Dear Foursquare Credentialed Minister:
In the three months since our convention in San Francisco, the season of transition to my official beginning in service to you as our church-family’s president has been demanding. Among the greatest demands has been waiting to write you.
Several times I set a time to write, then chose to wait. My reasons for delay were not imposed by anything other than my taking time to learn, to look more closely, discuss more thoroughly, and think more carefully about four questions:
Where have we been in our movement?
Where do we need to go as a whole body?
What leadership approach can help us get there together?
How can I partner with you and other leaders to answer this hour?
This first letter to you, as one of our credentialed Foursquare leaders, is not a mere “greeting.” Suffice it to say that I do extend my prayers and brotherly care toward you. I am very mindful that Jesus’ call on your life is precious and filled with significance in His specific purpose for you. Accordingly, I want you to know how sincerely I believe in your significance to us as a denominational family. My view of people and, most certainly, of each individual leader in our movement, is that those who shepherd people are given a stewardship under God.
Thus, I write with profound respect for you–writing with a shepherd’s heart for each one receiving this letter. As such, I feel a sense of accountability to the Father to communicate clearly and openly and to ask humbly for your help as I relate my hope and heart for my new task. I come to it with a desperate dependence on Him and a commitment to forthrightness with you. So this is a longer letter and one of substance; not just a, “Hello from the new president,” nor a politically platitudinous, “As I begin in this office, da-dum, da-dum, etc.” Rather, I am writing with candor, transparency, and passion, trusting that, by God’s grace, this letter may bring encouragement and expectancy.
I write with the conviction that we have been jointly brought to “a moment,” to a time for decisive action exercised in a new bond of partnership. My years of pastoral leadership have taught me the power and value of “team.” My style is one of enfranchisement of those with whom I work; of honoring their gifts, insights, and vision. Under Jesus’ grace, I’ve learned to watch the Holy Spirit mold people who have been treated that way into a force for Kingdom purposes and the glory of God.
I’ve also learned over the years that those who have only been exposed to me sporadically via media or occasional public events rather than as a day-to-day pastor, tend to draw conclusions that my prophetic demeanor is directive and not collegial. But my convictions are that true authority in leading is drawn from a biblical submission to others whose gifts and wisdom are sought and whose trust is gained as they find that they are valued and that you are committed to serve them.
It is a happy thing to already see the trust such a partnership can bring; it is becoming manifest in my times with our board–a dedicated group of pastors and leaders that served us through the very difficult months now behind us. We are teaming to secure a spirit of transparency and relationship among our executive team and the Los Angeles office staff; to relate in ways that maintain spiritual priorities as foremost, and thus serve all practical and procedural duties with Godly effectiveness. Of added special significance to me is the response our supervisors are giving as they recognize two things:
(a) my commitment to move beside them supportively as we move forward
(b) my partnership with them focused solely on serving your ministry
It is my conviction that our Los Angeles offices exist only to benefit our churches and our pastors; that all structures exist only to serve you–our leaders; and that our task is only to give servant leadership in an atmosphere of New Testament vitality and spiritually discerning care that will resource and advance your mission and our Foursquare call as a people.
I hope this focus on you–on our pastors, leaders, people and churches–registers with clarity to you. It is important to me that I communicate my “heart” to you, to lead like a “shepherd” with that very pastor-servant heart I trust you also live to model and have grown to manifest. I pray for, and want to lead in a way, that multiplies that leader-lifestyle, seeing it revealed through all our ranks, beginning in our offices here and reaching to the farthest corner of our family’s ministry sites.
But “where we have been” has not seemed to be characterized in this way. Why? It is not because sincere intentions have been absent or that we have lacked good people. But, notwithstanding all the good will that has been present through the years, something, somehow has eluded us as a collective people. I risk appearing judgmental or self-righteously critical in observing as much, but this is by no means my observation alone. The fact is that a growing sense of distance between our Los Angeles offices and our people has beset us, and events of our recent past have not helped. As a fellowship it would be unrealistic, if not dishonest with ourselves, to step toward the future without acknowledging a past that has held trauma. It is unto our release from residual pain-replicating bonds that we, with humility before God, need to present ourselves as candidates for His gracious deliverance that holds Body-wide healing, spiritual wholeness, and relational trust. So hear me, please: I invite you to believe that we are today at “a moment“–at a God-given moment of great grace and favor–offering new dimensions of health, growth, and dynamic unity.
There are strong reasons to believe this. First, we have been brought to a place to acknowledge our collective need; to set ourselves with repentant hearts to love and to pray for one another as an embracing family. Second, several very significant events have taken place that set the stage for a new era of God’s grace among us:
Convention 2004 was a milestone in many ways. Foremost was its emphasis on fundamentals of spiritual wisdom, obedience and power: Ron Pinkston’s evening plenary session on forgiveness, Roger Whitlow’s on spiritual warfare, Ralph Moore’s on renewed passion. All were a kind of “rebuilding of the ancient landmarks,” renewing those “must-be-observed” Kingdom boundaries for all God’s people who truly seek a future in His holy and sovereign purposes. Then, other significant actions aligned with Kingdom principles that were taken.
With brotherly love and regard, I want to express all our thanks to Paul Risser, whose openhearted acknowledgment of his failure opened a doorway for appropriate, biblical forgiveness. Such forgiveness always brings release, and I sense a path of new possibilities before us because of this. I am also moved with gratitude for Rolf McPherson. Though personally wounded by some events of recent years, in San Francisco he openhandedly and openheartedly spoke words of additional spiritual release, which I believe, in God’s order, are pivotal to setting a truly liberated course for our family’s future. Further, let me invite you to share in the hope-filled prospect of reconciliation as steps are being taken to restore John and Doris Holland to fellowship in our midst. Thousands who were present recall the strong, favorable acknowledgment of the convention body when I suggested this in my installation message at convention. The failure involving John’s resignation seven years ago was attended by a near-terminal illness (now fully healed). As the accompanying announcement notes, with the board’s support, I have met with them, and they are deeply moved at the prospect of being reunited with us.
These things afford great hope for our future. The future’s foundations are only as firm as our will to honor the principles of Godly leadership and to walk the pathway where spiritual dynamics are applied. Forgiveness, release and reconciliation are among these, and like all God-given keys to effective life and leadership, they cost. The price is graciousness, humility and a contrite heart. This is my proposed answer to the questions two and three at the head of my letter, and I want to assure you: I will be the first to come before God with contrition for where we have failed, overlooked, misjudged, or walked in blindness and stumbled. But He, in His great mercy, is bringing us to a new day of united hope.
So, summarizing, I’ve noted three of the four issues outlined at the start; where I perceive us to “have been in our movement,” “where we need to go,” and my perception of “what leadership approach can help us.” So finally, let me address, “How we can partner to answer this hour.”
Globally, “This Hour” defies description, both in regard to its devastating need as well as its overwhelming opportunity. What a moment awaits us–wide open for breakthrough as we embrace God’s promise that He will visit those who seek His face and turn from their self-evolved ways.
I believe you sense the moment, too! You and I are joint heirs in that order of life to which the Holy Spirit gives breath and enablement! That’s why I’m asking you to join me in three ways:
First, would you join me in seeking Jesus’ face with a new hunger for His love and presence among us? The last week of October, all the principal groups of our leadership will be meeting on successive days. These days afford a much-anticipated time for our supervisors, the cabinet, the international board, and the foundation board to interface in the spirit of my words written here. As we do, we earnestly seek your intercession that God will grace us with a new dimension of anointing, that blessing without which no group dare proceed.
Second, begin now to plan to attend Convention 2005 in Chicago at the end of May. Situated so strategically in the center of our nation, this third-largest city in America illustrates both this hour’s heartache of need and heart-cry for God’s visitation. At that convention it will be my privilege to have other leaders report to you on the results of this coming January’s national leadership summit–the gathering of our supervisors and other leaders I promised to assemble as soon as possible following my entry to office.
Third, I want to introduce you to my personal, presidential web site. It is at this location that I hope to communicate with you every two weeks in the way I have communicated here. This site also provides a means for you to respond with your thoughts. Of course, The Foursquare Church is CHRIST’S as is His global Body! But He has also entrusted its oversight and care to us–to you and me. And it is based on that conviction that I want to enter into an interactive relationship with the amazing wealth of gifts and leader skills and insights, burdens, and vision that abound among us. So, as you feel inclined, please offer feedback you believe will be helpful.
Shortly after my presidential assignment was announced, I was asked by a national Christian journal for an interview. One question was, “What do you hope to see brought about in the Foursquare Church?”
My spontaneous answer may not have covered everything, but it does describe something of my feelings then and now, so let me leave you with this. I responded: “I want to see,
(a) a greater enfranchisement of our national and district leadership;
(b) the pursuit of a refreshing for our shepherds and their flocks;
(c) our passion renewed for Jesus and our life in His Holy Spirit fullness; and,
(d) a recommitment to declare all the promise and power in the Word of God.”
I hope you can agree with a strong “Amen!”
Blessings and gratitude,
Pastor Jack Hayford