The second day of Connection 2013 became Foursquare’s annual check-up appointment, with an emphasis on personal and corporate physical and spiritual health. The fullest day of the week’s schedule included heart checks and a progress report on organizational alignment.
Around 40 people turned out for the first event of what would be a 14-hour day, a question-and-answer session with Foursquare board members that covered issues including church planting, camp ministry and finances.
At the following morning session, President Glenn Burris Jr. announced that 20 town hall meetings are to be held across the country as part of the denomination’s ongoing review and reordering of its structure, intended wherever possible to push ministry responsibility and opportunity down from the corporate office to the local church level.
To be staged over the next year as part of the Reimagining Foursquare process begun three years ago, the town hall gatherings will present research findings and provide an opportunity for local pastors and church members to weigh in on how the denomination needs to reposition itself for effective mission in a changing culture. The deliberations are “going to help us refine and really focus on the things that are most important to accelerate the gospel, the church, to the world,” Glenn affirmed.
Several members of Glenn’s Presidential Task Force leading the review took part in a panel discussion about the implications of the changes with regards to diversity, church planting and multiplication.
One of them, Northwest District Supervisor Dave Veach, presented information showing that “the sky is not falling” as he said many fear. More churches had been planted in the U.S. last year—4,000—than at any time in history, of which 43 were Foursquare.
Almost half of the 1,399 Foursquare churches planted in the last 15 years are still going, and all those that had been started have seen $59 million returned to the denomination, a 429 percent return on investment, Dave said. Continuing the positive reports, General Supervisor Tammy Dunahoo said that 182 church plants were due to start in the coming year.
Two keynote guest speakers made a big impact. In the morning, psychologist and author Dr. Henry Cloud urged leaders to consider how their personal issues might affect their leadership. They should focus on the areas they believe God has called them to, be prepared for difficult but “necessary endings” of things that may have seen their day, and ensure they have close relationships to help them endure through tough times, he asserted.
Closing a dynamic evening session, John Bevere brought almost everyone in the meeting hall to their feet in response to his call to repentance for failing to honor others the way God intended. In a powerful message, he observed that churches in the U.S. do not see the miracles that occur in other parts of the world because those bringing God’s Word are often not honored properly.
The morning session also spotlighted individual health, with Terry Miller, lead pastor of Hope Chapel (Orange Coast Foursquare Church) in Costa Mesa, Calif., speaking on the importance of self-care for leaders. A video documented how Corri Graves, the sister of convention worship leader Marc Wymore, worship leader at LightHouse Church (Newbury Park Foursquare Church) in Newbury Park, Calif., had stepped forward to donate a kidney when his worsening diabetes required a transplant.
Relational health was championed in several presentations:
- Stephanie Singer, assistant women’s basketball coach at Azusa Pacific University, recounted how she was loved to repentance out of a gay lifestyle by a church that opened its arms to her. “The church needs to start loving the homosexual community back into wholeness and stop letting them love our children out,” she said.
- David and Cindy Grasso, co-pastors of Life Fellowship (Charlestown Foursquare Church) in Charlestown, N.H., spoke about how they had intentionally parented their five daughters, all of whom have grown to love and serve God.
- Tammy Sevcov, associate pastor at The Rock (Anaheim Foursquare Church) in Anaheim, Calif., encouraged churches to view singles as more than just those “who need to get married,” and singles themselves to pursue their individual calling in God.
General Supervisor Tammy Dunahoo prayed for Foursquare leaders’ families at the end of a discussion with Robby Booth, director of Center for Spiritual Renewal (CSR) West, and Chuck Shoemake, director of CSR East, about pressures and issues facing leaders.
The afternoon included a business session that set aside time for local pastors to ask questions, and for executives to provide information on recent and future decisions.
Foursquare Missions International (FMI) was also on the day’s agenda, with an impassioned appeal from FMI Director Jim Scott for more missionary candidates. He also led prayer for new missionaries Steve and Kim Cecil, who are going to Russia with their three children, and Travis and Alexis Mielonen, who are headed to Poland with their two children.
More than 3,000 people are registered for this year’s convention, themed “Engage: Learn. Live. Lead.” The gathering at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., ends May 30.
Don’t miss anything that Connection 2013 has to offer! Order the Foursquare Connection 2013 Experience Kit at a special rate of $149 (a $300 value). The kit includes all the speakers' messages, video updates from the week’s events and more. Order online now.
By: Andy Butcher, a freelance writer living in the Orlando, Fla., area