Dr. Alex Nuidin, the Muslim governor of Southern Sumatra, gave a wonderful speech last week at the dedication of the beautiful Palembang Foursquare church. He spoke following some amazing Indonesian Sunday school children that danced in very ornate cultural dress. Foursquare leaders from 16 nations participated in this powerful moment together with Revs. Siwi, Wakkary and Mandey. What a great picture of our multi-cultured and multi-faceted Foursquare family. This moment was a good example of the new realities of the global church in which:
- More Christians attended church in China last Sunday than in all of Europe.
- More Anglicans attended church in 3-4 African countries than in the UK, Canada and United States combined.
- More people attended one large church in Korea than in the ten largest churches in Canada combined.
- The largest local churches in England and France are predominately non-white congregations.
- Over 95% of the Foursquare members who worshipped around the world last Sunday are non-white.
In the Palembang festivities, when I was asked to share, I based my words on the great question of Joshua 4:21-24: “What will these stones mean to the next generation?” The context has of course changed, yet the question remains as relevant in 2010 as it was the day Israel crossed the Jordan River and built that memorial of 12 rocks. In Palembang we prayed and asked the Lord that every brick in their new building be dedicated to the clear response of the gospel in verse 24 and that we would:
- Know God, and consistently discover that the hand of the Lord is powerful.
- Walk in the fear of the Lord all our days, discovering the joy, freedom and prosperity of obedience to Him.
- Make Him known to all the nations on the earth, growing in our global mandate and mission; and that Indonesia would continue to send missionaries around the world, even to the United States.
As I thought of those 12 stones by the Jordan River and the bricks in Palembang, I was reminded of the cornerstone on the building at Angelus Temple in Los Angeles. May our children and we constantly rediscover the great purpose and commitment engraved on that cornerstone: “Dedicated to interdenominational and worldwide evangelism.”
It is clear from the smiles on so many different looking faces representing different nationalities in Palembang last week that the commitment of The Foursquare Church to worldwide evangelism is being fulfilled, and our mandate continues to expand.
Jonathan Hall, director of Foursquare Missions International