With my service as Foursquare president coming to a close, I’ve wrestled with what to say in this last formal communication to our Foursquare family. I thought about reviewing where we’ve come from over this past decade, or even sharing my own personal view of the future, but none of those ideas seemed as important as conveying a few lessons that I have learned along the way while observing our spiritual family in motion. These are lessons that will stay with me for a long time, and I’m honored to share them with you.
Leadership is temporary
We’ve learned from some of the best leaders within our movement. They’ve modeled how to lead with a loose grip on the role or platform God has entrusted to us, to remove obstacles, build trust, foster unity, make room for the work of the Spirit and remain focused on the mission of God, which is the harvest.
They’ve taught us how to lead with the future in mind; it’s the essence of discipleship. We should always be pouring into someone else, so they’ll be equipped to lead in our absence. One day we will step back, and someone else will step forward. We need to be intentional about this; as it has been said, the greatest legacy of your life may not be what you have done, but who you have influenced and shaped.
Partnership is essential
The Jerusalem Council recognized God’s Word, favor, anointing, strategy and plans for the future. They understood that, in order for the church to fulfill its mission, they needed to align with God’s plan to engage the whole church and reach the whole world. When God made it clear they were to welcome the Gentiles, they opened the door for full kingdom partnership. The mission could never have moved forward in the ways it did without this major shift in their ministry paradigm. We are spiritually wired to be at our best when all parts of the body of Christ are working and functioning together.
Lost people matter
The church has one mission, and that’s God’s mission. The Great Commission is our call, and should inform every plan and strategy we make. God has shown Himself to be a rescuing, restorative and redemptive God. This is what the church should be known for when we measure our budgets and time. Our priority should be about making inroads into the least reached and unreached places. No one should face eternity without hearing the gospel at least once, and we represent the heart of God well when we are burdened for, praying for, and intentionally seeking the lost.
God’s power dismantles strongholds
We need the Holy Spirit and boldness to become spiritual warriors and agents of change. We need the gifts of the Spirit to serve, and the fruit of the Spirit to bear witness of our testimony. We need the power of the Spirit to confront the works of darkness because we are an army equipped for war against the principalities of evil. Our movement celebrates and contends for the miraculous, invites the healing power of Jesus and anticipates the intervention of God’s power at every juncture in our walk of life.
Ministry is demanding
There are no shortcuts, no days set to autopilot, no escaping responsibility and no guarantees. Relationships are often challenging in ministry, and expectations can grind away at your joy. Physical exhaustion is at your door. I’ve seen people destroyed by ministry when boundaries were not established, and where dreams were unfulfilled. I’ve seen disappointment when God’s timing didn’t match ours, or when decisions that others made brought frustration or pain.
As long as we look to Jesus as the head of the church, we will continue to be His vehicle, message and pathway to repentance, redemption and restoration.
When you lead without renewing your soul daily, you become very vulnerable. When you minister out of competency and not out of character and calling, you expose yourself to the deceptions of life. When you don’t have a view of the long haul or fail to heed the warnings of God and others, you violate godly limits and boundaries.
The good news is that there are many who have finished well, not without some scars, but they have crossed the finish line and have heard God say, “Well done.” That’s the goal for myself and my hope for you. Finish well and finish strong, love God and love others, guard your heart, and guard your tongue. Leave a powerful witness for others to discover the God that you know and serve, and leave your families a healthy legacy of hope earned through endurance and by overcoming all odds. Teach them patience and forgiveness. Don’t leave them a residue of bitterness that is poisoned by disappointment, brokenness and pain. Be transparent and honest, allowing them to see and experience the sustaining work of God’s grace, mercy, love and healing power.
Church is central
The one institution that the Lord built is the church. It has weathered many storms and persecutions, but by God’s grace and power, it has only gotten stronger. We must make every effort to keep this institution healthy, growing and multiplying.
It is the community for discipleship and evangelism, and it loves and serves by providing caring ministries that help feed and clothe the poor. It’s the prayer force that pushes back the darkness and helps bring clarity where there’s confusion, and peace where there’s unrest. It calls us to repentance and salvation, and prays and contends for healing. It recognizes the potential in its people, and sponsors them to lead and serve. As long as we look to Jesus as the head of the church, we will continue to be His vehicle, message and pathway to repentance, redemption and restoration.
Foursquare family, it has been an honor to serve you. I can’t think of a better way to end my last report than to leave you with the words of the great reformer Martin Luther, who penned “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”:
A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing
Our Helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe
His craft and pow’r are great, and, armed with cruel hate
On earth is not his equal