The initial use of the word “tribe” in the Bible is found in Exodus 31:2, and refers to the tribe of Judah, one of the 12 tribes of Israel. The nation of Israel descended from Jacob, the grandson of Abraham. Jacob’s name was changed to Israel, and his 12 sons became the tribal leaders of the nation called Israel.
The 12 each had unique characteristics, and their individual journeys were different, but they were all of the same tribe or family. So it is with the “Foursquare tribe.” Some of us were born into it because our parents were members. Others of us were adopted into the tribe. Whatever the entry point, we found ourselves working together to accomplish God’s unique assignment to us.
This Foursquare tribe of people that had its beginning more than 80 years ago now stretches around the world and has gathering places in more than 145 countries. We speak different languages and live our faith out in different cultures, but we carry a deep conviction that Jesus is Savior, Healer, Baptizer with the Holy Spirit, and Soon-coming King. Though we have a declaration of faith, credentials and bylaws that frame our denomination, we are actually bound together through our common mission:
- To reach the lost.
- To train devoted followers of Christ.
- To send laborers into the harvest to evangelize, plant churches and establish global outposts.
We have become distracted at times and lost focus; however, we have the will and the courage to make important course corrections when needed.
How do we go about leading such a diverse “tribe” and synergizing our efforts to achieve maximum effectiveness? In the book Who’s Got Your Back? Keith Ferrazzi encourages readers to disregard the myth of the lone professional “superman” and the rest of our culture’s go-it-alone mentality. We need one another. Ferrazzi lists four mindsets that we must have in order to establish a “we” instead of an “us versus them” culture:
- Generosity: Victor Frankl, the late Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist, survived three years in various Nazi concentration camps; he refused to let himself become a victim, committing to perform small, random acts of generosity and kindness.
- Vulnerability: Being vulnerable actually takes courage; it’s admitting that you need God and you need others to achieve your destiny.
- Candor: This is the ability to engage in healthy, caring, purposeful conversation as opposed to gossip and turf wars; truth liberates.
- Accountability: Sustaining change means allowing what we do to be closely scrutinized—the ultimate in building trust!
We are family, and we need one another. We may have our differences, but we are committed to our mutual success and to achieving our common assignment—enlarging God’s family.
The apostle Paul referred to that “family” in his letter to the Ephesians (see cp. 3:14-15). Paul prayed that all of God’s family would be strengthened through the power of the Holy Spirit, firmly established in love. This amazing miracle of grace that brought such diverse cultures together for a God-ordained purpose is the story of the gospel.
Despite all of our differences, failures and passions, we are all part of God’s household, members of His family (see Ephesians 2:19). We belong to His tribe, His clan, His family!
By: Glenn Burris Jr., interim president of The Foursquare Church.