Foursquare Connection 2017 was held in Washington, D.C., May 29–June 1, where Foursquare pastors and leaders gathered in the city known for both great influence and division. Leaders celebrated that once we are “Commissioned by Jesus,” which was the convention’s theme, we are in this together to make the Great Commission happen.
Over 3,000 Foursquare attendees heard from many different leaders—those who serve in a traditional church, some who serve in a marketplace setting or education setting, and others who serve internationally.
A recurring theme that ran throughout the event, which took place at the Washington Hilton, was best summarized by Gabe Lyons, who challenged attendees to love first, and know your convictions; then, living your life rooted in this foundation will create a compelling story others will be interested in.
Foursquare Missions International (FMI) Director Ted Vail echoed that cry during his talk about reaching Samaria, suggesting that reaching others is sometimes as easy as starting by simply saying hi.
“Love never fails. If you go down loving, you will never be a failure,” said Ted.
Friends of Foursquare were also warmly welcomed, including well-known author Mark Batterson, who said he was happy to join team-Foursquare for the night. Speaking from personal experience, he said that church plants sometimes have to fail to make room for something “better to happen in our lives,” and that “faith is taking the first step before God reveals the next step.”
Kelly Tshibaka is a Foursquare credentialed minister and a federal employee in Washington, D.C., who was recently considered for a White House appointment. She shared about the unique opportunity she has to pray for those who are making decisions that influence our nation, and concluded with, “I am commissioned to the unimaginable, and so are you.”
Worship was powerful, with Elevation Worship leading with abundant energy and excitement on Monday and Tuesday, and Foursquare’s own Kyle and Lisa Cooper ushering in the Holy Spirit on Wednesday and Thursday. Other musical features included two performances by the Miracle Choir of Manado from Indonesia, and Thursday morning worship included students from Grace Covenant Church (Cornelius Foursquare Church) in Cornelius, N.C.
For the first time ever, Conexión Hispana was held over two days in the main ballroom, and was broadcast live to the Connection Live home audience. The event began on Tuesday afternoon with a powerful ceremony where Missionary Yaseer Handall, a Hispanic Foursquare pastor who has been sent to Native Americans in the U.S., and several native Foursquare leaders, representing the early dwellers of North American lands, formally invited and welcomed the Hispanic people to the lands of the United States through the presentation of gifts and through prayers that asked the Father to bless the Hispanic ministries, leaders and people.
Speaker Virginia Gonzalez, Hispanic Representative of the Northeast Atlantic District, encouraged the more than 250 leaders to know their identity and be who they are as they serve God, while the worship team of Iglesia El Calvario in Springfield, Md., led worship.
The second day of Conexión Hispana presented three panels made up of Hispanic leaders of the Foursquare movement that discussed the three Missional Objectives of The Foursquare Church: leadership development, church transformation, and church and congregation multiplication.
Wednesday evening included time for a special offering for North Africa, where 99.5 percent of the population is unreached with the gospel. Pastors Mark Warren and Jon Cobler appealed to those attending in D.C., with a separate message for the at-home Connection Live audience due to the sensitivity of the information shared.
Foursquare has the unique opportunity to partner with workers native to the region and to also recruit, train and deploy two multicultural, multigenerational missions teams of between four and six people each. Donations can still be made online.
Foursquare Disaster Relief’s new Project Nourish was also announced. This effort will help with the biggest humanitarian crisis of our time, with millions facing starvation in East Africa. Churches can sign up to receive information on Project Nourish, including ways to involve children and students.
During the event, the Foursquare family also was able to celebrate many exciting moments together in person. The Foursquare Church gave a standing ovation to more than 70 church planters and 12 newly deployed or soon-to-deploy missionary units.
Matthew and Caroline Barnett, who serve at Angelus Temple in Los Angeles, were presented this year’s Commissioned Award for their work at Angelus Temple and the Dream Center.
For the first time ever, a leader outside the U.S. Foursquare Church has been appointed Global Chair. President Glenn Burris Jr. and other leaders gathered around Sri Lanka National Leader Leslie Keegel to pray for his historic appointment. Leslie later shared an encouraging prophetic word with the Foursquare family.
In addition, Life Pacific College (LPC) President Jim J. Adams announced that Life Pacific College is restructuring as a university, effective July 1, 2019. The LPC president highlighted several changes through the school’s history, noting the two initial schools that will be formed under the new university status are a School of Arts and Sciences, and a School of Theology and Ministry.
Along with the 2,679 adults, and 370 kids and youth, who attended convention in person, there were thousands more who attended through Connection Live. Pastors Mark and Lynn Cooper from Life (Decatur Foursquare Church) in Decatur, Ill., hosted the at-home event preshow, Life Offstage, which included session wrap-ups and interviews. Those who couldn’t attend in person had the chance to watch all main sessions as well as Conexión Hispana through Sunday, June 4, at no cost. Several tweeted their appreciation for getting to still participate even though they were unable to attend in person.
More than 650 people asked to be a part of Lunch Connections on Tuesday, an effort to connect attendees with new friends. Others took advantage of food trucks, which provided a way for attendees to get a quick bite in between jam-packed afternoons.
“I am commissioned to the unimaginable, and so are you.”
—Kelly Tshibaka, a Foursquare credentialed minister and federal employee in Washington, D.C.
With an ongoing commitment to supporting healthy leaders, many education opportunities were provided on Wednesday afternoon with Training Sessions and Affinity Network Sessions. Training Sessions were taught by main-stage speakers such as Gabe Lyons and David Kinnaman, with topics ranging from post-Christian culture to evangelism, to student ministries and more.
The annual convention is also a time for business. Business report summaries were made available to view from home for the first time ever, with downloads of the full reports also available.
The voting body passed both sets of proposed bylaw amendments, including the bylaw to elect a new president a year early to a president-elect role, to allow time for orientation and training. All reports, which can be viewed online, were accepted, and Remi Lawanson was ratified as board director.
Sessions can also be purchased as digital downloads online, and will be available to view within four weeks after the conclusion of convention.
Foursquare Connection 2018 will take place in Seattle, May 28-31, and is themed “Transformed by Jesus.”