Nearly 4,000 people from 70 countries came together for Foursquare Connection 2018 in Seattle this week to celebrate being “Transformed by Jesus.”
Speakers focused on the importance of letting people of all ages know about the changing power of Jesus throughout the four-day event that took place May 28-31 at the Washington State Convention center in bustling downtown Seattle.
Session speakers brought humor, wisdom and at times healing words to the more than 3,900 attendees in Seattle, including 440 kids and students. Thousands more gathered online through connectionlive.org.
“Revival is happening. It’s in the air, and the breath of God is upon us.”
—Leslie Keegel, chair of the Foursquare Global Council and national leader of Foursquare Sri Lanka
Four seven-minute messages answered the question: “What is one way the church must transform in order to transform others?” Young leaders stepped up to share brief yet challenging words on giving people confidence in their identity in Christ, forgiveness, saying yes and welcoming non-traditional church members.
Leslie Keegel began his Tuesday evening talk by declaring that “miracles will happen tonight.” He offered a brief prophetic word, noting that the Lord has raised up the U.S. Foursquare Church to be a refuge of encouragement for our ministers in other countries. He then taught a message he called “Transform to Be Transformed,” declaring: “God is calling The Foursquare Church to intimacy as never before, to say more of Your love, more of Your power, more of Your presence.”
He encouraged the convention body saying: “Revival is happening. It’s in the air, and the breath of God is upon us.” Chris Manginelli and Ben Dixon then led a time of ministry and prayer, specifically asking for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
The message of forgiveness organically came up several times Wednesday morning, with speakers and worship leaders alike challenging the audience to let go of bitterness, whether they were wronged by a friend, a church member or even their leadership.
Tammy Dunahoo stopped to lead everyone in a time of powerful prayer, asking the Healer to “come with Your nail-scarred hand and lift bitterness by the root, that there would be no seed of bitterness left, that there would be complete healing.” And where the hurt once was, “place the joy of the Spirit, let dancing take place.”
Wednesday afternoon’s business session was met with several rounds of applause, including one for the reduction of monthly church council meetings from 12 per year to 10, and another for the strong financial reports from 2017. Foursquare Foundation transitioning into an endowment fund was met with few questions. All motions passed on Thursday morning. All business reports can be downloaded online, and the report summaries can be viewed at foursquare.org/business.
Sou and Ted Olbrich, Foursquare’s national leaders of Cambodia, were presented with the “Transformed by Jesus Award” for their work changing a nation through their ministry caring for Cambodian children. After receiving the award, Sou firmly told the audience: “Every one of you, pick up the sickle. Get ready to harvest. God said the time is now!” She prayed passionately for Ted Vail, Tammy Dunahoo and the convention body.
Ted Olbrich concluded their time onstage with another challenge: “Get over yourself and get on with the work. I command the Holy Ghost to be alive in you. Be the church! Heal the sick, cast out devils and raise the dead! Believe you can do it, and you will.”
On Tuesday afternoon, the celebration continued: Conexión Hispana was held in the main ballroom. Nearly 300 Hispanic and Latin American pastors and leaders gathered together and were led into the presence of God by Evan Craft and Iglesia Vida Abundante’s (Bellevue Spanish Foursquare Church) worship team, and also received a powerful word from Dr. Joseph Castleberry, who challenged Hispanic people to be the new wave of pilgrims who are present in this nation to contribute to a new spiritual awakening in society, in politics, in families and in churches across the nation.
Wednesday night’s offering called for “Workers Wanted,” with a challenge to fill the pipeline with hundreds of new missionaries and church planters. While money and prayer are also desperately needed, The U.S. Foursquare Church, along with Foursquare Missions International, is asking for those being called to go as a church planter or missionary to respond.
Holding up a large fish, Northwest District Supervisor Dave Veach drew a comparison to fishers of men, noting that the best fishermen are catch-and-release fishermen. He added that those in our Foursquare churches aren’t for consumption, they are for “training, discipling and sending.”
“This is not an offering ploy, this is a kingdom ask,” concluded Tammy Dunahoo. Those interested in learning more can visit foursquarenext.org.
The closing service on Thursday morning was dedicated to the next generation. Angie Richey, a vice president at Life Pacific College, brought research about Gen Z, those who are currently in the “cradle to college” age group and are the largest single generation. MyStart Journal, was then presented as a helpful resource to teach kids to listen for the voice of God.
Chris White delivered the closing message. Raised by an alcoholic, abusive father, Chris’ life was changed when a Foursquare church member paid for him to go to a Foursquare camp. He brought the message of Jesus back with him, and years later saw his mother and then father also come to Jesus in that same, average-size Foursquare church.
“Real ministry happens at the local church,” Chris affirmed. He challenged ministers to renew their commitment to NextGen ministry, with hundreds standing to their feet in solidarity.
With beach balls bouncing through the audience, Marc Wymore then took the stage with several kids and students to lead the convention through a fun time of worship and music that included a song written and performed by Marc’s daughter. Kids joined Kimberly Dirmann onstage to pray for the audience, followed by a final video greeting from Glenn Burris Jr. and a special time of communion.
Some of the most meaningful moments for those at convention can happen offstage, with impromptu times of prayer happening in the halls, words of wisdom or prophecy being spoken over a new acquaintance, or even a much-needed hug from longtime friends.
Afternoon activities were so abundant attendees couldn’t join all of the workshops, Affinity Network Workshops and Multiethnic Connections that were offered. In addition, Foursquare Disaster Relief’s Project Nourish Meal-Packing Event pumped out the jams as attendees from around the world laughed, danced and had fun while giving two hours of their time to pack 105,000 meals for families facing the starvation crisis in East and Central Africa.
Digital Downloads are available for $99 for those who want to catch up on all they missed in the afternoons, as well all mainstage speakers. For the first time ever, the downloads will be available by this weekend, in time for weekend services. This includes the powerful spoken word opening video, the Sou Olbrich story, all mainstage speakers, Conexión Hispana and audio recordings of most workshops.
To see more from Connection 2018, click here.