Foursquare is ‘Transformed by Jesus’ in Seattle
Nearly 4,000 people from 70 countries came together for Foursquare Connection 2018 in Seattle this week to celebrate being “Transformed by Jesus.”Speakers focused on the importance of letting people of all ages know about the changing power of Jesus throughout the four-day event that took place May 28-31 at the Washington State Convention center in bustling downtown Seattle.
Session speakers brought humor, wisdom and at times healing words to the more than 3,900 attendees in Seattle, including 440 kids and students. Thousands more gathered online through connectionlive.org.“Revival is happening. It’s in the air, and the breath of God is upon us.”
—Leslie Keegel, chair of the Foursquare Global Council and national leader of Foursquare Sri Lanka
Four seven-minute messages answered the question: “What is one way the church must transform in order to transform others?” Young leaders stepped up to share brief yet challenging words on giving people confidence in their identity in Christ, forgiveness, saying yes and welcoming non-traditional church members.
Leslie Keegel began his Tuesday evening talk by declaring that “miracles will happen tonight.” He offered a brief prophetic word, noting that the Lord has raised up the U.S. Foursquare Church to be a refuge of encouragement for our ministers in other countries. He then taught a message he called “Transform to Be Transformed,” declaring: “God is calling The Foursquare Church to intimacy as never before, to say more of Your love, more of Your power, more of Your presence.”
He encouraged the convention body saying: “Revival is happening. It’s in the air, and the breath of God is upon us.” Chris Manginelli and Ben Dixon then led a time of ministry and prayer, specifically asking for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.Ministry
The message of forgiveness organically came up several times Wednesday morning, with speakers and worship leaders alike challenging the audience to let go of bitterness, whether they were wronged by a friend, a church member or even their leadership.
Tammy Dunahoo stopped to lead everyone in a time of powerful prayer, asking the Healer to “come with Your nail-scarred hand and lift bitterness by the root, that there would be no seed of bitterness left, that there would be complete healing.” And where the hurt once was, “place the joy of the Spirit, let dancing take place.”
Wednesday afternoon’s business session was met with several rounds of applause, including one for the reduction of monthly church council meetings from 12 per year to 10, and another for the strong financial reports from 2017. Foursquare Foundation transitioning into an endowment fund was met with few questions. All motions passed on Thursday morning. All business reports can be downloaded online, and the report summaries can be viewed at foursquare.org/business.Celebration
Sou and Ted Olbrich, Foursquare’s national leaders of Cambodia, were presented with the “Transformed by Jesus Award” for their work changing a nation through their ministry caring for Cambodian children. After receiving the award, Sou firmly told the audience: “Every one of you, pick up the sickle. Get ready to harvest. God said the time is now!” She prayed passionately for Ted Vail, Tammy Dunahoo and the convention body.
Ted Olbrich concluded their time onstage with another challenge: “Get over yourself and get on with the work. I command the Holy Ghost to be alive in you. Be the church! Heal the sick, cast out devils and raise the dead! Believe you can do it, and you will.”
On Tuesday afternoon, the celebration continued: Conexión Hispana was held in the main ballroom. Nearly 300 Hispanic and Latin American pastors and leaders gathered together and were led into the presence of God by Evan Craft and Iglesia Vida Abundante's (Bellevue Spanish Foursquare Church) worship team, and also received a powerful word from Dr. Joseph Castleberry, who challenged Hispanic people to be the new wave of pilgrims who are present in this nation to contribute to a new spiritual awakening in society, in politics, in families and in churches across the nation.Challenge
Wednesday night’s offering called for “Workers Wanted,” with a challenge to fill the pipeline with hundreds of new missionaries and church planters. While money and prayer are also desperately needed, The U.S. Foursquare Church, along with Foursquare Missions International, is asking for those being called to go as a church planter or missionary to respond.
Holding up a large fish, Northwest District Supervisor Dave Veach drew a comparison to fishers of men, noting that the best fishermen are catch-and-release fishermen. He added that those in our Foursquare churches aren’t for consumption, they are for “training, discipling and sending.”
“This is not an offering ploy, this is a kingdom ask,” concluded Tammy Dunahoo. Those interested in learning more can visit foursquarenext.org.
The closing service on Thursday morning was dedicated to the next generation. Angie Richey, a vice president at Life Pacific College, brought research about Gen Z, those who are currently in the “cradle to college” age group and are the largest single generation. MyStart Journal, was then presented as a helpful resource to teach kids to listen for the voice of God.
Chris White delivered the closing message. Raised by an alcoholic, abusive father, Chris’ life was changed when a Foursquare church member paid for him to go to a Foursquare camp. He brought the message of Jesus back with him, and years later saw his mother and then father also come to Jesus in that same, average-size Foursquare church.
“Real ministry happens at the local church,” Chris affirmed. He challenged ministers to renew their commitment to NextGen ministry, with hundreds standing to their feet in solidarity.
With beach balls bouncing through the audience, Marc Wymore then took the stage with several kids and students to lead the convention through a fun time of worship and music that included a song written and performed by Marc’s daughter. Kids joined Kimberly Dirmann onstage to pray for the audience, followed by a final video greeting from Glenn Burris Jr. and a special time of communion.
Some of the most meaningful moments for those at convention can happen offstage, with impromptu times of prayer happening in the halls, words of wisdom or prophecy being spoken over a new acquaintance, or even a much-needed hug from longtime friends.
Afternoon activities were so abundant attendees couldn’t join all of the workshops, Affinity Network Workshops and Multiethnic Connections that were offered. In addition, Foursquare Disaster Relief's Project Nourish Meal-Packing Event pumped out the jams as attendees from around the world laughed, danced and had fun while giving two hours of their time to pack 105,000 meals for families facing the starvation crisis in East and Central Africa.
Digital Downloads are available for $99 for those who want to catch up on all they missed in the afternoons, as well all mainstage speakers. For the first time ever, the downloads will be available by this weekend, in time for weekend services. This includes the powerful spoken word opening video, the Sou Olbrich story, all mainstage speakers, Conexión Hispana and audio recordings of most workshops.
La Cuadrangular es ‘Transformada por Jesús’ en SeattleEsta semana casi 4,000 personas de 70 países se reunieron para la Conexión Cuadrangular 2018 en Seattle para celebrar el ser “Transformados por Jesús”.
Los oradores a lo largo del evento de cuatro días que se llevó a cabo del 28 al 31 de mayo en el Washington State Convention Center ubicado en el ajetreado centro de Seattle, se enfocaron en la importancia de permitir a personas de todas las edades conocer sobre el poder transformador de Jesús.
Los oradores de las sesiones trajeron humor, sabiduría y en momentos específicos, palabras de sanidad a los más de 3,900 asistentes en Seattle, incluyendo a 440 niños y estudiantes. Miles más se reunieron en línea por medio de connectionlive.org.“El avivamiento está ocurriendo. Está en el aire, y el aliento de Dios está sobre nosotros.”
—Leslie Keegel, moderador del Concilio Global Cuadrangular y líder nacional de la Cuadrangular de Sri Lanka
Cuatro mensajes de 7 minutos respondieron a la pregunta: “¿Cuál es una forma en la cual la iglesia debe transformarse a fin de transformar a otros?” Líderes jóvenes compartieron palabras breves pero desafiantes en cuanto a darle a la gente confianza en su identidad en Cristo, el perdón, el decir sí y el recibir a miembros no tradicionales de la iglesia.
Leslie Keegel comenzó su charla del martes por la noche declarando que “milagros ocurrirán esta noche”. Ofreció una breve palabra profética, haciendo notorio que el Señor ha levantado a la Iglesia Cuadrangular Estadounidense para ser un refugio de ánimo para nuestros ministros en otros países. Después compartió un mensaje que llamó “Transformados para Transformar”, declarando: “Dios está llamando a la Iglesia Cuadrangular a una intimidad como nunca antes, para decir más de Su amor, más de Su poder, más de Su presencia”.
Él animó a los asistentes de la convención diciendo: “El avivamiento está ocurriendo. Está en el aire, y el aliento de Dios está sobre nosotros”. Chris Manginelli y Ben Dixon dirigieron entonces un tiempo de ministración y oración, pidiendo específicamente un derramamiento del Espíritu Santo.Ministración
El mensaje del perdón orgánicamente surgió varias veces el miércoles por la mañana, tanto con los oradores y líderes de adoración desafiando a la audiencia a dejar ir la amargura, sea que hayan sido agraviados por un amigo, un miembro de la iglesia o aún sus líderes.
Tammy Dunahoo hizo un alto para guiar a todos en un tiempo de oración poderosa, pidiendo al Sanador que “venga con Su mano herida por el clavo y quite la amargura de su raíz, para que no quede ninguna semilla de amargura y que haya una sanidad completa”. Y que donde estuvo la herida, “coloque el gozo del Espíritu y que haya danza”.
Se recibió la sesión de negocios del miércoles por la tarde con varias rondas de aplausos, incluyendo una por la reducción de las reuniones mensuales del concilio eclesial de 12 por año a 10, y otra por los sólidos informes financieros del 2017. La transición de la Fundación Cuadrangular a un fondo de donación fue recibida con algunas preguntas. Todas las mociones fueron aprobadas el jueves por la mañana. Todos los informes de negocios pueden ser descargados en línea, y los resúmenes de los informes pueden ser vistos en foursquare.org/business.
A Sou y Ted Olbrich, los líderes nacionales Cuadrangulares de Camboya, se les entregó el “Premio Transformados por Jesús” por su obra de cambiar una nación por medio de su ministerio atendiendo a niños camboyanos. Después de recibir la condecoración, Sou firmemente dijo a la audiencia: “Cada uno de ustedes, tome la hoz. Alístense para cosechar. ¡Dios dijo que el tiempo es ahora!” Ella oró apasionadamente por Ted Vail, Tammy Dunahoo y los asistentes a la convención.
Ted Olbrich concluyó su tiempo en la plataforma con otro reto: “Sobrepónganse a ustedes mismos y pónganse a trabajar. Ordeno al Espíritu Santo estar vivo en ustedes. ¡Sean la iglesia! Sanen a los enfermos, echen fuera demonios y levanten a los muertos! Crean que lo pueden hacer, y lo harán”.
El martes por la tarde continuó la celebración: Se tuvo la Conexión Hispana en el salón principal. Casi 300 pastores y líderes hispanos y latinoamericanos se reunieron y fueron guiados a la presencia de Dios por Evan Craft y el grupo de alabanza de la Iglesia Cuadrangular Vida Abundante (Bellevue Spanish Foursquare Church), y también recibieron una poderosa palabra del Dr. Joseph Castleberry, quien desafíó al pueblo hispano a ser la nueva ola de peregrinos que están presentes en esta nación para contribuir a un nuevo aviamiento espiritual en la sociedad, en la política, en las familias y en las iglesias en toda la nación.Reto
La ofrenda del miércoles por la noche hizo un llamado de “Se Necesitan Obreros”, con un desafío a empezar a entrenar a cientos de nuevos misioneros y plantadores de iglesias. Mientras que el dinero y la oración también se necesitan desesperadamente, la Iglesia Cuadrangular Estadunidense, junto a Misiones Cuadrangulares Internacionales, están pidiendo que aquellos que son llamados a ir como plantadores de iglesias o misioneros, respondan.
Sosteniendo un gran pez, el Supervisor del Northwest District, Dave Veach, hizo una comparación a los pescadores de hombres, observando que los mejores pescadores son pescadores que capturan y sueltan. Añadió que las personas en nuestras Iglesias Cuadrangulares no son para el consumo, están para ser “entrenadas, discipuladas y enviadas”.
“Esta no es una estrategia de ofrenda, esta es una petición del reino”, concluyó Tammy Dunahoo. Aquellos interesados en saber más, pueden visitar: foursquarenext.org.
El culto de cierre el jueves por la mañana fue dedicado a la siguiente generación. Angie Richey, una de las vicepresidentas de Life Pacific College, trajo su investigación sobre la Generación Z, aquellos que en el presente están en el grupo etario de la “cuna a la universidad” y quienes constituyen la generación más grande. MyStart Journal, que presenta la Oración del Examen, fue presentado como un recurso útil para enseñar a los niños a escuchar la voz de Dios.
Chris White dio el mensaje de cierre. Criado por un padre alcohólico y abusivo, la vida de Chris fue cambiada cuando un miembro de la iglesia Cuadrangular pagó para que él fuese a un campamento Cuadrangular. Él trajo de vuelta el mensaje de Jesús consigo, y años después vio a su madre, y luego a su padre, también venir a Jesús en la misma iglesia Cuadrangular de tamaño promedio.
“El ministerio verdadero ocurre en la iglesia local”, afirmó Chris. Desafió a los ministros a renovar su compromiso con el ministerio a la Siguiente Generación, con cientos parándose en solidaridad.
Con balones de playa rebotando por la audiencia, Marc Wymore entonces subió a la plataforma con varios niños y estudiantes para dirigir a la convención en un tiempo divertido de adoración y música que incluyó una canción escrita e interpretada por la hija de Marc. Los niños acompañaron a Kimberly Dirmann en la plataforma para orar por la audiencia, seguido por un saludo final en video de Glenn Burris Jr. y un tiempo especial de comunión.
Algunos de los momentos más significativos para aquellos en la convención pueden ocurrir detrás de bambalinas, con tiempos espontáneos de oración que se dan en los corredores, palabras de sabiduría y profecía dadas a un recién conocido, o aún un abrazo muy necesario de antiguos amigos.
Las actividades en la tarde eran tan abundantes que los asistentes no pudieron estar en todos los talleres, los talleres de Redes de Afinidades y Conexiones Multi-étnicas que se ofrecieron. Adicionalmente, el Evento de Empacar Comidas de Project Nourish de Foursquare Disaster Relief rebasó las expectativas mientras que asistentes de todo el mundo rieron, danzaron y se divirtieron dando dos horas de su tiempo para empacar 105,000 comidas para familias enfrentando una crisis de inanición en el Este y Centro de África.
Descargas Digitales están disponibles a $99 para aquellos que quieren ponerse al día con todo lo que se perdieron en las tardes, como también todos los oradores principales. Esto incluye el video de apertura con la poderosa palabra dada, la historia de Sou Olbrich, todos los oradores principales, la Conexión Hispana y las grabaciones de audio de la mayoría de los talleres.
Seattle welcomes Foursquare Connection 2018
Foursquare let it be known that they are excited about Seattle, and they are also enthusiastic for all that the Holy Spirit will do during Foursquare Connection 2018.The packed out Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle welcomed 3,200 attendees for an opening night of powerful worship with Angelus Temple’s worship team and a much-anticipated word from Nick Vujicic, founder of Life Without Limbs.
Touching on the theme “Transformed by Jesus,” President Glenn Burris Jr. welcomed the bustling audience by video from his home in Georgia. He was unable to travel to Seattle due to a medical mandate after doctors found a blood clot in his lung recently. Glenn still encouraged those in Seattle and those watching through Connection Live, saying "The move of His Spirit literally changes the landscape."
Even through some technical difficulties, the Connection Live at-home audience also readily engaged the event, with several thousand views on the first night alone. The at-home audience, which includes Foursquare's president this year, will enjoy a special pre-show before each session which includes interviews with speakers and Foursquare leaders. Powerful speakers and worship times are planned for each session, with plenty of room for prayer and intersession, and for the Holy Spirit to minister to the needs of attendees gathered from across the country and around the world. Speakers include a mix of Foursquare leaders—Leslie Keegel, Chris White, Daniel A. Brown and A.J. Swoboda—as well as longtime Foursquare friend Ed Stetzer and new friend Brenda Salter McNeil. Los Angeles-based Angelus Temple will bring the worship again tomorrow, with the Northwest’s own Parnell Brothers leading worship on Wednesday and Thursday.
Conexión Hispana will be held in the ballroom for the second year; the Spanish-language session will also be broadcast through Connection Live. Worship will be led by Evan Craft and Tony Talamantes; Dr. Joseph Castleberry will bring the keynote address.
Offstage events include 30 practical workshops, in addition to Affinity Network Workshops held on Tuesday and Wednesday; Multiethnic Connections will also be held on Tuesday.
There’s also time for some fun built into the schedule. Those looking to see beautiful Seattle on foot will join in a 3-mile Seattle Fun Run on Tuesday. Those under 35 will head down the street to connect over free food in a creative space at the Young Leaders Mixer on Wednesday.
In addition, attendees are encouraged to grab a friend and sign up with Foursquare Disaster Relief for the Project Nourish Meal-Packing Event, taking place on Wednesday. Foursquare has the chance to pack up 110,000 meals for Project Nourish, a campaign fighting famine in East and Central Africa that is affecting thousands of Foursquare families."The move of His Spirit literally changes the landscape." --Glenn Burris Jr.
Credentialed ministers and voting delegates will set aside time on Wednesday afternoon to participate in the business session, with voting scheduled for Thursday morning. Catch up on this year’s business reports and proposed bylaw amendments at foursquare.org/business.
Stay connected this week by tuning in 30 minutes before each opening session to connectionlive.org. Find live interviews during the pre-show, as well as all clips of all the session goodies you want to see again. The Foursquare Connection 2018 Event Guide is also available for download.
Purchase the Digital Downloads card for $99 to listen to all the workshops you missed, to bring main speakers back to your church staff, and to use any story videos or the powerful spoken word opening video in your church service. All downloads will be available almost immediately after convention ends.
Watch Connection Live
Foursquare reaches refugees and international students
Sharing the gospel isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition.That’s why leaders gathered for the Refugees and International Student Ministry Conference in April near Atlanta. The purpose was to gain an understanding of how to minister the love of Christ in word and deed to these two often-overlooked populations.
Organizers are hoping to raise awareness of the opportunities to welcome and reach the refugees and international students that are present in cities and communities across the U.S. This was the first of several conferences being planned.
“We hope over the course of a couple years to hold conferences in different parts of the country,” says Sue Spousta, coordinator of Foursquare Affinity Networks. Appointed to her post two years ago, Sue brings together Foursquare leaders involved in social justice issues or ministry outside of church so they can support each other and share resources.
“We’re trying to look out from the walls of our churches to the community to see needs, and to help our pastors and churches see how they can participate in those ministries,” she adds.
Sue coordinates several of the 11 Affinity Networks, including the Refugee Care Network. Sam Johnson, Foursquare area ministry to the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia, facilitates the International Student Outreach Network.
“Sam had a desire to gather those working with, or interested in, ministering to international students, and have a conference so they could find better ways to do that,” Sue explains. So, they decided on a joint conference that would focus on both refugees and international students. At the gathering, Sam, who spent years living in the Middle East and elsewhere, talked about how cultural differences can lead to misunderstandings.
Americans earn honor through position and promotion, he explained, while in other cultures honor is bestowed. Americans value direct confrontation, but that can cause one to lose face in Asian culture. Personal space for Americans is an arm’s length away, while for Latin Americans, it’s much closer. That can lead the American to see the other person as pushy, while the Latin American perceives the other as aloof.“You understand better how to help them when you know exactly what they’ve gone through.”
—Sandra Lee, pastor of intercultural relations in the Southeast District
In Western culture, Christians typically present the gospel to people struggling with guilt, which focuses on what you did wrong; Eastern culture is more concerned with shame, which says there’s something wrong with you. Understanding the person’s frame of reference is crucial. “These are skills you need if you’re going to reach out cross-culturally, or even as a church that has a multicultural staff,” Sam said.
Trey and Gretchen Abney, pastors of the host church, learned about connections they need to succeed to reach international populations. “There are different organizations that have been identified by the government to settle refugees, and you can partner with them to provide for refugees’ basic needs,” Trey says. With Atlanta being one of the fastest-growing international cities in the U.S., he sees an opportunity to shift the focus of the church “from inward to outward, from programs to missions.”
Sandra Lee, pastor of intercultural relations in the Southeast District, spoke on her work with refugees in Florida as well as reaching out to Muslims “to extend a hand of friendship.” She appreciates the links she forged at the conference, and found meaning in hearing three immigrants share their stories. “You understand better how to help them when you know exactly what they’ve gone through,” she states.
Aldin Fafulovic, who grew up a Muslim in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and now serves as a campus minister through Reliant Mission, talked about how difficult it can be for students to be strangers in a strange land. Helping them with daily tasks, and providing a hot meal and a friendly face, are all ways to reach out.
These are great ways for Christians to get out of their comfort zone, to be open to where God is leading them. And there’s a hidden blessing, shared Aldin: “When people invite other people from around the world, they get to learn and expand their understanding. So, they’re gaining more than they’re giving.”
Other conference speakers included Megan Tragethon from Refugee Care Collective, who emphasized working in collaborative relationships with other agencies working with refugees; Karen Tremper, who spoke on a biblical theology of hospitality when working with refugees; Beth Hall, who helped attendees understand the culture shock international students go through; Heather Brown, who interviewed the stories of three immigrants to the U.S.; and Rachael Jackson, who expressed the need to reach the unreached both at home and abroad.
Interested in reaching out to international students or caring for refugees? Attend an Affinity Network Workshop at Foursquare Connection 2018. Register now or update your registration at no additional cost.
Discover Foursquare Affinity Networks
Get the Refugee Care Toolkit
There’s more to discover at Connection 2018 than ever before
When the Foursquare family gathers in Seattle, May 28-31, for Foursquare Connection 2018, they will find a lot more than a main stage.
That’s because, this year, Connection has a lot more to discover than ever before. From fun new ways to connect and network with your peers to a much wider range of training and educational opportunities, Foursquare is revving up Connection to offer something for everyone.
Here’s an overview of some of the exciting things that will be happening as The Foursquare Church gathers in the Emerald City in May. No matter what your age or ministry role, you’ll find plenty of ways to enrich your personal life and ministry, and connect with others in meaningful ways.Seattle City Run
If you’re the type that needs a little exercise in the middle of convention, then this year you can skip the hotel gym and join us for a fun run around downtown Seattle. Join your friends or make new ones on a sight-seeing jog through city’s beautiful hills. The 3-mile course is designed to be challenging enough for regular runners but forgiving enough for amateurs. So be sure to add the run to your Connection 2018 registration, pack your running shoes, and get your heart rate up!
Convention this year is designed to create meaningful spaces for people to connect over the things they love. One of the best ways to do that for ministry leaders is to serve those in need. We know you have a heart for those in crisis. That’s why Foursquare Disaster Relief (FDR) is hosting a service event to pack 110,000 meals for Project Nourish, a campaign fighting famine in East and Central Africa that is affecting thousands of Foursquare families. Participants can sign up for 3-hour shifts throughout Wednesday, May 30. If you are interested in reconnecting with a friend during convention while also doing some good, consider turning one of those many coffee dates into a service date this year.
It is important to Foursquare that Connection isn’t just for the senior pastor. Every participant deserves to get the most out of the week, and that includes the whole family. In that spirit, a special Youth Event has been organized for your students on Monday evening. Featured is the incredibly inspirational speaker, Nick Vujicic, alongside musician Evan Craft leading worship. Young people will be genuinely impacted while having a blast and connecting with their Foursquare peers from around the country at an opening session designed just for them.Foursquare has worked hard to bring an expansive new experience for you, your family and your staff to discover this year at Connection
Young Leaders Mixer
Continuing a focus on facilitating partnership among peers, Connection 2018 includes an improved and expanded mixer for young leaders. Seattle is a city full of youthful, exuberant energy, after all, so what better place to inspire and connect our next generation of leaders? This year, the mixer will be off-site in a nearby artful space and will offer free food to create a powerful, creative atmosphere for our leaders to share, network and collaborate with one another. Be sure your young leaders attend Connection this year so they don’t miss out on this opportune experience.
If you’ve ever been to Foursquare Connection before, you know that workshops are nothing new. But for 2018, workshops are being elevated to a new level. With more than 30 different workshops in just over two days, you’ll be hard pressed to make it to all your favorites. These focused intensives are led by expert practitioners and span a wide variety of topics. Also included this year are Affinity Network Workshops. Affinity Networks focus on specific passions that bring people of like mind together to achieve new solutions to the issues you and your church care about, such as human trafficking, refugee care, campus ministry and many more.
Foursquare has worked hard to bring an expansive new experience for you, your family and your staff to discover this year at Connection. If you feel like you’ve seen everything there is to see at Foursquare’s annual convention, or you’re stuck in a cycle of main sessions and coffee-chat breaks, give Connection 2018 another look. You’ll find that there are more than enough opportunities to transform your week into a powerful time of training, inspiration, and personal and professional connection in Seattle. So, this year, don’t just go—get involved, get inspired and get something to bring back home.
How Foursquare Is Training Leaders Worldwide to Train Other Leaders
A global initiative that will impact Foursquare pastors and churches around the world will soon make its mark on districts throughout the United States.A three-day training in Los Angeles in October brought together 25 leaders from throughout North America. It’s the latest step in getting the word out about the newly titled Discipleship and Leadership Training (DLT) program.
“We are training people who can go back and roll out the training to local leadership,” says Lisa Penberthy, leadership education and training coordinator with Foursquare’s National Church Office.
The initiative came out of a 35-nation survey conducted by the Foursquare Global Council, notes Global Education Coordinator Gary Matsdorf. “We discovered there are four areas that we need to work on as a denominational family,” he explains. “Those are making disciples; in-service training of leaders; the baptism with the Holy Spirit; and addressing doctrinal drift.”
Based on the results, the council appointed Gary in January 2016 for a three-year assignment to address the four concerns. He initially met with a 20-member team of men and women, ages 28 to 88, representing every continent, to create DLT. Now he works with leaders from all 15 regions as the program expands its scope and influence.
DLT evolved out of the former Foursquare Missions International (FMI) In-service Leadership Training (ILT) program, reflecting updated scholarship and pastoral ministry from the 1980s, when ILT was created. For instance, nothing in the original material on leadership addressed a leader’s personal care and emotional health, Gary says.
“Previously, we concentrated more on what they did than who they were,” he explains. “We didn’t address if they were killing themselves, burning themselves out.” As a result, leaders struggled emotionally, often in isolation, and quit rather than seek help.“We were created holistically, and therefore we need to lead holistically.”
—Lisa Penberthy, NCO leadership education and training coordinator
On a separate issue, Foursquare leaders around the world asked for clarification both theologically and pastorally on the baptism with the Holy Spirit.
“Pastorally, many felt they had to trade the baptism with the Holy Spirit for seeker-friendly services,” Gary explains. “In that tradeoff, we somewhat walked away from a core practice of the baptism globally, and that’s one thing, along with some doctrinal clarification, that DLT is trying to address.”
Another aspect of the training deals with discipleship. Those surveyed felt churches often settle for making converts, not committed disciples. Converts are content knowing their faith promises them heaven, Gary says, while disciples go beyond that, to knowing, growing, serving and sharing the Lord.“We are training people who can go back and roll out the training to local leadership.”
—Lisa Penberthy, NCO leadership education and training coordinator
Global leaders estimate that no more than 20 percent of Foursquare members qualify as disciples. “The Great Commission says make disciples, not converts,” Gary asserts.
After the updated, expanded training manual was ready came the next step. In February, 30 DLT regional champions, identified by the Global Council, met in Amsterdam to become trainers of trainers. Lisa, one of the 30, is now involved in step two, hosting three-day regional DLT training sessions to prepare one or two DLT national champions per nation. Next, district leaders will be trained, then pastors, who will be mentored.
At the Los Angeles training, participants studied topics from different angles, Lisa says. One morning she presented the theology and philosophy of the baptism with the Holy Spirit, and a second speaker spoke on the practical side of it: what it looks like in the local church. At the local level, Lisa says, training will mesh with practical help.“We discovered there are four areas that we need to work on as a denominational family: making disciples; in-service training of leaders; the baptism with the Holy Spirit; and addressing doctrinal drift.”
—Gary Matsdorf, global education coordinator
“After the training, the mentor will follow up with someone who has gone through it and could invite them into a service where an opportunity would be given to observe it,” she says. Or, the pastor could watch a more seasoned pastor in action. Lisa likes that the training focuses equally on a pastor’s head, heart and hands.
“If they lack knowledge in one area they become unbalanced, like a three-legged stool,” she says. “We were created holistically, and therefore we need to lead holistically.”
That the new resource has been translated into 15 languages is crucial to success. In addition, the Bible serves as the primary support “so they’re not having to find resources to help with what they’re doing,” Lisa adds.