Declaring and defining our identity as a fellowship of churches under Christ.
President Jack Hayford noted, “So many feel a fresh call to reaffirm the spiritual mission of our movement. In interaction with leaders from across the country, I found a ready agreement that, however unintentional, the gradual move from using our ‘name’ to using ‘initials’ was symptomatic of a drift from our calling as a church (a people) to our structures as an institution (a corporation). In discussion and interaction with Foursquare leaders in various settings, including October’s gathering in Long Beach of all our supervisors, a gathering in Palm Springs of more than 700 pastoral leaders from six districts, and strategic leadership gatherings in Los Angeles, I found agreement on the desirability of a ‘restatement’ of how we present ourselves as a movement. Our new letterhead is but a symbolic beginning.
“It is important, I believe, to recognize that this step is not simply playing at ‘word games.’ Rather, we are confirming our belief that there is a spiritual significance in a name. We are affirming afresh our sense of the import of the spiritual principle that says there is significance in ‘how we speak’ and ‘who we say we are.’ Needless to say, we do not want to seem either superstitious or legalistic. We do understand how the letters “ICFG” may appropriately be used in certain documents. But we want to avoid an unwitting evolution in our speech and documents–a gradual and apparent trend toward the practice of the secular corporation (IBM, TRW, AT&T).
“There is a prophetic model inherent in church names. Every movement is born with a spiritual sense of call and mission, and its name usually reflects that. Thus, as well, the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel was and is named as it is for both prophetic and historical reasons.
- ‘International’ indicates the ‘worldwide’ dimension of our mission just as ‘Foursquare Gospel’ indicates the biblical depth and ‘interdenominational’ breadth of our message. It is to be remembered that our movement was named to permit the inclusion of any who would join us in proclaiming the same message.
- ‘Foursquare,’ the classic term derived from both Scripture’s and society’s use of the word, declares (1) our ‘forthright, trustworthy and balanced’ position, founded on God’s Word; and describes (2) our equally balanced emphasis on the full ‘Gospel’ inherent in Jesus’ Person, as Savior, Healer, Baptizer, Coming King.
“Our church, as a distinct entity among the global family of God’s people, is named with as much meaning and purpose as that with which people were named in the Bible and with which children are named by thoughtful parents today. While we are not foolish in supposing a new letterhead can produce spiritual renewal, its restatement (planned to appear on other documents as well) represents a quickened awareness that we are a movement, not an institution; foremost a church, not merely a corporation.”