“Believe in the Lord your God and you will be established; Believe His prophets and you will prosper.” -2 Chronicles 20:20 (NKJV)
A prophetic spirit of prayer and worship pervaded the meeting room inside the Long Beach, Calif., Hyatt Regency Hotel Monday night, as stormy skies loomed over Long Beach Harbor in Southern California. From around the United States, 450 Foursquare pastors and leaders gathered for a week of shaping the future of The Foursquare Church.
District supervisors, divisional superintendents, board members, as well as other ministry leaders, all serve as members of the Foursquare executive council. One of the primary roles of the executive council is leading the growth and expansion of The Foursquare Church, especially within the geographic borders of the United States.
The Foursquare Executive Council Summit convened not with conventional presentations of strategy and human ratification, but amidst unified expressions of a movement-wide dependence upon the Holy Spirit’s direction for our church. The words of a popular worship song, “Holy Spirit rain down, Comforter and friend, how we need Your touch again,” reminded the leaders during the sessions of our reliance upon God for the future.
Pastor Jack Hayford, president of The Foursquare Church, expressed gratitude for the unity of purpose demonstrated by members of the executive council during the summit. “The time sacrificed, the counsel given, the creativity shared, the Spirit manifest—all this prompts my thanksgiving for these gifted, servant-hearted sisters and brothers,” he said.
The New Testament Greek word, kairos, illustrates God’s extension of unique grace for a specific moment in time, and those in attendance at the Executive Council Summit embraced this time together as one of those unique kairos moments. During the summit, a prophetic urgency prevailed; God is working among Foursquare leaders everywhere through new degrees of relational health, integrity and trust.
In addition to improved relational health within our movement, the executive council also considered the following points of discussion: our dedication to pastoral wholeness and nurture; our approach to generating, training and sustaining leaders; our combined quest to touch every part of our world; our hope to provide structures that effectively serve; and, our stewardship of our God-given resources as a family.
The intentional thrust of the Executive Council Summit was to find out how we as a movement can sharpen and shape our direction for the future through the informed counsel of the varied leaders who serve on the executive council. A renewed commitment to authorized affirmation was a key component of this year’s summit: seeking a broad consensus, begotten in an atmosphere of belief and trust. Pastor Jack assured members of the council that the input they offered during the summit will be heeded and applied as fully and as practically as possible and with equal earnestness.
To facilitate the various presentations and interactive sessions of the summit, participants were asked to form 45 focus-point clusters and spend considerable time each day discussing key matters affecting the future development of The Foursquare Church. From these small clusters, nine larger summary groups were formed, facilitated by members of the executive team, to distill the findings of the smaller groups into questions and recommendations for consideration by church leaders and the board of directors in the months ahead.
Pastor Jack quoted from Philippians 2 and directed the thoughts of leaders to consider this statement: “Our future will either be the result of mentoring and discipling unto a relational and incarnational dynamic, or we will default to a culture of mere policies and processes, becoming merely political and institutionally static.
“While we have a long history as an organization, we only have a short history of governing ourselves by the processes of a fully-enfranchised body of leaders,” Pastor Jack continued. “We have been blessed with a God-graced durability and fruitfulness, but are still discovering how to live in the blessing of God-given, broadly-based teamwork,” he concluded.
In summarizing the Executive Council Summit, Pastor Jack said, “I want to declare my deepest gratitude to each of the 450 leaders … our superintendents, supervisors, board and cabinet members and overseers of our multiplied other national and international ministers. These all gave four days plus travel toward our time—to help us weigh priorities, discern weaknesses, confirm strengths and study possibilities for increased effectiveness in our serving our pastors and churches for ministry.”