Like a dessert tray selection at the end of a gourmet meal, there was still plenty to savor for anyone with room left for more, as Foursquare Connection 2014 drew to a close on Thursday.
Following several intense days of prayer, teaching, inspiration and decision-making, the morning in Dallas had a somewhat lighter feel as attendees gathered to finish up some business and hear a few final challenges.
Those challenges included one from President Glenn Burris Jr., who shared a recent encounter he had with the notorious rock band Motley Crue, in his communion message reflecting on how Jesus, at the Last Supper, instructed His disciples to pray for their enemies.
Glenn recounted how he had the opportunity to speak briefly with one of the band members while on a flight, citing it as an example of how God wants His people to take the initiative in sharing the gospel.
“Oftentimes, we are waiting for people to come in our buildings,” Glenn said. “I think that God says we are the light and the salt, and to find ways to take it where there is still darkness.”
Earlier in the morning session, Phil Manginelli, leader of a Foursquare church planting team in Atlanta, said that the scale of the task had taken him to “a place of desperation” like he had never known before. God told him: “I want you to figure out the cost of revival, and I want you to pay it.”
The answer, Phil said, was yielding all the rights he might claim in order that some might be saved. Encouraging others to reflect on Paul’s writing on surrender in 1 Cor. 9, he said that he believes a major awakening is coming.
Phil’s personal message was one of several snapshots from ministry leaders, and an unscheduled testimony: Attendees cheered when they heard that a convention volunteer with vision and head troubles had been healed as Leslie Keegel, national leader of Foursquare Sri Lanka, brought a word of knowledge during Monday night’s extended prayer time.
QuickTalk presenter Luis Molina told how a simple prayer walk had opened doors for ministry in his community. After praying for the schools he passed in his neighborhood, the pastor of Woodburn Foursquare Church in Woodburn, Ore., began attending his son’s school basketball practices regularly and was invited by the coach to sit on the bench.
Learning that team members were becoming ineligible to play because their grades were not good enough, Luis got the coach’s permission to start a study help program. This was then extended to the football team, where Luis was subsequently also invited to speak to the teens about values each week.
“Multiplication is a very slow process,” he reflected. “But if you get out of your church and get into your community and influence people, I have come to understand, I can restore my community, even if takes one soul at a time.”
Carolyn Nichols had some words of advice on raising up young leaders. Interviewed about how she did that at Southport Christian Center (National City Foursquare Church) in National City, Calif., the senior pastor said that, at 81, “one of the main things is I don’t feel I am old. I absolutely love young people, and I need to hear from them, and I find out that they want to hear from me.”
Though her church serves an area with many military families, meaning there can be frequent turnover of membership, Carolyn said that it is important to invest in them and give them opportunities to serve. “It’s a non-issue how long they will be there. They are on loan to us, just like everyone else is.”
Attendees applauded a video report charting the history and growth of Angelus Bible Institute in Los Angeles, which now has 55 extension centers across the U.S. and overseas. Mario Barahona, who recently took over as president from Raymundo Diaz, who now serves as chancellor, explained how one of the factors in the institute’s success has been in having actual ministry leaders teaching those feeling called to ministry.
“In order for you to create pastors, you have to be a pastor,” Mario emphasized. “Pastors create pastors. Pastors birth pastors.”
Financial reports are not often known for drawing applause, but Chief Financial Officer Ron Thigpenn’s did during the business proceedings when he explained that diligent work by Foursquare Financial Solutions has seen the total of delinquent loans from Foursquare churches reduced, and net assets increased.
The business session also included the announcement of some changes to the board of directors, with three members being thanked as they ended five-year terms: Bill Chaney, senior pastor of Valley Christian Center (Fresno First Foursquare Church) in Fresno, Calif.; John Long, senior pastor of Praise Alive Worship Center (Monterey Park Foursquare Church) in Monterey Park, Calif.; and Bruce Dow.
Bill Chaney returns to the board in an appointed seat to continue serving as chairman, which he has done for the past two years, while Bruce Dow has been reappointed as a non-voting member. They are joined by new members Rebecca Best, senior pastor of Hawthorne Foursquare Church in Hawthorne, Calif., and James Ranger, senior pastor of New Life Center (Bakersfield Southwest Foursquare Church) in Bakersfield, Calif.
Tribute was paid to El Clark as he steps down after 23 years as corporate counsel for Foursquare and Life Pacific College. Also, 67 Foursquare ministers who passed away last year were memorialized in a video tribute showing their photographs and detailing where they had served.
As the gathering―attended by 3,075 people from the U.S. and 41 other countries—closed with communion, Debbie Burris expressed gratefulness for the “tenderness” of the event, and invited everyone to return to experience more at next year’s convention in Anaheim, Calif. Keep your eyes on foursquareconnection.org for details as they become available.
Those who weren’t able to catch Thursday’s closing session can watch it online through June 6, 2014.
It’s not too late—whether you attended convention in Dallas, enjoyed watching live sessions online at home, or missed out on all the happenings, you can capture everything Connection has to offer by ordering the Foursquare Connection 2014 Experience Kit at the Connection Store. You can purchase the Experience Kit With Digital Downloads or the Experience Kit With DVDs and CDs Mailed.
- Day 1 – Foursquare Connection 2014 in Dallas Begins
- Day 2 – President Ratified and Reimagine Outlined
- Day 3 – Multiplying Ministry in a Spirit of Unity
- Connection 2014 Highlights
By: Andy Butcher, a freelance writer in the Orlando, Fla., area