There are three highly significant matters I felt it important to write you about. As you have already seen, enclosed here are several pages as well as an accompanying directory. Let me outline what I’ve written here and focus our thinking together.
I am inviting you to join as we Celebrate, Initiate and Illuminate a trio of subjects. The first two are brief but essential and important as well as exciting. The third is of great interest and significance to us all as we navigate the challenging times we face amid the global economic crisis. In that regard, I want to “Illuminate”—to fully and frankly discuss this as it affects our whole Foursquare movement.
First, I am urging us all to Celebrate: Record numbers of preregistrations are coming in for “Connection” our May 25-29 convention in Anaheim. As we approach it, I want to happily affirm the beautiful things that have been done in so many of our 70 former districts in honoring and thanking those servant-leaders who gave themselves to that task over recent years. We owe a debt of gratitude to them, and I want you to know that special tribute will also be expressed to them at convention as we celebrate what God has done and is doing among us.
We are less than three weeks away from convention now, and I want to prompt another “heads up” if you have yet to discover how many distinctly new features “Connection ’09” will contain. For example, don’t miss examining the options and registering for one of the four-day “learning tracks.” Also please join me in prayer—perhaps even considering a 1-day-a-week fast—as we seek God’s meeting and moving among us as we gather. Such “hungering and thirsting” after Him holds the promise of His visiting presence!
Second, is a colorful “statement” as we Initiate: Our new 14-district structure is officially in place as of May 1, and a directory for your own district is here to assist our transition. As you step into the immediate months ahead, the directory will provide you with office address, personnel info and other basics. I want to commend our Communications team who designed original and distinct directories for each district! They also prepared the enclosed foldout that depicts all the covers of each of the 14 directories, providing a one-glance spread to help us gain familiarity with our total national Foursquare family, and each district’s name and boundaries.
Third, I want to ILLUMINATE, to provide the first of two financial summaries. I use the word “illuminate” because I want to emphasize that everything of our service to you, your congregation and our entire movement is done “in the Light.” This lifestyle has always characterized my leadership mindset, founded on a covenant I have kept without deviation. Presently, I am thankful that in partnership with each and all of the governing groups of our Foursquare structures—the board of directors, the Foursquare cabinet members and the district supervisors—these principles are faithfully followed. All matters of governance and finance are openly discussed, regularly reported and responsibly assessed by representatives from your area. All of these representatives, if they choose to be, are kept abreast of matters that their respective dimensions of responsibility and governance require. Also, those serving in your behalf have an equal voice in and equal access to all matters. Thus, full disclosure of our operations is maintained, and, as this season prompts special concerns for all of us, the same policy is being verified with you. That policy is that we feel accountable to you as well, and that every licensed Foursquare leader deserves to be fully respected. All will be as adequately informed as they choose to avail themselves of the information that is available.
While all leaders have been able to inquire about our finances anytime, most are busy and are usually not interested when times are “normal.” However, nothing could be less normal than the worldwide economic upheaval impacting us all. This global shakeup affects every stratum of human experience, has produced uncertainties everywhere around, and brings unrest and fear to many. You deal with this pastorally and personally, just as we do at your central offices. It requires each of us to both administer and minister. We administer by providing explanations and giving answers on the impact the economy has made on our church (local or national). But we also minister by drawing those we lead to faith where fear seeks to dismay, and by uniting hearts together to confidently stand in the peace and comfort the Holy Spirit alone can give.
Thus, pastorally as your servants, those in our offices have labored together to clearly explain administrative issues (just as you do in your church to administer), and to also minister—the faith as well as facts. To do this we are preparing a two-part financial summary; the first (Download PDF, 104 KB) is to answer “frequently asked questions,” and the second to provide more technical detail. (Note please: The second is being prepared in a way to assure that all can grasp even if they are not familiar with the formats, terms or procedures used by trained accountants.)
This personal letter you are reading is the first, and it has been mailed first class to ensure you should receive it during the first week of May. The second communiqué will be posted on our website at Foursquare.org, but will also be e-mailed personally to every credentialed Foursquare minister by May 18.
The reason for the timing and the spacing of these communiqués is simply this. Since our board and cabinet meetings in early March, it has taken these past seven weeks to, with practicality and sensitivity, study all the facets of our broad ministries—beginning with the demands for staff reductions, the necessary budgetary cuts (just as many of our churches have had to do). This has advanced a process that had already begun, seeking to assess and adjust the immediate and long-term administration of all the arenas of service your central offices are assigned. Of course, all this takes time since managing a $30 million annual budget, serving nearly 1,900 churches, 8,000 credentialed ministers, and reaching to 144 countries cannot be “simply undone”—either rapidly or superficially. However, I assure you that we are blessed with a remarkable team, and these communications I present are the result of their work. In submitting the facts that answer questions in this letter, and with the May 18 communiqué providing details still being ironed out as we frame our 2010 budget, I want to honor their diligence to task and the professional integrity as they serve us all.
One more thing…
Please, allow me to provide a spiritual frame of reference for the pragmatic realities that we face in this present world’s financial cataclysm. I offer this pastorally and prophetically, and trust it may help many who read it—whether it refocuses thoughts, refreshes souls, rekindles human spirits or renews an individual leader’s hope.
I have long since learned that spiritual peace of mind can only find a settled place in the spirits of people who are also honestly provided with realistic facts. God never calls us to “blind” faith—but to “informed” faith. He doesn’t hide us from trials or challenges, but He steps into the shadows they cast and lights the way with the promises of His presence, power and provision! Through decades of pastoral leadership—most of them serving a church with a multimillion dollar annual budget, at times with single months receiving over a million dollars—I not only maintained accountable integrity by working with a team with the same values and gifting that works with me in this office now, but we navigated hard times there, too. When such times came, with waves that rocked our boats then just as today’s financial tides and times do, the challenge was to be both realistic and pragmatic.
Together, as we face this current difficulty, let us remember to lead in ways that anchor souls with solid trust in God as we help them lift their eyes above the present horizon. This can never be achieved if a leader plays a “game of pretend” or only expresses verbal bravado about “God seeing us through.” We must apply strict financial disciplines at the same time that we keep a tender heart and gentle spirit toward those we lead, seeking to minister to their need and questions amid the trial.
In that regard, I want to offer a resource that may be a personal encouragement—one that is yours to use in any setting you find useful. It is a recording of a spontaneous response I gave when I was invited to speak at the conclusion of the Foursquare Cabinet meeting (March 3) following the presentation of our movement’s present financial report. It also followed the healthy, transparent interaction that involved many questions by the scores of leaders there who were representing you and all pastors from every area of our nation. With the facts of our “moment” on the table and financial realities before us, someone asked: “What is the Lord saying in the midst of all this?” At that point, I was specifically asked to speak to the group from a spiritual and prophetic viewpoint. My response can be heard by clicking here. What I shared was received well, and I believe it was received in faith because it was linked to the realism and integrity of the report given and the interaction shared “in the light” by leaders seeking to walk together with the honesty that glorifies God by living in His ways. Realism and mutual trust opened the door—the Holy Spirit stepped through it. May your spirit be encouraged in the face of challenges you have in this hour of financial strain, either as a personal trial or as you lead where you serve.
Thank you for your partnership in the gospel and your supporting prayer and trust as a member of the leadership team serving the U.S. Foursquare Church. I am greatly humbled by the privilege and responsibility given to me to serve you, our pastors and our churches.
May the accompanying pages help provide answers that give a clear picture of this present financial moment for us all. We want to demonstrate our will to always and ever keep you informed as we live in an atmosphere of fidelity to the Word, integrity in communication and trust in relationship.
Pastor Jack W. Hayford
Download Economy FAQ (PDF, 4 pages)