Foursquare’s leadership has appointed a full-time NextGen national coordinator who will partner with district NextGen coordinators to help sharpen churches’ focus on discipling and equipping children, teens and young adults for their ministry calling.
The new position just announced by the Foursquare board of directors is in part a response to a grassroots concern voiced by NextGen district coordinators and a NextGen subcommittee of the National Church Committee of pastors and local leaders. Their recommendation to the board was for The Foursquare Church to significantly elevate the priority of Next Gen at every level (local, district, national), giving intentional and sustained focus to reaching, discipling and mobilizing emerging generations.
“This isn’t a program or an initiative; it’s about developing a culture of discipleship beginning with our children, youth and young adults,” says Tammy Dunahoo, vice president of U.S. operations. “This is not a national leader to give vision, but a coordinator to collaborate with district and local leaders to draw out everyone’s contributions, working together to accomplish the goal.”
Marcus Ellington takes on the new role at a time when Foursquare churches are being encouraged to embrace more intentional discipleship efforts as one of four emphases of new President Randy Remington. Most recently NextGen coordinator for the Southeast District, Marcus formerly held the same position in the Southwest District. He and his wife, Starr—who will serve as the NextGen administrative coordinator—are both Air Force veterans and ordained Foursquare ministers, having pastored Lighthouse Church in San Clemente, Calif., for seven years.
In his new position, which begins on Oct. 1, Marcus will be responsible for ensuring that Foursquare’s 11 district NextGen coordinators are supported in championing young people’s discipleship and developing new ways of releasing them into service.
“This isn’t a program or an initiative; it’s about developing a culture of discipleship beginning with our children, youth and young adults.”
—Tammy Dunahoo, vice president of U.S. operations
Foursquare churches across the country are regularly ministering to around 50,000 children in their programs, and at Foursquare youth camps each year as many as 1,500 participants report God calling them into ministry in some way, Tammy reports.
“That suggests we don’t have a young leader problem, we have a strategic problem, a pipeline problem,” she explains. Her hope through the new NextGen emphasis is that “we will see thousands of Foursquare kids clearly discipled and on a pathway to leadership, however and wherever God sends them—whether that’s as a global missions worker, church planter, chaplain, business-as-mission or some other creative way of doing ministry.”
The heightened NextGen focus brings renewed attention to one of Foursquare’s historic pillars: Tammy recalls how within a few months of starting Angelus Temple in Los Angeles, Foursquare Founder Aimee Semple McPherson launched a Bible institute as “a training ground for young people.”
Having identified prayer, discipleship, health and unity as the four core values and priorities of his presidency, when Randy took on the role Sept. 1, he said that the intentional development and discipleship of every generation, including youth and children, is a “top priority for our Foursquare family in this next season.”
He adds: “We believe that God has put his hand on Marcus and Starr Ellington to serve and equip our district NextGen reps as we partner together to see every generation passionate about following Jesus, being transformed by Jesus and on mission with Jesus.”
Tammy also affirms Marcus’ appointment. “One of his strengths that has been evident in his district role is team building,” she states. “He empowers others and draws out the best in people. His winsome personality, visionary perspective and love for people causes others to want to be part of what he is doing. He puts others before himself with a ‘we’ leadership rather than ‘me.’”
Married to Starr for 14 years, with two children, Marcus says he takes on the national role with great joy and excitement. “It is apparent that the hand of the Lord is on our movement, and I anticipate the season ahead,” he says. “Many have prayed and sown over the years, and now is the time to possess God’s promises. There is much work to be done, but more than a vision or strategy, we first need to understand the heart of the Lord.
“Starr and I commit to lead by example,” he continues, “to seek the Lord daily, and be led by His Spirit. We look forward to seeing God’s miraculous work in our movement. With His leading, we will see many young people ushered into a relationship with Jesus, discipled and engaged in His purpose for their lives.”