The “Task Teams Brief” will focus on Global Missions, the NCO and Frontlines Ministries–including Church Health, Church Multiplication and Urban/Multicultural Ministry. There will also be a section addressing Foursquare Values and Spiritual Warfare.
Our Foursquare culture is changing. The president and our executive team embrace this brief as interrogating our reality, inspiring our decisions, and informing our future. We are in dialogue and remain open to hear each voice that calls the Foursquare Church “family.”
Foursquare is a global church. The number one challenge pertaining to global missions is communication. There seems to be an inadvertent disconnect, a breakdown of communication between FMI and pastors. FMI and the Foursquare field share a vital relationship and are acknowledging that the time is ripe for the following:
- Discarding assumptions that we are all on the same page
- Opening a fresh, new dialogue in regard to global missions
- Revisiting structures and practices that serve us well and rearticulating/packaging them for renewed implementation
- Courageously releasing “old wineskin” practices
- Investing our relational and historical equity to rebuild missions together for global impact
The time for world-level communications is upon us. “Let’s be ‘global’ in practice and more ‘local’ in district structure to respond,” one task team offered. Global complexities and culture shifts require greater flexibility from all of us as we reach our world. This is the moment to pursue new dimensions of becoming a global movement. This is not just an FMI challenge; it is a challenge to all of us to continue with relationally based, strategically effective, and Holy Spirit infused missions work. If we exchange a “one-size fits all” approach to Missions for a “what can we do together now” approach, our best missions work is ahead.
The NCO is an area of dynamic concern. The overall perception of the NCO seems to be unrealized potential. Leaders are looking to the NCO for leadership development and providing resources. Multiplication, though promising much, has not delivered nurture, care, and connection for pastors. The changes in our district structures issued in a loss of our delivery systems for resources, events, training, and field communications. We need an effective delivery system that will gather, coalesce, and distribute the best practices and resources to our frontlines. The NCO “Frontlines Ministries” include the following:
Church health is on everybody’s mind. One word sums up the reason–trust. This pervades our Foursquare environment and invades the leadership psyche of leaders throughout our family. The “family” moniker is difficult for some to embrace because of past occurrences: dysfunctional dealings, continually changing directions, and negative leadership transitions. Yet, there is a resilient tone to our National Leadership Summit leaders.
We discovered that church health means different things to different leaders! The following include some of our findings:
- Church health includes how the central office does business.
Recurring frustrations were expressed about poor overall customer service.
- Church health includes presidential communication.
Trust, partnership, and pride are being restored, due in part to this communication.
- Church health includes varied approaches to learning.
Safe environments for discovery and coaching are enhancing learning.
- Church health includes overall communication.
We must not use new initiatives to cover old wounds. Integrity counts!
- Church health includes listening to leaders.
- Valuing differing opinions replaces marginalizing those with contrasting views.
The number one issue pertaining to church multiplication is expectations. As administrations change in Foursquare, the focus on ministry emphasis shifts. This is inevitable, but it leaves a vacuum, and our people become “iffy” on how to fill it. The Foursquare Church holds church multiplication/planting as a solid value. The following are church multiplication observations:
- Our learning from fruitful church planters can increase.
- Districts/churches that are most prolific in planting merit the most funding.
- We must develop multinational planters who can be effective in their cultures.
- Birthing churches can’t be mandated, just as relationships can’t be mandated.
- Continuity and clear communication are the pathway to sustained planting.
Funding emerges as a key concern for Urban/Multicultural Ministry. There is a concern that people will balk at the price tag needed to reach our cities. The dialogue to help start and strengthen urban churches is on. Listen to what is being said thus far:
- We can’t have a “parent,” but a “partner” mentality.
Existing churches can sponsor urban churches with resources and funds.
- Civil Rights issues still linger from the 50s and 60s.
Gracious understanding combined with intentional action is warranted.
- Living in the inner city issues in ministry in the inner city.
The cities are where people are and Foursquare can reach them.
- Courage is required for “shifted” congregations.
A declining ethnic group must courageously release prime time and real estate.
- Influential leaders are needed to implememt this thrust.
- We need proven apostolic leaders to spearhead reaching our cities.
“Foursquare values should be identified, written out, agreed upon, and not changed with each successive President,” states one task team. The term “foursquare” means solid, forthright, and unequivocal. Our leaders are calling for us to stand solidly together in our values! Foursquare values become the anchor points of our preaching and the stepping-stones of each generation. Some of what was said about Foursquare values follows:
- Credentials are awarded to individuals embracing Foursquare doctrine.
- Foursquare doctrine should be injected dynamically into all camps.
- We need teaching and modeling regarding the Holy Spirit’s ministry.
- Seeker-sensitivity does not include a watered down gospel message.
- The Foursquare message must be rediscovered in each generation.
Overall our leaders struggle with the lack of models. The modeling of sanity, spiritual clarity, and common tactics/practices would aid our leaders dramatically. This lack of modeling could be the most impacting void in our movement. Spiritual warfare is a Foursquare value that will have to be rediscovered by some and initially embraced by others.
One of our Task Teams raised an interesting question, “Are we in a postmodern Spirit-filled culture that has moved away from the potential controversy that can accompany demonstrations of power?” Last century Pentecostals basked in their Holy Spirit distinctiveness. The Charismatic Movement balanced excesses and issued in greater palatability. Is Foursquare in the current mainstream of the Holy Spirit’s flow? Internationally, yes! One of our missionaries pointed out, “People in Africa are under unrelenting attack–they don’t live long if they aren’t filled with the Holy Spirit.” It is difficult to imagine a North American pastor saying that. Here is what they are saying:
- Biblical patterns for contemporary demonstrations of power are needed.
- Spiritual Warfare is part of our DNA and the roots of our family.
- We want to see the power of God flow in Foursquare nationally.
- Pursuit of Spirit-filled living will continue until our practice/beliefs coincide.
- Our corporate lack of understanding spiritual warfare is a concern.
The point of this Task Teams Brief is to generate and promote dialogue within The Foursquare Church. Though we have questions and concerns, the answers are within our church and will be directed by the Holy Spirit. Paul’s words remind us, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the [Foursquare] church by Jesus Christ to all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21, NKJV, “Foursquare” added).