A major leadership transition for Foursquare Missions International (FMI) has been completed with the appointment of Jim Scott as FMI’s area missionary to North America. He takes over the role from Ted Vail, who succeeded him as FMI director earlier this year.
In his new position as one of 11 area missionaries responsible for overseeing and coordinating FMI efforts in different regions of the world, Jim will be working with leaders in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico to expand and extend Foursquare’s mission, and to take the gospel to the nations of the world as well as among varied ethnic groups currently under-reached across North America.
His responsibilities include championing ministry to unreached groups globally and in the region, helping coordinate national efforts with Foursquare missionaries being sent from other parts of the world, and mentoring workers and leaders.
As FMI director for six years, and previously having served as a U.S. district supervisor and pastor, Jim brings a rich mix of experience and a strong network of relationships to his new role as area missionary to North America, which incorporates the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
Jim is only the second person to hold the position, which was added to the FMI roster of area missionaries in 2001 in recognition of the increasing ethnic diversity in the U.S. and its neighbors, requiring more of a missionary approach to church planting and growth.
By way of example, Foursquare’s profile in the U.S. has changed markedly in the past 16 years, from when around one in eight churches was ethnic or multi-ethnic, to now when more than one church in four is. There has been significant growth in the number of Hispanic churches and fledgling congregations among immigrant communities.
“I would hope that The Foursquare Church would be renewed in our passion to reach all ‘unreached’ peoples of all types and for scores of reasons,” Jim said as he stepped into his new role, having served as FMI’s associate director since transitioning the leadership to Ted.
“As a part of this thinking,” Jim continued, “the historic people-movements that we are seeing today due to war, national upheavals and political, religious and culture persecutions are resulting in new immigrants to the U.S., and with that, opportunities to share the Good News. In addition, hundreds of thousands of international students are attending our colleges and universities, providing missions and ‘unreached’ opportunities in virtually every community and city.”
When non-white baby births in the U.S. exceeded white births in 2012, it was a signal of the “sweeping changes of culture” that are occurring in the region, says Ted, who now is also vice president of global operations. In the light of that trend, Jim’s wide experience uniquely fits him for the North American area missionary role. “Somebody like Jim is well suited to really help us move into the future,” Ted adds.
While applauding Foursquare’s existing North American ministry, Ted says there is room to “focus more on missions to the people we are currently not getting to—and there are millions.” With immigration bringing people from Muslim and other faith backgrounds, “we have the opportunity to reach the nations in the neighborhood.”
In addition to his new area missionary role, Jim will continue with other international and national responsibilities, including serving as a member of the U.S. Foursquare vice president and executive teams, a non-voting member of the Foursquare board, and as part of two Global Council committees. He and his wife, Melinda, with whom he will be sharing the area missionary role, will also help provide care for deployed, returning and retired missionaries.
“Ted’s integrity, leadership, life and ministry experiences, education, his sense of humor and communication skills, as well as the gifts, grace and vision that so confirms that the Holy Spirit is leading him have all contributed to the opportunities that are now before Melinda and me,” Jim affirms, adding that they have “become the stewards of the trust Ted has developed with national leadership and his expectation of kingdom partnerships that will be best realized when every nation is sending missionaries to every nation.”
Looking ahead, Jim says that he hopes to be able to build on the partnership already established with leaders in the U.S., Canada and Mexico through his former FMI directorship. That connection provides “the context for the Holy Spirit to speak to us regarding new opportunities for the expansion of the kingdom of God. We are passionate together for people to hear the Good News and respond to Jesus.”
He adds: “We all are committed to make disciples of all nations and to develop healthy, reproducing leaders who will lead and serve healthy, reproducing congregations. We desire that congregations will partner to accomplish more as a family than they are able to do so alone, which must include sending workers and missionaries within their nations and around the world.”