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Columbus, Ohio—host city for Foursquare Connection 2011—is an up-and-coming destination, according to many travel experts who cite the city’s expanding sports and cultural venues and creative downtown that attract visitors from around the nation. When the Foursquare family gathers in Columbus May 30–June 2, some may be a bit surprised at just how inviting this destination really is.

Hop on a guided Segway tour and visit 50 city landmarks within two hours’ time. Or, for a bit more ambitious look around, take a 13-mile scenic walk through the Olentangy greenway corridor that links downtown Columbus to Worthington. Other delegates may be happier checking out the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium near the downtown area.

Also of interest to visitors in and near Columbus are the Jack Nicklaus Golf Museum on the OSU campus, and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The Columbus Clippers minor league baseball team plays its home games in the state-of-the-art facility at Huntington Park in downtown Columbus. Additionally, The Crew, Ohio’s professional Major League Soccer club, hosts matches on the grounds of the Ohio Expo Center.

Ministry couples will enjoy intentional breaks and times of personal refreshing during Connection 2011, with mini-destinations within easy access of the Greater Columbus Convention Center. For instance, nearby German Village boasts neighborhoods with timeless architecture as well as inviting restaurants, delicatessens, bakeries and shops.

And for something really surprising, be sure to stop by Topiary Park in downtown Columbus, a “landscape of a painting of a landscape,” bringing to life George Seurat’s famous 19th-century painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.

In keeping with this year’s Connection theme, “Accelerate—The Whole Gospel to the Whole World,” the Foursquare family will also gather for fellowship and learning in Columbus. All-new collaborative learning tracks promise to help build ministry skills in a peer-based environment.

Learning track coordinators say “peer-based learning” will allow for leaders to share their current stories with people of similar experience. They believe that, in this environment, challenges will be better understood, and hope for each leader’s future will be encouraged.

“The landscape of the world has changed and is changing,” one leader notes, “and for us to move toward tomorrow, we must foster a collaborative spirit.” Each learning track will support this collaborative posture through “well-storied practitioners providing guidance while making room for meaningful dialogue and networking.”

The goal of Connection 2011 learning tracks is to explore missional practices and move leaders closer to the global course of developing healthy, reproducing leaders who lead healthy, reproducing churches contextually, creatively and courageously.
Learning tracks will be tailored to pastors based on their current congregation size. In addition, specific learning tracks will be available for ForeRunners (retired ministers), NextGen leaders and international ministers. Collaborative learning track descriptions are available online, and Connection delegates can sign up for learning tracks when they register for Connection.

More information about Foursquare Connection 2011, including registration, is available online.

By: Rod Light, an ordained Foursquare minister and educator in Los Angeles

was an ordained Foursquare minister, Life Pacific University instructor and freelance writer.