Happy New Year!
It’s been said that great people talk about ideas, average people talk about themselves, and small people talk about others. Jesus Christ managed to implant a vision so audacious, so inspiring, that people would leave everything and risk everything to follow it! Those ideas about a kingdom of love, acceptance and forgiveness, tossed out around campfires, under olive trees and along lakeshores, took a small band of followers by storm. Their passion and commitment to His values would change the religious landscape and set in motion a worldwide movement! Our denomination was birthed out of those same convictions and commitments.
The Foursquare Church is awakening to a renewed and profound sense of identity and direction, much like when King Josiah discovered the book of the Law of the Lord during the repair work on the temple. He tore his clothes and gave these orders: “Go and inquire of the Lord for me and for the remnant in Israel and Judah about what is written in this book that has been found” (2 Chron. 34:21, NIV). Josiah was only eight years old when he became king, but seeking the Lord and doing what was right in the eyes of the Lord marked his leadership. Our generation has the opportunity to set the stage for the next 100 years of our existence and develop a razor sharp focus toward the harvest!
During this season, I have rediscovered two extremely important books. First, the book of Acts, or, as some refer to it, “The Acts of the Apostles.” It is the master blueprint for the church. No other book is more important to understanding our core mission and how the Holy Spirit guided the early church with a clear and concise strategy to fulfill the Great Commission. That leads to the second treasure: Disciples of All Nations, which I have recently reread. This story tells about the indigenous philosophy that released an international movement called The Foursquare Church.
Based on Luke’s account of the early church, this book identifies a pattern of four stages: Initiate, Nurture, Expand and Send. Dr. John Amstutz helps us unpack the great adventure of a ragtag group of believers filled with the Holy Spirit who left an upper room in Jerusalem and began a journey that would reach across continents and invade every people group and culture. These two books form the foundation of a year-long pursuit that I’m challenging us to begin.
I’m asking four things of The Foursquare Church during this coming year as we declare this theme, “Accelerate—The Whole Gospel to the Whole World”:
- READ the book Disciples of All Nations by Foursquare pastor and missionary John Amstutz, and complete the study guide by Gary Matsdorf. We are supplying all of our senior pastors with a complimentary copy. Additional copies can be obtained through Foursquare Media. Like Josiah, we have been mightily moved in the timely rediscovery of this treasure. Read it again and again until its truths saturate your thinking. This book gives an overview of the Lord’s strategy for the Great Commission. The four stages described in the book reflect the maturing process of any healthy, reproducing church. It will revolutionize your missiology. We are making it a part of our orientation for every new Foursquare minister. Our board, central office staff, district personnel and cabinet will study the book this year, and it could also serve as a mentoring book for couples and for a church staff.
- READ through the book of Acts each month. Let the words of the Lord saturate your heart, mind and soul as you dedicate each day of the month by reading the corresponding chapter in Acts. For example, on the first day of the month, read chapter one, and so on. This riveting story of the early church will inspire us, instruct us and convict us. I’m convinced it will alter how we view the church and how we re-engage in its primary mission. My prayer is that the book of Acts will reinvigorate the timeless values of the church, as well.
- LISTEN to the teaching by Daniel Brown on the book of Acts. We have included an MP3 for each senior pastor, but it is also available online for free to all our ministers. This incredible overview of the early church will serve as a travel guide for our great adventure. You will see the book of Acts from a fresh perspective. Let this teaching invigorate your love for, and contending for, the miraculous. Let it challenge you to model the courage of the early church leaders. I hope you experience anew the passion and commitment of Christ’s followers. I pray that the Holy Spirit fills you again and again with power and love from the Father. And I contend with you for a new season of advancing His kingdom and for breakthrough unto fruitfulness!
- FAST AND PRAY during the coming year with regularity. I’d like to call for a 21-day fast, beginning Feb. 1. However the Lord leads you to fast will serve our purposes. You may choose to fast a meal each day or just certain foods. The important thing is that we recognize together the important spiritual dynamic of fasting and prayer. Pray regularly for our Foursquare districts by name; pray specifically for continents and nations; pray for those in national, state, city and church authority; and pray for our nation and for our world. James 5:16 declares, in part, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (NIV).
I’m convinced the Lord is giving us some keys for a fruitful future, and I’m excited about being able to share them with you. They will be shared in multiple leadership forums as the year unfolds, including our gathering in Columbus, Ohio, May 30-June 2, 2011.
I pray that you will enthusiastically join us for this amazing journey! Multiplied blessings upon you personally and upon your ministry during 2011 and beyond!
By: Glenn Burris Jr., president of The Foursquare Church