More than 3,500 Foursquare pastors, leaders and church members from across the nation and around the world gathered at 6:30 p.m. on May 29, 2006, at the Hilton Washington Hotel & Towers for the opening service of the denomination’s annual convention. The conference, which is being held from May 29-June 1, was launched under the theme, “Your Kingdom Come–in Word and in Power.”
“(God’s) kingdom is the only one that can touch, save and establish those we reach out to in this hour, and the only one that can truly and transformingly alter the affairs of our world,” Foursquare President Jack W. Hayford had announced in an earlier communiqué promoting the gathering. “We are coming to Washington to pray together… coming to open the Word together… coming to deepen our sense of mission to ‘make disciples’ who will both ‘do and teach all things (Jesus has commanded us)” (see Matt. 28:20).”
The evening service began with a greeting by Pastor Jack Hayford, founding pastor of The Church On The Way in Van Nuys, Calif., founder and chancellor of The King’s College and Seminary, and president of The Foursquare Church. Dr. Hayford made some opening remarks and led the delegates in a worshipful hymn.
Following this was a patriotic procession to the convention platform in style reminiscent of our nation’s founding days, as the delegates stood in honor of what the march represented. Well-known singer and recording artist Sue Dodge sang the national anthem, followed by the congregation’s recitation of the pledge of allegiance led by Foursquare Chaplain Colonel Dan Miller. The evening’s special choral group then sang several other patriotic numbers.
New Song Christian Worship Team from Nashville, Tenn., led the congregation in an energetic, passionate as well as reflective time of praise and worship. Singer Tara Goodman sang a powerful number following an introduction by General Supervisor Glenn Burris Jr.
At one point in the service, the stage darkened. Then, under a single spotlight, trumpeter Fletch Wiley performed “Taps,” which was followed by an emotionally moving video presentation set to music honoring those who have given their lives defending our nation as well as those who have faithfully served the cause of Christ and the furtherance of His kingdom. A video in memoriam of faithful Foursquare ministers who died in 2005 following years of service to The Foursquare Church was also presented. Recording artist Steve Amerson sang.
Dr. Lloyd Ogilvie, well-known Christian leader, president of Dunamis Ministries and former Chaplain of the U.S. Senate, was introduced and led the crowd in a heartfelt prayer that included intercession for U.S. soldiers serving abroad for the cause of liberty. Steve Amerson then returned to the platform and sang a special number exalting Jesus Christ–the only One who can truly set captives free.
Foursquare President Jack Hayford gave the keynote address at the convention’s opening service, speaking from Joshua 1 on the subject, “How God Emerges a New Generation.”
“I want to cheer you on and do everything possible to assist in steadying your focus,” he told the crowd. “In the race, we’re always called to keep looking unto Jesus.”
Noting the timeless pattern in Joshua 1, where it is recorded that Moses had died and the baton of leadership was being passed to Joshua, Dr. Hayford made five general points regarding how God “emerges” a new generation:
1. God emerges a new generation by saying, “Be freed from your past, but learn from Mine.”
2. God emerges a new generation by saying, “Arise to the moment, but walk with understanding.”
3. God emerges a new generation by promising His presence: “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you.”
“The Lord will be with those of an emerging generation that recognize there are some things that never change but God always has new things–new miracle evidences to work through each of us,” Pastor Jack told the crowd. “Joshua would see, not a burning bush, but fire falling down out of the sky and destroying his enemies in one battle. It was a miracle of fire but a different miracle.”
He continued: “Moses would open the sea; Joshua would see a river banked up (against the shore) for a miracle passage. Moses experienced the darkness in Egypt; Joshua would see a miracle of the sun standing still. God is saying, ‘As I have gone with others in the past, I will be with you.”‘
4. God says, “The way you get there is by trusting My Word.” “Not simply believing in it but heeding it and transmitting it,” Hayford noted.
5. God says, “Keep focused on my goals… I’m all about loving people.”
The evening service concluded with a time of prayer and worship.