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FOURSQUARE ADOPTS SIMPLE CHURCH CONCEPT!
by Michael Tummillo
06/05/07
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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 cant 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

http://reachmore.foursquare.org/simplechurch .



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

http://reachmore.foursquare.org/landing_pages/65,3.html



"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

www.foursquare.org.



"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: twymore@foursquare.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:

http://housechurchchronicles.typepad.com/my_weblog/




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