Family. When you think of that word, what comes to mind? I love my family, but what influenced me the most was my extended family growing up—my church family.
I’m Korean-American and serve as the youth leader at Puget Sound Foursquare Church in Tacoma, Wash., led by Lance Powers, the senior pastor. I’ve been here close to two years, having been recruited by Northwest District Supervisor Dave Veach, originally to come and church plant; but I decided to take on the role of working with our youth department for a couple more years while I learn more about church planting and the Foursquare movement.
I came to be a part of Foursquare based on relationship. My friend James Stalker had jumped from another denomination over to Foursquare, and that’s where he met Jon McIntosh, who opened up his church doors for a church plant started with a bunch of Korean-Americans. Although Jon will deflect the credit, both he and James selflessly led a pioneering movement for Asian-Americans to Foursquare in the Pacific Northwest.
I had previously been a part of two Korean-American churches. After moving to Foursquare, I realized how much I deeply missed my extended family, and how much it was going to hurt to leave the communities I knew so well. My church family meant everything to me.
It wasn’t something someone said, or that someone did specifically, that caused me to begin to realize the beauty in our Foursquare family; it was seeing the extended family from all over the world coming together [at Connection].
This is where Foursquare Connection comes in. I had heard that Foursquare is like one big happy family, and it so happened that Connection 2018 was going to be in our backyard, Seattle. I’ve always loved conferences, so going to this was a no-brainer. Our church took great measures to make sure we were all accommodated for, and there were tons of opportunities to lean in, serve and just take part of this amazing event.
It wasn’t something someone said, or that someone did specifically, that caused me to begin to realize the beauty in our Foursquare family; it was seeing the extended family from all over the world coming together to have conversations, hang out and go over the small details in life as if they had never missed a beat. I saw genuine laughter, care, support and covering that trickled down from our Foursquare leadership all the way to the volunteers who took the time to greet at the doors, host our incredible speakers, hang out with one another and encourage people in their ministries.
I took the opportunity to seek out new friendships, build on existing ones, hang out with some of the speakers and connect with fellow Korean pastors from all across the globe. That’s the reason why I’ve decided to go to Nashville, Tenn., for Connection 2019, May 27-30.
When we got back from Seattle, I made a point to block out the dates on our staff calendar to get to Nashville. I still haven’t bought my plane ticket, and honestly I don’t even know how I’m going to budget it all out, but I know that I’m going for sure because it’s totally worth it. When I go, I’m going to be volunteering and helping to cover my ticket cost for the conference, and even if I had to pay to go, I’d still volunteer because the relationships you build and what you get to see are incredible.
It so happens that Nashville is an incredible music city, filled with detail and life, so it’s just an added bonus to be able to spend a couple of days exploring the city, as well. This year is also special because we get to vote for our next Foursquare president. You know how there’s this saying across the U.S. that voting matters? Guess what? It matters in Foursquare, too.
If I were to leave you with one piece of advice it would be this: Never take your relationships for granted because you never know where or how God will use them to lead you. I hope you’ll join me in Nashville for Connection 2019, and that we’ll be able to connect and talk about life, ministry and Jesus.