Thousands 'Unabashedly Foursquare' at Convention's Opening Night

WASHINGTON – More than 3,000 members of the Foursquare Gospel Church are gathered in Washington this week for the 2006 International Congress on Discipleship and Ministry, featuring dozens of workshops and services, and the opportunity to “deposit grace and prayer” at the nation’s capital.

“The decisions made here impact every pastor and every church around the world,” said the Rev. Amos Dodge, Senior Pastor of Capital Church in McLean, Va., about the spiritual significance of the gathering. “We believe that every song that is sung will declare the Kingdom of God and will leave here a lasting impression.”

This year’s convention lasts from May 29 to June 1 and showcases more than 75 exhibitions and workshops that cover a wide range of helpful ministerial topics, such as “Building Generational Bridges” and “How to reach the Latin Wave.”

The opening night featured an evening service with Foursquare President Jack W. Hayford, who challenged attendants to be “unabashedly at peace with the joy of being a member of the Foursquare family”

“First and foremost I belong to Christ. Secondly, I’m a part of this church and around the world … but I am unabashedly at peace with the joy of being a member of the Foursquare family,” said the world-renowned pastor of the 10,000-member Church On the Way in Van Nuys, Calif.

Hayford, who recently celebrated his 50th year in the ministerial service, delivered a message on “How God Emerges a New Generation” and encouraged members not to be swayed by new “buzz” words or styles in finding the deeper will of God.

“‘Emergent’ is a sale word, just as surely as ‘sex’ is a timeless word in the secular world to sell anything,” Hayford said. “‘Emergent’ is a word that is put on the cover of any magazine and people will snatch it up to find out how do you get with what’s really happening.

“I think sometimes we will do well to recognize that ‘emergent’ is simply just a passing word,” he added. “Just as words come and go, so do styles, but there is an abiding substance that God has ordained in the Church and has ordained timelessly in Scripture.”

Therefore, Hayford told participants not to focus merely on the trendy words or styles but rather hold onto the Bible as a key to understanding how God will reveal His miracles in this era.

“While you may apply whatever systems and managements to assist you, those management books will not bring you a miracle, but this book will,” he said, raising the Bible in his hand. “I always say we need to be as contemporary as necessary to be as clear as possible, but we need timelessness in our midst.”

The Foursquare Convention continues today with prayer sessions, workshops and exhibits, and an evening service featuring Actor Dean Jones and singer Steve Amerson.