Under the theme “The Power of One,” thousands of Foursquare pastors and leaders from across the country and around the world filled the Centennial Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Atlanta tonight for the opening session of Foursquare Connection 2010, the annual international convention of The Foursquare Church.
A refreshing anthem of praise led by Tommy Walker and Jacob Park welcomed delegates into the presence of the Lord. The story of the church throughout history was powerfully illustrated in a video timeline, culminating with the present-day spiritual success of The Foursquare Church around the world. Poet and worship artist Amena Brown delivered a fitting verbal presentation of God’s ultimate purpose in redeeming people and placing us exactly where we should be for greatest effectiveness in His kingdom.
Local Connection host, Southeast District Supervisor Scott Reece, welcomed delegates to Georgia. In the spirit of “redneck” comedian Jeff Foxworthy, Scott offered his own version of “You might be from the Southeast District if … ” Perhaps the greatest response from the crowd came when Scott said: “You might be from the Southeast District if … your pastor’s name is Bubba, and so is her husband’s.”
Pastor Scott, Krystal Sanford and Marcus Ellington, emcees for the week, encouraged delegates to participate in the “Power of One: Note.” The idea was to share an uplifting message or Bible verse on the notepad provided in the Connection packets, and give the note to a person, following the Lord’s leading. Leaders watching at home via streaming video online were encouraged to share an uplifting word with people in their communities.
Foursquare Missions International Director Jonathan Hall joined Krystal and Marcus as they welcomed national Foursquare leaders from around the world to this year’s Connection. The group received a standing ovation, reflecting the appreciation of the U.S. delegates for their fellow ministers serving internationally. Then, Marcus reminded everyone of the rich heritage we have as a family and the importance of sharing our family stories with one another.
The story of Scott and Veronica Reece, their family and their influence in ministry was shared in a video presentation called, “The Power of One: Family.” Veronica’s influence, in particular, was illustrated through all she imparted to her children before her unexpected death in February. The video was followed by an expression of gratitude and a prayer of blessing over the family by Foursquare Interim General Supervisor Tammy Dunahoo.
Dr. Harold Helms, a longtime Foursquare pastor, leader and former Foursquare vice president and interim president, delivered the keynote address for the evening, titled “The Power of One: Message.” His text was Matthew 16:18: ” ‘On this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it’ ” (NKJV).
Throughout his address, Pastor Helms reminded the delegates of the central message of our faith—the gospel of Jesus Christ—and stressed that no matter how good our preaching or our advice might be as we teach in our churches, the only message that really counts is the message of the good news of Jesus Christ.
He followed the singular thread of the gospel through the history of the church, from its beginnings in the book of Acts through the resurgence of the Pentecostal revival of the late 1800s and into the present. He spoke of how this renewed sense of the fullness of God’s Spirit united people from all walks of life and every ethnic group, releasing both men and women to freedom in ministerial leadership.
Pastor Helms said that the church around the world has succumbed to a secular mindset of racial segregation that the Holy Spirit wants to stop among Christians today. He mentioned early Pentecostal leaders such as Charles Fox Parham and William Seymour, both of whom were instrumental in helping establish the unstoppable spiritual revival in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This revival ultimately circled the globe, reaching 50 nations with the gospel. He observed that the spiritual revival in South Africa in the early 1900s was racially integrated until the government required that the races worship apart.
Foursquare’s founder, Aimee Semple McPherson, was one of the converts of the early Pentecostal message that spread like wildfire throughout North America. After her death in 1944, Pastor Helms noted, experts predicted that The Foursquare Church she founded would “fold like a house of cards.” It obviously did not, and Pastor Helms celebrated the significant statistical evidence that The Foursquare Church is alive and well today, thriving under the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
The keynote address concluded with a sobering challenge that Foursquare ministers stand arm-in-arm, looking forward together as they face the days ahead. He noted that the church at large in the U.S. is in decline, especially when compared with some of the astounding statistics showing significant spiritual growth in countries such as China and Africa. Rather than give in to apathy, Pastor Helms exhorted, our ministers need to receive a fresh touch of the Holy Spirit, take up the singular message of the gospel, and stand together as they passionately reach the world for Christ.
Mid-Atlantic District Supervisor Harriet Mouer and her husband, Bill, joined Pastor Helms and his wife, Winona, at the conclusion of his address. The Mouers led the delegates in a reflective time of prayer, waiting on the voice of God to affirm to each leader regarding how to move forward. A prophetic message through tongues and interpretation confirmed that God desires to begin a new thing in Foursquare leaders and The Foursquare Church.
Foursquare Connection 2010 continues through Thursday, June 3. Daily episodes of “Foursquare Leader Minute: Connection Edition” will be posted online at www.Foursquare.org/flm. Written summaries will be posted each night, following the main evening session.
By: Rod Light, an ordained Foursquare minister and educator serving with Foursquare Communications in Los Angeles
To read the daily convention wrap-ups, click below.
Day One: The Power of One to Reach
Day Two: The Power of One to Reach and Train
Day Three: The Power of One to Train
Day Four: The Power of One to Send
Overview: The Power of One to Reach, Train and Send