FOURSQUARE ADOPTS SIMPLE CHURCH CONCEPT!
by Michael Tummillo
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The Church of the Foursquare Gospel, the Charismatic Christian denomination founded by Aimee Semple McPherson in 1927, has just embraced the concept
of Simple Church. Popular author and teacher Dr. Jack Hayford currently presides over the denomination as he has since 2004. Worldwide membership is over 3.5 million in almost 30,000 churches in 123 countries.
Revivalist Dr. Larry Silverman, who criss-crosses the United States doing Gospel meetings - many in the Simple Church format - said, "Back in the late 1960's and early 1970's there was a great move of the Holy Spirit called the Charismatic
Renewal. Many of the existing classic, Pentecostal denominations were
quick to label this move as a false move of God. However, soon and most
likely as a result of the rejection of the established churches who claimed
to be moving in the Spirit, these groups soon formed independent churches
and fellowships. A few years later the groups that did the rejecting jumped
on the same band wagon as they realized that this movement of the Spirit
was of God and was going forward with or without them."
Silverman added, "I greatly admire the leadership of the Church of the
Foursquare as they have quickly embraced the great, powerful flow of the
Simple Church movement. They are making available to their church
planters, another way to do things. This is great!"
John White, US Coordinator for DAWN Ministries (Disciple A Whole Nation),
sent this message to DAWN affiliates:
"George Barna tells us that the spiritual landscape of North America is changing rapidly. I believe it.
"In the Spring of 2001, Mike Steele and I attended a conference at the
home of Tony and Felicity Dale in Austin , TX where Wolfgang Simson
was the speaker. I can’t tell you how excited I was to hear from Wolf.
I had been fumbling along with house church for about three years. I
knew about house churches in China and India but they were
almost unknown in the US at that time. So, I was very interested to hear
from a real person who might actually know what he was talking about.
Much has changed in only six years!
"One indication of this is that many denominations are seriously
considering the church in the home as a valid form of church. And, one
of those denominations, Foursquare, has now fully and officially
embraced this as part of their church planting strategy. They have asked
Tom Wymore, a DAWN Associate, to give direction and leadership
to this effort.
"See below for two things: First, the official announcement of this step
by Foursquare. Second, a letter from Tom expressing the compatibility
between DAWN and Foursquare. If you have a denominational friend
who is thinking about house church, you might pass this on to them."
A letter to the 75 Foursquare District Supervisor sent out from
Glenn Burris, VP of US Operations/General Supervisor. Burris wrote,
“I am also happy to tell you about an expansion of Church Multiplication.
Foursquare is making it possible to welcome simple churches, also
known as house churches, into our structure. We are currently
working on exactly how this would look, but we have made great
progress on it. One step in our progress was appointing Tom Wymore
as Simple Church Coach. Tom is working with the Church Multiplication
Office on finding a blessing structure for these new churches and leaders
as well as networking them across the nation. Please find the enclosed
book, House Church Networks: A Church for a New Generation
(Larry Kreider), as well as a postcard explaining more about simple
church in Foursquare. Additional information is available on the
Church Multiplication website --- www.reachmore.org .
"The postcard reads as follows: “It's that simple! In keeping with the
twin passions of our Foursquare heritage for reaching the Harvest and
embracing the fresh things of the Spirit, we are pleased to announce
that we are adding the planting of simple (house) churches to our
Church Multiplication efforts. In our increasingly complex world,
simplicity is becoming very much sought after, even in matters of the
kingdom of God ! To help us catch the growing wave of simple church
expressions, we have asked Tom Wymore to help us embrace and
coach leaders through the process of discovery and blessing. We invite
you to find out more via our website
The postcard Burris mentioned is scheduled for mailing in June.
Another letter from Tom Wymore to DAWN Associates reads,
"My introduction to the simple church stream came through the
Dawn North American leadership team. My first connections with
Dawn were so positive that I knew I had found a family for life. Imagine
my delight, then, when my own denomination asked me to help them
embrace and bless the simple church movement with the express provision
that we would partner with Dawn whenever possible! I have been asked
by the Foursquare Church US to develop simple/house church planting
across the US , focusing particularly on the development of simple church
networks. My official "title" is simple church coach which translated means
something like coordinator of simple church planting. You can visit the
simple church part of Foursquare's church planting website by going to
"Because Dawn is a relational and non-restrictive organism (think "Starfish"!),
it is highly feasible for more structured groups like the Foursquare Church to
interface with Dawn in a complementary relationship. We are
already seeing blessing from this relationship. Foursquare simple church
church planters are being invited to be on the Dawn bus and are responding
positively. I have also been able to combine ministry on behalf of Dawn and
my Foursquare family and to use the Dawn website and relational
connections to bless Foursquare SC church planters across the US .
Furthermore, the continuing flow of life and cutting edge thinking that my
relationship with Dawn affords me obviously blesses a denomination that
sincerely wants to be on the cutting edge of Kingdom life.
"For those who may not be familiar with the Foursquare family
of churches, we are a relatively young denomination, founded
in the 1920s and at our heart is commitment to world-wide,
interdenominational evangelism and discipleship. Our current
president for the US church is Pastor Jack Hayford, a man
known by many of various denominational
(and non-denominational) stripes to be a man of character and
grace. Foursquare currently has about 2,000 churches in the US
and is in 147 countries around the world. Many of the countries
we are in have far exceeded the US church in terms of members
and churches ( Brazil , for example, has over 8,000 churches).
For more on the Foursquare family, you can visit the website at
"It's hard to overestimate the level of openness to simple
church that the Foursquare Church is displaying at this
time. In a season when many traditional churches are fearfully
pondering the implications of the simple/house church movement,
Foursquare is attempting to remove all obstacles to the planting
of simple church networks and to actively find ways to bless this
stream regardless of whether there is any "corporate gain" in
doing so. One amazing story that illustrates this happened in the
past two weeks. One of our "out-of-the box" Foursquare church
planters went home from a meeting where some others and I
presented Simple Church values and completely reworked his
church structure to become a "hybrid" church. This pastor has
fully empowered his house church not only with liberty in ministry
but also with funds that he now routes to the individual house
churches in his network. The house churches are fully released to
hear God's instructions as to how to minister to their
neighborhoods and spend "congregational" money to do so. This
pastor also intends to bless house churches beyond our
denomination--with no strings attached!
"It is also hard to overestimate the benefit that my affiliation with
Dawn brings to Foursquare's desire to plant healthy simple church
networks. Because of my relationships via Dawn, I have been
"ramped up in a hurry" with key simple church values and
resources that would have otherwise taken much longer to acquire
and assimilate. It is this benefit that continues to give birth to
openness on the Foursquare leadership's part to the Dawn
network. The future is bright indeed as we consider what it will
look like for all of God's Kingdom people to be cooperating at this
level. My prayer is that Foursquare will be only the first of
many denominations to "hear what the Spirit is saying to
the Church" and thereby value the starfish/spider type of
relationship that Dawn offers."
To reach Tom Wymore, write: firstname.lastname@example.org
For information on Dawn Ministries http://dawnministries.org/ (click Global Ministries,
then North America). You may also wish to read the House Church Chronicles:
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