When Aimee Semple McPherson's life was concluded in 1944, the
leadership of the Foursquare movement was entrusted to her only son, Rolf K.
McPherson. Subsequently, he would serve as the president and chairman of the
board of directors for forty-four years. The change of a generation in
leadership did not slow the progress of the denomination. By 1949, the number of
churches had increased from 355 to 521 and two states were added, from 33 to 35.
Today, there is a Foursquare church in every state of the union, and over 125
countries around the world.
In 1948, the Foursquare Church joined with the , the Church of God, the Open
Bible Standard Church, and the Pentecostal Holiness Church to form the
"Pentecostal Fellowship of North America." The purpose of the
PFNA was to
promote inter-church Pentecostal fellowship and united action within North
America. The PFNA was reorganized in 1994 to become the "Pentecostal/Charismatic
Churches of North America" (PCCNA) to allow for greater inclusion and diversity.
Since that time, the Foursquare Church continues to partner with the greater
Body of Christ to reach our communities and world, echoing the words inscribed
on the cornerstone of Angelus Temple dedicating it's members to "Worldwide
During the years between 1958 and 1971, the growth rate of the International
Church of the Foursquare Gospel slowed. During this season, however, roots were
being deepened and church facilities were relocated and improved allowing for
more efficient use of resources. Likewise, this period of time allowed
Foursquare to further establish a policy of balance and openness to Charismatic
movements that set the stage for a period of stimulation and new growth.
In 1974, several pastors were beginning to set patterns of explosive growth and
spiritual renewal. These would powerfully challenge the entire Foursquare
movement. They included Jack Hayford in Van Nuys, California; Roy Hicks, Jr. in
Eugene, Oregon; Jerry Cook in Gresham, Oregon; Ron Mehl in Beaverton, Oregon;
and John Holland in Vancouver, BC. These and others helped the Foursquare Church
experience a remarkable numerical growth and spiritual awakening.
At the 1987 Convention, the Foursquare Church paid tribute to Dr. and Mrs. Rolf
K. McPherson for their many years of untiring service and leadership as they
announced their retirement from the presidency. On May 31, 1988, Dr. John R.
Holland was installed as the Third President of the International Church of the
Foursquare Gospel. *
Since that time the mantle of the Foursquare presidency has passed twice more.
Passing first to Dr. Harold Helms who served as interim president from July 1997
until July 1998, and then in July of 1998 to Dr. Paul Risser. Dr. Risser was
ratified in 2001 for further service to the denomination effective in 2002, to
continue his leadership as president until 2007.
Where does the Foursquare Church go from here? In the recent months, Foursquare
has embraced a new vision of expansion and church multiplication. On June 27,
2001, an announcement was made over the Foursquare News Service (FNS) that the
Board of Directors had approved a recommendation that up to seven new districts
would be established from what was the Eastern District. This has made way for a
new vision of district and church multiplication that will see the present
number of districts multiplied to include at least 50 distinct districts across
the United States. Likewise, three Regional Administrative Centers (RAC) are
also being established in strategic locations of the nation. Each RAC would
service 15-20 districts and would be overseen by a Regional Administrator. This
will provide greater efficiency, expediency, and specialization in the "daily
details" presently demanded of our district offices, and free the district
supervisors to minister greater care and nurture to the local churches. It is
envisioned that the greater cooperation and networking will result in a stronger
local vision by those who are already acquainted with their communities. In
turn, additional churches will be planted and the Foursquare Church will grow
into new communities that have not yet been reached by the gospel of Jesus
Each congregation is led by a pastor and a church council. Foursquare pastors
are appointed by the District Supervisor with approval of the Board of Directors
and in consultation with local church councils. In this sense, Foursquare
pastors are "sent ones" and "gifts" to local bodies of believers (Eph.
4:8,11,12). Consideration is given to the suitability of an individual pastor in
relation to the present needs of the congregation.
Foursquare members have the privilege of electing church council members who
will work with the pastor in the ongoing business matters of the church. Church
related legal matters such as applying for a loan, or buying or selling property
require a vote of the membership before being presented to the District
Supervisor and the denomination's Board of Directors for approval.
Church properties are held in and protected by the name of the corporate
Foursquare organization, with any major decisions regarding such properties made
by the local congregation, District Supervisor, and the Board of Directors. Each
church is also expected to contribute monthly to home and oversees missionary
Both men and women are allowed to minister on all levels of Foursquare church
leadership. This includes pastor, church staff, church council, deacons and
deaconesses, and elders