“We will focus our mission and ministry efforts on multiplying disciples, leaders, churches and national movements. Holding to God’s passion for the lost, we will seek a movement of evangelism, mercy ministries, contextualized church planting and mobilizing indigenous believers in ministry among all peoples.” —Foursquare’s Global Distinctives
At the heart of our purpose as a Foursquare movement is the recognition that we exist for others, for those who have not yet heard the gospel (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 1:8).
Angelus Temple, the first Foursquare church building, was built on a cornerstone inscribed with the words, “Dedicated unto the cause of inter-denominational and worldwide evangelism.” This is the primary thing that we are trying to accomplish, and is reflected in our shared mission of multiplication and evangelism.
As we are continually renewed in this purpose, we stay true to our roots and experience the greatest potential for ongoing fruitfulness.
Deep Roots and Lasting Fruit
At Foursquare Connection 2016, the Foursquare family celebrated the ministry of fruitful missionaries and apostolic indigenous leaders working in countries such as Turkey, Kazakhstan and Côte d’Ivoire. For me as a Foursquare minister, this is one of my favorite things about our family; we are part of something bigger than ourselves and are privileged to participate in a number of shared global missions around the world as the Holy Spirit leads.
It is a joy to financially support, pray for and personally engage in these works, but I also need to keep my eye on the ball as a local pastor—engaging in shared mission within my own community. I’m glad that we can do both by belonging to this family.
I remember the day I signed on to our shared mission. We didn’t call it that then, but it was no less a shared mission and no less Foursquare. Thirty years ago, I was listening to Ron Mehl preach in a service, and I said to myself, “I don’t know what Foursquare is, but if that guy’s Foursquare, that’s what I want to be.” The message was simple, and it had all the basic ingredients of shared mission:
- God loves you.
- Come be a part of our family.
- We’ll build you up and send you out to be the church.
- We’ll continue to equip you as you worship with us regularly.
Opening Nations and Neighborhoods
It’s important to me that I never lose touch with the things God established in my life early on. But I realize that He always brings fresh expressions to our shared mission.
The familiar rhythms of decades past give way to a simplified weekly gathering and more hands-on forms of service today, such as adopting the school across the street, providing a community food bank, offering ESL classes and facilitating compassion clinics that provide medical and dental care. These acts of love and kindness, when breathed on by the Holy Spirit, form a bridge to the surrounding community. And they’re the first step at evangelizing and multiplying when accompanied by a bold gospel proclamation.
At the local level, we may not be opening countries directly, but we can still open neighborhoods. For instance, our church serves the most ethnically diverse city in Oregon. While actual numbers may be small for each group, Beaverton has more diverse ethnicities than anywhere else in Oregon.
We’ve undertaken a number of initiatives that ensure we disciple leaders who can share the mission within specific cultural contexts. We welcome people who are recent immigrants, along with their children, and we help them integrate into our church through language translation and language specific small groups. We also seek to empower leaders who are raised up in different cultural contexts. Without that, shared mission becomes pragmatic paternalism.
Maintaining Our Purpose
If we lose our purpose as a movement, we will end up hammering on commitment. When we are involved in purpose, commitments come easily. Our mission hasn’t changed: We multiply, and we evangelize. I can readily commit to a movement and church that prioritizes those things. Let’s all share that mission together.
The Global Distinctives, agreed on by nearly 240 leaders at the 2012 Global Summit, are six unifying principles that bind our whole Foursquare family in doctrine and culture.