President-Elect Randy Remington, longtime lead pastor of Beaverton Foursquare Church in Beaverton, Ore., will succeed Glenn Burris Jr. as Foursquare president effective Sept. 1, concluding a yearlong transition partnership designed to ensure a smooth handover of the leadership baton. For our July Leading Together update, we check in on both leaders about how the transition is going, as well as what’s next for Glenn.
With COVID-19 forcing the cancellation of this year’s convention, Randy’s inauguration was celebrated online. How was the experience?
Randy: Well, outside the uniqueness of it, I’ve had some people tell me it was the best online inauguration service they’ve ever seen—and the only one (laughter). For me, I sensed a combination of a deep sense of gratitude and a holy fear—the reverence I have in regard to Jesus as the head of the church, and the weight of the stewardship of what’s being entrusted to Sandy and me. It’s just greater than we can do in and of ourselves. It’s something that needs the Holy Spirit’s help and enablement.
Glenn: I joined from Georgia and felt an affirmation of God’s divine direction, that He has put His hands on Randy and Sandy. It was like where the Lord said to Samuel, “This is the one, this is the grace and anointing.” I’m just so confident and joyful in where we’re going.
What has been the best part of the transition process for you?
Glenn: Well, you do go out on a limb at times as a leader; sometimes you sense things, you just know there’s a direction that you should go. The best part for me has been to know that God knew things we didn’t know. I don’t think either of us can imagine what would happen if we were trying to elect a president this year. God led us on a path that has continued to unfold.
Randy: For me, it didn’t feel like it was happening in a vacuum. It felt like there was really purposeful intent, and the purposeful nature of it wasn’t really about trying to control everything as much as it was being thoughtful and prayerful. It was very proactive. I think that is what has allowed us to navigate these last two rounds of the things we couldn’t have known, COVID-19 and now the needed emphasis on racial reconciliation.
“Because Glenn has been so open-handed and so willing to share resources and responsibility, and because I haven’t grasped either, it’s allowed for just a real togetherness in the process.”
—President-Elect Randy Remington
How was it working in transition together?
Glenn: Just as God chose Moses and Joshua, two very different leaders but called to do very different things, Randy and I are different, but he is such an easy leader to work with. I think we have very similar values and principles, and share a commitment to have everything we do honor Jesus, and to shepherd and give to other people. We don’t want to be in the spotlight. We want Jesus to be in the spotlight.
Randy: Because Glenn has been so open-handed and so willing to share resources and responsibility, and because I haven’t grasped either, it’s allowed for just a real togetherness in the process. COVID-19 created some physical distance. Phone calls and Zooms are great. They have their limitations, though, but I don’t feel we’ve ultimately lost out.
Was there anything hard about the transition?
Glenn: We’ve all seen transitions go really poorly. Both Randy and I determined we would not let whatever wall we came to or undefined place we came to stop us from really trusting Jesus in the process and trusting each other. The COVID-19 situation created unplanned physical distance. But, on the other hand, I think it opened the door for different communication. We weren’t together in person, but our travel was severely restricted, so we were able to focus a little bit more on some of the internal kinds of things. There was an intentionality of communication and the ability to be able to focus.
How do you feel about the future?
Randy: As I think about how much goodwill and hopefulness there is in our Foursquare family, how much love and esteem there is for Glenn, how much hopefulness and excitement there is for the future, I am excited. I think because we were not in crisis, and because Glenn’s season of leadership really was about health and posturing us for the future, people are thinking about the future. It’s about mission, it’s like, “Let’s go forward.” That’s a reflection of the leadership that preceded me.
Glenn: I think we’re in momentum, and that coming out of this, Randy is going to have the ear, the heart, the hands of the leaders. I’ve already seen that happen with supervisors, as they really have looked to him for relationship and direction. Those are thrilling things for me to see.
Randy, are there are particular areas in which you know you’re going to be stretched?
Randy: It surprised me to realize how little written communication I did at Beaverton. It was so in-person. That’s a big adjustment for me, having to think through how to write in such a way that communicates my heart and my tone, as well as the essence of what the message is. When you’re in a room with people, all your nonverbal communication comes into play, as well. Writing has not been a top way I’ve communicated, so that’s a learning curve.
Glenn, after 11 years as president and 45 years in ministry, what’s next for you and Debbie?
Glenn: Being sequestered for three months has made it easier, but still, from an emotional standpoint, I am walking away from something, and you have to be willing to say it’s going to be different. It doesn’t have to be bad different, it’s a good different. We definitely plan to get some rest, spend more time together (less time traveling), more time with the grandkids. A little writing, golf, reading, walks and giving away the things we’ve learned over this 45-year journey in ministry. We’re always available to our Foursquare family, and we believe that we’ve been strategically planted by the Lord near Atlanta. It’s going to be a great adventure.