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As the countdown begins to Foursquare Connection 2016, several longtime leaders are encouraging other pastors to maximize the ongoing impact of the annual international gathering in their churches by bringing others on their teams with them—because some good things just have to be shared.

While many resources—such as Connection Live, a live stream of convention’s main sessions, and even digital downloads of video and audio recordings from the event to share with others later—capture some of what happens, there is nothing like attending the convention with other leaders from the same church for building unity and growing in ministry.

With that in mind, pastors are being challenged to consider bringing others with them to Honolulu for Foursquare Connection 2016, themed “Empowered,” May 30–June 2. Foursquare leaders from around the world as well as across the U.S. will be taking part in the four-day event, which will include prayer, inspirational teaching, training, business and opportunities to fellowship in multiethnic gatherings.

Attending the convention for the first time in 2006, when he became lead pastor of Restoration/Forward Church (Huntsville Foursquare Church) in Madison, Ala., after nine years as an associate pastor, Huey Hudson immediately knew the personal value of Foursquare Connection: “You are challenged to think a little differently, believe a little more, and do things a bit differently for the Lord,” he says.

Pastor Huey Hudson with some fellow church leaders that he’s bringing to convention

But he also recognized it was important for others on his team to experience it firsthand, having missed out on that opportunity himself. “You don’t really get a true perspective of who our Foursquare family is until you have been around a large concentration of them at Connection,” he says. “Local churches are different, with their own flavor.”

So important is this exposure that Restoration has budgeted $12,000 this year to help staff and bivocational leaders get to Hawaii, though they are expected to meet some of the expenses as a measure of their own desire to be there. In years past, some have volunteered at the event in return for a break on registration costs.

“It’s a commitment,” Huey acknowledges of his church’s determination to have other leaders at Connection. “You have to understand the importance of it, and have the faith and believe, but I believe the return is much greater than the investment.”

Senior Pastor Walter Ramos is due to take a group of more than 20 from Dios Restaura (Glendale Hispanic 2 Foursquare Church) in Glendale, Calif., to Hawaii. Some of them will be helping lead worship during Conexión Hispana on Tuesday afternoon, May 31.

“When I take other leaders with me, it is so great because everybody is on the same page,” Walter explains. “It is important for people working with me to know they are part of something bigger.” That can be a challenge for small churches, but “if you want to do something, if it is really important, God will help you.”

Carrie Jenkins, co-pastor with her husband, Dale, of New Hope Worship Center (Concord Foursquare Church) in Concord, N.C., was emcee alongside Dale during Connection 2015. Carrie notes that sharing the experience of convention with others on your leadership team draws people together in a unique way. “It develops our relationships and allows us to continue to grow closer, to be a more powerful team together.”

Part of the benefit is practical—the teaching they hear and the connections they make. But helping other leaders attend also, importantly, “validates who they are as ministers,” affirms Carrie. “It tells them they are part of a bigger picture, that we believe in them and want to see them develop and grow, that they are valuable. Connection is not just for lead pastors.”

Carrie and Dale’s commitment to having others attend Connection springs from their own experience as young associate pastors. Their leaders “encouraged us to go and made sure that the budget was there because they knew that it was going to be beneficial for us,” she recalls. “So we try to do that for our pastoral staff, as well.”

Anticipating this year’s gathering, Foursquare President Glenn Burris Jr. says: “As we come together in Hawaii, we believe God is going to meet us there, and we believe He has a word for The Foursquare Church, and a word for you.”

Taking place at Honolulu’s Hawai’i Convention Center, Foursquare Connection 2016 will kick off on Monday evening, May 30, with with a special ‘Ohana Dinner featuring Hawaiian hospitality and island entertainment.

For more information and to register, go to the official Foursquare Connection 2016 website.

is a freelance writer living in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.