Something great was about to happen! Rise was being given to a vision; God was writing it on the hearts and minds of Foursquare leadership from churches around the world. Such an awareness of vision had not occurred in this magnitude before.
Article: Foursquare ADVANCE July/August 1982
The genesis of The Foursquare Global Council actually originated in the DNA of our Foursquare heritage. When we consider our early beginnings as a Movement, it is evident that our founder, Sister Aimee Semple McPherson, had in her heart and vision a global family and a global reach that ALL the nations of the world would come to know Christ. The cornerstone at Angelus Temple states: “Dedicated to the cause of worldwide evangelism.”
In April 1982, the first Global Leadership Conference was held at Lake Arrowhead, California. All international delegates who had attended the 1982 Annual Convention held at Angelus Temple came to the event. Speakers were Leland Edwards, Dr. McPherson, Jack Hamilton, and Jack Hayford. Special guest speaker and teacher was Ralph Mahoney, President/Director of World Missionary Assistance Plan.
Five years later (May 1988) the second Global Leadership Conference convened, again at Lake Arrowhead, California.
Delegates from 36 countries and five continents attended. The Theme of the conference was: “PROCLAIM! THE EVERLASTING GOSPEL TO ALL PEOPLES to Every Kindred, Tribe, Tongue and Nation.” Speakers were Leland Edwards, Dr. McPherson, John Holland, and Jack Hayford. The special guest speaker/teacher was Jim Montgomery of “New Testament Fire In The Philippines.” As Phil Starr communicated in his article for ADVANCE,
“The purpose of this great gathering was to: 1.) come together from the four corners of the earth for oneness of worship, fellowship and communion together; 2.) learn of our history and heritage, together evaluating the work of the Foursquare Church internationally; and 3.) unitedly establish a worldwide, cooperative, all-inclusive strategy of evangelism, church growth and expansion for the Church of Jesus Christ.”
National Leaders Meeting – 1999
During the week of November 29-December 3, 1999, a total of 43 Foursquare Leaders representing 19 countries gathered at the Foursquare Central Offices in Los Angeles to discuss how the Foursquare Church worldwide might join hearts and hands in touching our world with the Gospel.
For many years prior to this, the Foursquare leadership in the United States envisioned the day when ICFG in the U.S. would move from a paternal relationship into a partner relationship with the Foursquare Churches of other nations who had, themselves, become extremely active in sending and supporting their own missionaries.
Dr. Paul Risser, President, and Dr. Mike Larkin, FMI Director, invited the presidents, general overseers and missions directors of the Foursquare Church from mission-sending nations.
Rising out of this event, those who attended began a process that resulted in the forming of the Global Council in 2005.
Global Council Beginnings - 2005
“2005 marked the historic first meeting of the Foursquare Global Council. The appointed regional council leaders met for the first time as the Foursquare Global Council during the U.S. Foursquare Convention held in Chicago, Illinois. . . Specifically, the Global Council seeks for global strategies to delineate how the Foursquare Church can be most effective in coordinating missions efforts; and, ultimately, determine how best it can propagate the spread of the gospel and empower nationals to manage the national church through global structures.
The Saturday before the start of convention, the Foursquare Global Council met for the very first time. This council is comprised of 16 national leaders who chair their respective regional councils. Their contribution to the Global Council is a representation to their individual nations, the regions in which they serve and the global Foursquare family, as we discussed issues such as:
- Regional and global development into unreached peoples and nations
- Global education and training resources and strategies
- Doctrinal consistency that represents Foursquare’s essential beliefs
- Relational challenges between sending nations of missionaries and receiving nations
- Communication and resource sharing
“As of 2006, each of the 17 regions formed a single council which is comprised of national pastors and national leaders. One member was appointed as the chairperson and global representative for these respective councils; the Foursquare Global Council is composed of these global representatives.”
Global Council Members 2009
Global Summit 2012
Fast-forward three years! The next Global Summit was held in Phoenix, Arizona, June 1-3, following Connection 2012. Prior to this Summit, in 2010, a recommendation was made by the Fellowship of European Foursquare Churches (FEFC) to invite the President of the U.S. Foursquare Church, Dr. Glenn Burris, Jr., to become the Chair of the recently formed Global Council. The goal and purpose stated was “. . .seeking direction how to further the Kingdom of God” and “. . . partnering with all national leaders to prayerfully and wisely develop the ICFG Global Council for its role in the 21st Century.” Glenn accepted the role and began to lead the discussions in partnership with the Executive Committee that was formed out of the Global Council members. The vision for the Global Summit 2012 was a globally collaborative decision and was planned to enable maximum attendance as it was held immediately following the annual Foursquare Convention, thus cutting down on travel costs for attendees.
The Committee and Council agreed upon four Objectives of the 2012 Global Summit, as follows:
- Establish a Global Eldering Community that will help serve our Foursquare Family with both covering and accountability. The Lord has blessed our Movement since its founding in 1927. We have a spiritual and moral responsibility to steward this work among us.
- Build Together a Global Strategy to reach every nation with the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the Foursquare Church. There are 79 nations that do not have a Foursquare presence. Our objective will be to begin the framework for a joint accelerated effort to make disciples of all nations.
- Refine and Strengthen our Global Infrastructure for national and regional support of Foursquare Movement around the world.
- Establish a Global Networking Partnership. There is a window of opportunity to strengthen the work of the Kingdom according to its needs. Help every nation to evangelize, disciple, multiply and send.
The Summit was a turning point. The attendees (70 nations were represented) sought the Lord fervently through worship and prayer, enjoyed rich fellowship and the building of new relationships, and established a set of “Next Steps” to be acted upon immediately by the Global Council.
“Leaders from over 70 nations gathered in Phoenix just after the conclusion of Connection ’12. We prayed, worshipped, prophesied, conversed, debated and dialogued about a preferred future for the Global Foursquare Family. It was clear that we are at a Kairos moment, a defining time in our global movement. The Foursquare Church began in the United States. From that perspective, we were the PIONEERS of the Global Foursquare Movement.
“Ed Stetzer (LifeWay Research) facilitated our discussions and presentations. We heard from leaders around the world on four primary areas:
- What does Foursquare mean around the world. What are the DISTINCTIVES that we should hold dearly to, orientate new national leaders on and frame our future around?
- What are the CURRENT REALITIES that help us discern our approach to taking the gospel to the ends of the earth? What are the challenges and the obstacles?
- We then focused our time on identifying the OPPORTUNITIES before us. There are doors that only the Holy Spirit could have opened for us. These point to the prophetic future before us.
- We concluded our time by contending for NEXT STEPS. What should our priorities be? We know we can give ourselves to many things, but let’s really focus on the top ones.
“Throughout the event, there was significant prayer time for the world and for each other. We were gladly interrupted on a number of occasions by clear words of prophecy and direction from the Holy Spirit.
“We then acknowledged that the U.S. Foursquare Church had become the PARENT by default. But the exciting opportunity before us is to dream together about how the Global Foursquare Movement can become true PARTNERS in our effort to ‘make disciples of all nations.’ I have been asked to serve as the Chair of the Global Council (made up of a selected leader from each of the 15 regions). I accepted with the proviso that in 3 years someone other than a U.S. leader would become the chair. “
Dr. Glenn Burris
2012 and Beyond . . .
Since these early beginnings, the Global Council has continued to step up to the challenge and call to action that came out of the 2012 Global Summit. The following agreed-upon, adopted recommendations from the Global Summit have helped to guide the progress and purpose of the Global Council:
- Empower the Global Council to function as a global eldering community to propagate the Global Distinctives.
- Empower the Global Council to protect the Global Distinctives.
- Pass on the Global Distinctives by helping the global church deal with realities and opportunities.
- Plan a strategic timeline facilitating the work.
- Take a more active and empowered leadership role globally, working with regions, the national churches and Foursquare Mission International. Move into a new global partnership as outlined in the Global Summit recommendations.
- Develop a strategy in partnership with regions, nations and churches to accomplish these recommendations.
Post 2012 Global Summit
As a result of the Global Summit and the Adopted Recommendations and Distinctives that came out of the meeting in Phoenix, the Global Council was commissioned by the Summit body to begin to take the action steps necessary to see the establishment of our global mission at a new dimension of true collaboration and partnership. Subsequent to the Summit, the Executive Committee of the Global Council met in Switzerland in the summer of 2012. Out of that meeting, the Executive Committee developed the actions steps, as follows: