” Dario was amazed that a stranger, a foreigner, would come to his church and do such a thing. He was so moved he said, “I want to be part of a family like this.” Joe introduced Dario and me. Now, we have a Foursquare church in this unreached nation. Joe’s action reminded me that big doors swing on small hinges.
Twelve years ago, to give you another example, Foursquare’s presence in Ukraine was virtually nonexistent. I would travel to the capital city of Kyiv as often as I could to walk through the city and pray, asking God to connect me with a Cornelius or a Lydia. Nine years ago, God answered that prayer. It started with an email.
Lewie Richey was serving as the missions pastor at a church in the Los Angeles area when the senior pastor was invited to speak at a conference in Ukraine. The senior pastor could not go, so Lewie replied, “Sorry, but he is not available. But we are part of a bigger family of churches called Foursquare, would you like me to connect you?” So, Lewie introduced me to this pastor in Ukraine. I was already scheduled to be in Kyiv for another one of my prayer walks, so we set up a meeting.
During the meeting in Kyiv, God linked our hearts together. We began working together: mentoring and training leaders, building relationships and watching God do amazing things. Today, there are 31 Foursquare churches, several rehabilitation centers and at least one orphanage in Ukraine. It all started with prayer walks and an email. Big doors swing on small hinges.
I could tell you about the dentist from Fresno, Calif., or the pastor from Texas, or the pastor in Malaysia whose simple actions set into motion events that resulted in a leader becoming the president of Foursquare Russia, a Foursquare church in Zagreb, Croatia, and Foursquare getting started in Sweden. Each little action, connected within the larger Foursquare family, resulted in nation-shaping events. Big doors swing on small hinges.
You have been called to participate in the mission of God. You may not be an apostle, but you can wash feet—and this small act can open big doors.