Foursquare Churches Offer Help Amid Raging California Wildfires
Through the thick smoke that has blanketed large parts of Northern California, Foursquare churches have seen and responded to an opportunity to bring God’s peace to communities in the eye of the fiercest firestorms in the state’s history.Opening their homes to evacuees, providing supplies to those forced to flee with literally just the shirts on their backs, and offering comfort to others who have lost everything, Foursquare pastors and members have been heroic since the fires began to burn out of control last week.
At least a dozen Foursquare families—with more possibly to be added to the list as a full assessment of the damage becomes possible—are among the several thousand whose homes have been destroyed by the flames, which have left at least 40 dead and several hundred still missing. One church member was hospitalized after a fall while inspecting one of their rental properties.
Retired firefighter Kelly Slater ignored a voluntary evacuation notice as the fire burned within a mile of The Lighthouse (Santa Rosa Foursquare Church) in Santa Rosa, which he pastors with his wife, Mary. Instead, he stayed to water down the buildings on campus so they were protected and ready to be used to help others.
The fires have been on a scale bigger than anything he has experienced in his 28-year career, he says. “I can’t get my mind around how big and vast the devastation is,” states Kelly, noting how one residential neighborhood that had been reduced to rubble “looked just like a prairie.”
Coordinating with Foursquare Disaster Relief (FDR), which has been helping the Central Pacific District respond to the disaster, The Lighthouse has become a distribution center—and even a temporary home for some. The church’s worship pastor, Alvereti Yaya, and his family have been staying there since becoming one of three in the congregation to lose their homes.“When their own houses are threatened and they are evacuated, they are not worrying about themselves, they are looking out for other people.”
—Central Pacific District Supervisor Bill Chaney, speaking of Foursquare pastors and churches in affected areas
At The River (Ukiah Foursquare Church) in Ukiah, where several families lost properties, Pastor Mike Dyer and members opened their homes to family, friends and others forced to flee communities closer to the fire. “It’s been an open-door policy,” he says.
That includes the church itself, where they are offering snacks and water, and “a place for people to just come and pray and relax,” Mike explains, “somewhere they can re-center.” The church recently hosted a community prayer meeting. Mike and some church members also visited a local shelter to offer comfort and prayer to people there.
Other Foursquare churches involved in ministry response activities in their communities include Hope Chapel (Santa Rosa 3 Foursquare Church) and Napa Foursquare Church. Meanwhile, Hope Chapel Healdsburg (Healdsburg Foursquare Church) is due to host an FDR team arriving this week.
That group’s deployment follows an FDR advance team visit to assess needs and opportunities for help and support. FDR volunteers will help man official disaster relief projects and train local Foursquare members for long-term spiritual care ministry.
The spiritual and emotional needs of those impacted will be there long after the fires have been extinguished, notes Jason Reynolds, FDR’s national coordinator. “With so many homes and business burned to the ground, some people have lost literally everything, and that can create a lot of insecurity,” he says.“Our job is to love people as they process and have questions. It’s the ministry of presence—just being there, and giving people a place to lean and find support when they need it.”
—Mike Dyer, senior pastor of The River (Ukiah Foursquare Church)
Central Pacific District Supervisor Bill Chaney applauds the way Foursquare churches in the path of the fires had responded.
“They have been nothing short of heroic,” he affirms. “They have stepped up to the plate. When their own houses are threatened and they are evacuated, they are not worrying about themselves, they are looking out for other people. They are amazing leaders in their community who have literally opened their arms and their doors.” He and the local pastors appeal for prayer as they continue to try to serve their communities.
“Our job is to love people as they process and have questions,” Mike adds. “It’s the ministry of presence—just being there, and giving people a place to lean and find support when they need it.”
Kelly says his community “took a hit,” but everyone has come together to help and support one another. “Pray that we could continue to do it with stamina, endurance and sensitivity,” he asks, “and as long as we need to, effectively, until we start to feel some sense of restoration.”
Bill high-fives FDR’s help in the response to the fires. “There is no way we could be doing what we are doing in an organized fashion without them,” he states. Having trained volunteers ready to be deployed in times of crisis, as his district has done, has proved to be critical, he adds, encouraging other churches to develop preparedness partnerships with FDR.
“Take advantage of our crisis to elevate the importance of getting your congregations involved in FDR, so that when a crisis happens in your neck of the woods, you are ready to respond in a very efficient and effective way,” he recommends.
Give to FDR’s Wildfires Fund
Learn About FDR Training
Empowering the Next Generation to Fulfill God’s Mission
God continues to be the God of history. He never raises up a people, or takes them from one place to another, unless He has a redemptive purpose aligned to His mission to bless all the families of the earth with salvation and eternal life.In the past 500 years, God has developed Latin American peoples composed of immigrants of European, Asian, African and Middle Eastern descent that have “blended” with indigenous peoples, the natives of these lands. In other words, we Latin Americans are not just brown, as we are often called. We are white, yellow, red, black—we come in all colors.
Moreover, throughout the entire continent, we have retained certain cultural aspects of other countries from our native ancestors. And, if that isn’t enough, we don’t just eat burritos; our cultural diet also includes steamed rice, puree, steak, falafel, and the list goes on.
Not only that, God has also emigrated millions of Latin Americans to the United States, a country made for missions. He’s done this for the purpose of mobilizing His generations to the nations, to the unreached villages, where they encounter a certain particularity; they don’t deal with major prejudicial barriers or cultural barriers with these nations because they have much in common, whether it be in appearance or customs.
The next Hispanic generations should be formed in such a way that they will embrace their purpose within the missional and redemptive plan for their generations. They should also understand their place in history and how their cultural diversity, physical appearance and ability to speak two or more languages has made them extremely valuable as individuals, and as a generation, to extend the kingdom and mission of God.
Our pastors and Hispanic parents should shoulder our responsibility to raise up our children, kids and youth as ministers and leaders of the kingdom of God that will be positioned in every sphere of influence in society, in this country and in other countries, and for other peoples.The next Hispanic generations should be formed in such a way that they will embrace their purpose within the missional and redemptive plan for their generations.
I suggest a few practical actions we need to consider as pastors and fathers as we lead other generations:
Believe in your children and youth, and in their generation. Understand who they are as a generation in God’s missional plan. Take the time to think, research and pray for God to show you His plan for your children and the youth in your church.
Stop being monocultural and monolingual. We need to lead our children, as they immerse themselves in their world, and enable them to live out the eternal and missional purpose of God for this generation.
Listen to your children, kids and youth, to empower them. Spend less time talking at them, and get together periodically to hear them out; give them the liberty to be who they are and do what they feel they need to do.
Raise the awareness of your children, kids and youth about God’s design and purpose for their generation. Help them understand how speaking more than one language and interacting with more than one culture is a blessing and a gift from God, for them as individuals as well as for their generation.
Disciple your children, kids and youth, to send them where God calls them. Train them up to be ministers and church leaders as well as societal leaders, leading them where God has called them.
Diseñados Para La Misión De DiosDios todavía sigue siendo el Dios de la historia. Dios nunca forma un pueblo ni lo mueve de un lugar a otro sin que tenga un propósito redentor que está alineado con su misión de bendecir todas las familias de la tierra con salvación y vida eterna.En los últimos 500 años, Dios se dio a la tarea de formar a los latinoamericanos como un pueblo de descendientes de inmigrantes europeos, asiáticos, africanos y del medio oriente que se han “mezclado” con los pueblos indígenas, nativos de estas tierras. Es decir, los latinoamericanos no somos marrones como suelen referirse a nosotros, somos blancos, amarillos, rojos, negros, dicho de otra manera, somos todos los colores.
Además, en todo el continente conservamos aspectos culturales de las naciones o pueblos de origen de nuestros antepasados. Como si eso fuera poco, no comemos sólo burritos, nuestra dieta cultural incluye también “steamed rice”, puré, bistec, falafel y la lista continúa.
No solamente eso, Dios también ha emigrado a millones de latinoamericanos a los Estados Unidos, una nación diseñada para las misiones. Lo ha hecho con el propósito de movilizar a sus generaciones a las naciones y a los pueblos no alcanzados, con los cuales encuentran una particularidad, no tienen mayores barreras de prejuicios o barreras culturales con estas naciones, porque tienen muchas cosas en común, desde la apariencia hasta las costumbres.
Las siguientes generaciones hispanas deberían ser formadas de tal manera que abrazan su propósito dentro del plan misional y redentor para su generación. Incluso deben entender su lugar en la historia y cómo su diversidad cultural, apariencia física y la habilidad de hablar dos o más idiomas los hace tremendamente valiosos como individuos y como generación para extender el reino y la misión de Dios.
Los pastores y los padres hispanos debemos asumir nuestra responsabilidad de formar a nuestros hijos, nuestros niños y jóvenes, como ministros y líderes del reino de Dios que van a estar posicionados en todas las esferas de influencia de la sociedad, en esta nación y en otras naciones y pueblos.Las siguientes generaciones hispanas deberían ser formadas de tal manera que abrazan su propósito dentro del plan misional y redentor para su generación.
Sugiero algunas acciones prácticas a tener en cuenta como pastores y como padres al liderar las siguientes generaciones:
Crea en sus hijos, sus niños y jóvenes, y en sus generaciones. Entienda quienes son como generación en el plan misional de Dios. Tome tiempo para pensar, investigar y orar, así Dios le mostrará cuál es Su plan para sus hijos y para los jóvenes de su iglesia.
Decida dejar de ser monocultural y monolingüe (si es que se ha quedado estacionado allí). Debemos liderar a nuestros hijos desde la inmersión y encarnarnos en el mundo de ellos para poder habilitarlos al propósito eterno y misional de Dios en su generación.
Escuche a sus hijos, sus niños y jóvenes, para empoderarlos. Pase menos tiempo hablándoles y reúnase con ellos periódicamente para escucharlos y darles la libertad de ser y hacer lo que ellos son y lo que ellos sienten que tienen que hacer.
Concientice a sus hijos, sus niños y jóvenes, sobre el diseño y el propósito de dios para su generación. Ayúdeles a entender como el hablar más de un idioma y crecer interaccionando con más de una cultura es una bendición y un don de Dios para ellos como personas y como generación.
Discipule a sus hijos, sus niños y jóvenes, para enviarlos donde dios los llame. Fórmelos para ser ministros y líderes de la iglesia y en la sociedad, encaminándolos hacia donde Dios les esté llamando.
Washing and Mending
It was a hard, disappointing night spent in exhausting and fruitless labor. The sea would not yield its bounty. It would be time to go home soon. It would be an unpleasant answer when they were asked, “How was work today?” But first, the nets had to be washed and mended. Tonight, the work would begin again.Out from among those milling about the shore walked the Preacher. He had been causing quite a stir in the synagogues lately. Without hesitation, He walked onto Simon’s boat and asked to be taken a ways from the shore so He could teach the people. Uninvited, He had commandeered a workman’s boat and launched into a sermon. When done, He asked the man to work again: “Let down your nets for a catch.” The reply came: “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net” (Luke 5:4-5, NKJV).
All the hours of fruitless labor were voided. The nets were full to the breaking point.
Simon did not know how much his life and human history would change that day. Simon followed as Jesus preached, healed the sick, cast out demons, opened blinded eyes and gave Jairus his daughter back from the dead. In the years to follow, Simon would be transformed as this preacher from Nazareth commandeered not only his boat, but also his house, his mind, his heart and ultimately, his life.
Simon knew none of this that day on the banks of the Sea of Galilee. All he knew that day was he had nowhere to hide. The Light of the World was shining on him, and he did not like what it revealed. Something broken in Simon cried out to something whole in Jesus: “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” (Luke 5:8).
Luke’s account of the story speaks of them “washing” their nets. Matthew’s account refers to James and John “mending” their nets. The word used for “mend” is also translated as “complete, prepare, restore, to establish, to create and to equip.” Simon did not know it then, but those nets were giving witness to everything Jesus would do in and through him. Jesus would start “washing” and “mending” Simon because he was to be “a fisher of men.”
It is as though God were saying to Simon: “You are broken and worn out. Just as these fishermen are washing and mending their nets, like you have done from your youth, today I am washing and mending you. I will cleanse you. I will heal you. I will restore you. I will complete you. I will establish you. I will equip you. And what you lack I will create in you. This is what I will do in you, and this is what I will do through you.” The purpose of God through our life (to be “fishers of men”) flows out of God’s process in our life (“washing” and “mending”).
Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:11-12 that Christ, “gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” The word used for “equip” is from the same root word as “mend.” The purpose of our ministry is that those under our care will be “complete, prepared, restored, established, and equipped.” We who are “washed” and “mended” now serve others so they too can be “washed” and “mended.”
Jesus calls us unto Himself to be “washed” and “mended;” then He casts us out into a sea of broken humanity with good news of great joy. Today I embrace His calling and His promise, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt. 4:19).
Lord, welcome into my heart and mind. Wash and mend me; I am in need today.
Lord, help me to be a vessel of Your restoring grace in the life of someone today.
Share your thoughts. See comments below, and add your own.
Foursquare Helps Las Vegas Move From Horror to Hope After Shooting
As authorities continue to investigate the deadliest modern mass shooting in U.S. history, Foursquare pastors and members in the city are believing that, contrary to the popular saying, what happened in Vegas won’t stay there.They recognize their community will be forever changed by the Oct. 1 attack at a country music festival that left 58 victims dead and more than 500 injured. But they are looking to God to help people move from horror and disbelief to hope and faith.
Already they see glimpses of evil being overcome by good, they say, as their community and others around the country respond with an outpouring of love and concern—from thousands waiting hours in line to donate blood, to the more than $10 million donated by last weekend to a GoFundMe account for the victims.
Since the attack, members from Foursquare’s dozen or so churches in the Las Vegas area have been helping with the official emergency response, offering comfort and counseling to those traumatized, and sharing personal experiences of being caught up—and spared—in the attack.
Among the stories of escape is that of a member of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship (Las Vegas 4 Foursquare Church) standing at the concert with a friend who was hospitalized after being shot in the back and face. Another Cornerstone attendee, Savannah Stallworth, was among those who escaped unhurt and helped others, bundling two wounded concertgoers into the back of her truck and ferrying them to the hospital.Already they see glimpses of evil being overcome by good as their community and others around the country respond with an outpouring of love.Meanwhile, Ricky Farris, whose father, Richard Farris, is Cornerstone’s missions pastor, was among the first responders at the scene as a member of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
Hospital nursing staff attending the victims included members of New Hope Las Vegas (Summerlin Foursquare Church), about three miles from the famous Strip. They told Foursquare Pastor Kent Miyoshi that the scene at the hospital had been “like a war zone, with blood everywhere,” he says. Kiss Las Vegas prayer walk, led by New Hope Las Vegas member Amanda Villegas
In the days that followed, Pastor Bill Dahlquist was one of those with the difficult job of ministering to families waiting for news of missing loved ones. As a Foursquare Disaster Relief (FDR)-trained chaplain coordinating spiritual care efforts for the Red Cross, he was on duty at the official crisis center.
“One family I worked with knew they had lost their nephew and had heard that their son had been shot but didn’t know anything else,” explains Bill, who lives in downtown Las Vegas and pastors Blue Diamond Foursquare Church about 25 miles away. “I was with them when, later that night, they were informed that he had also deceased. It was a very hard time emotionally.”
Several Foursquare churches around the city opened their doors for people wanting to come in for prayer and comfort. Among them was New Hope Las Vegas, where Kent reports that two visitors were led to Christ. At Cornerstone, free trauma counseling sessions were offered. There, Co-Pastor Joey Massanari also led a special prayer service attended by around 200 people, including church members who had been at the concert.“There are opportunities that we have never had before; there’s a softness in people right now. For the church, it’s a time to be more and more the hands of Jesus.”
—Joey Massanari, co-pastor of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Las VegasOthers took prayer to the streets. Kent led a group to pray at the famous Las Vegas sign—“It’s the city gates,” he explains. Meanwhile, church member Amanda Villegas organized a Kiss Las Vegas prayer walk in which participants went out offering prayer, hugs and Hershey’s Kisses. New Hope members also assisted in moving supplies to set up the crisis family center Bill Dahlquist has helped man.
Several Foursquare pastors spotlight the unusual sight of casino marquees calling for prayer for the city, rather than promoting the gambling and other attractions that have earned Las Vegas the nickname of Sin City. But they also note that behind its international reputation as an anything-goes tourist attraction, Las Vegas is also home to a strong Christian community.
Crisis Family Center
“It’s been beautiful to see how the city has come together,” Joey affirms. “There are opportunities that we have never had before; there’s a softness in people right now. For the church, it’s a time to be more and more the hands of Jesus.”
With so much of Las Vegas centered on its tourism industry, many people know someone associated with the Strip and so feel impacted by the shooting even if they were not directly involved. For some, “the initial response has been shock and a sense of being overwhelmed,” says Kent. “But then, because they have Christ in their lives, they are pushing through with their faith, which is amazing.”
Anticipating a long journey ahead for his city, Kent urges people to pray for great peace, great comfort, great provision and “for the greatness of God to manifest.”
Bill Dahlquist expresses appreciation for all the prayers offered for Las Vegas by Foursquare churches across the country and around the world. “We certainly continue to need it,” he says. “Pray that we would have the wisdom to be able to speak to people and the courage to do so, and the stamina to keep being able to do it.”
Why Leadership Development Matters
In the October issue of Foursquare Leader, we addressed a topic that I am very passionate about because I firmly believe that it is the core principle of the mission of the church to make disciples.It is the first Missional Objective of our catalytic efforts and is, therefore, a key focus of Foursquare. It is seeing every person as created in the image of God with capacity, gifts and purpose, and partnering with one another to fulfill God’s intention for each one. All of this is encompassed in leadership development.
I am convinced that, if we become a “deliberately developmental” community where we make the health and formation of leaders our highest priority, then our other two Missional Objectives (church transformation, church and congregation multiplication) will follow. Imagine what can happen when your church is creating a culture of strong, healthy, multiplying disciples and leaders.
I say this because I believe it is in the heart of every leader to become everything God intended, and to accomplish all He has assigned. I also believe we do this best in a community that loves, believes in, equips and challenges one another to do so.
When people who answer God’s call are well equipped to fulfill His plan, church transformation and multiplication will be the result. It can happen exponentially when we do it together!
Spiritual leadership means that women and men humbly and boldly accept responsibility for the call and capacity given to them by God, for the sake of others. It means investing in yourself as an act of stewardship. Leadership development, then, is formation over a lifetime that shapes hearts, minds and hands to effectively fulfill God’s design. It’s all-encompassing.Imagine what can happen when your church is creating a culture of strong, healthy, multiplying disciples and leaders.
Because it is a lifetime endeavor, to engage it well we must value lifelong learning, growing and transformation. I invite you to spend some deliberate time in the pages of Foursquare Leader, learning from fellow ministers who are on this journey together.
Find Development Opportunities
Your district is here to help you develop as a leader. Download Foursquare’s education directory, and get plugged into what your district is doing.
Download the Education Directory
Read These Books
Interested in developing as a Foursquare leader? Tammy Dunahoo recommends these three books.
The Emotionally Healthy Leader
by Peter Scazzero
Attend to your own soul first because you can’t grow spiritually beyond what you have grown emotionally.
by Ken Roberts
Every Foursquare leader should read this book to help prevent ministry burnout.
by Sam Rockwell
Gateway District Supervisor Sam Rockwell and a team of Foursquare leaders wrote this book on what makes us Foursquare. Available on Amazon.
¿Por qué importa el desarrollo del liderazgo?En esta edición de Foursquare Leader, abordamos un tema que me apasiona porque creo rmemente que es el principio fundamental de la misión de la iglesia de hacer discípulos. Es el primer Objetivo Misional en nuestros esfuerzos catalíticos y, por tanto, un enfoque clave de La Iglesia Cuadrangular. Es ver a cada persona como creada en la imagen de Dios con capacidad, dones y propósito, y asociándose los unos con los otros para cumplir la intención de Dios para cada uno.Todo esto está incluido en el desarrollo del liderazgo.
Estoy convencida de que si nos convertimos en una comunidad que se “desarrolla deliberadamente” en la que hacemos de la salud y la formación de líderes nuestra más alta prioridad, nuestros otros dos Objetivos Misionales (transformación de iglesias y multiplicación de iglesias) seguirán. Imagínese lo que puede suceder cuando su iglesia está creando una cultura de líderes y discípulos fuertes y saludables que se multiplican.
Digo esto porque creo que está en el corazón de cada líder llegar a ser todo lo que Dios ha querido, y cumplir todo lo que Él le ha asignado. También creo que hacemos esto mejor como una comunidad; que ama, que cree, que equipa y en la que se desafían el uno al otro a hacerlo.
Cuando el pueblo que responde al llamado de Dios está bien equipado para cumplir con Su plan, la transformación y multiplicación de la iglesias serán el resultado. ¡Y puede pasar exponencialmente cuando lo hacemos juntos!
Liderazgo espiritual signi ca que hombres y mujeres humilde y valientemente aceptan la responsabilidad del llamado y la capacidad dados por Dios, por el bien de otros. Signi ca invertir en uno mismo como un acto de mayordomía. Desarrollo del liderazgo es entonces la formación de toda una vida que forja corazones, mentes y manos para cumplir efectivamente el diseño de Dios. Lo abarca todo.
Debido a que es una labor de toda una vida, para hacerlo bien necesitamos valorar el aprendizaje, el crecimiento y la transformación de por vida. Le invito a dedicar algo de tiempo intencional en las páginas del Foursquare Leader de este mes, aprendiendo de ministros colegas que están en esta aventura juntos.
Encuentre oportunidades de desarrollo
Su distrito está aquí para ayudarlo a desarrollarse como líder. Descargue el directorio de educación de La Cuadrangular y conéctese con lo que su distrito está haciendo.
Descargue el Directorio de Educación