Rod Light | May 9, 2019

Life Pacific students who experience the Foursquare polity course and licensing say they are stretched by the process, gaining more than they thought possible from their education.

Katie Reyes thought her Bible classes at Life Pacific did a great job preparing her to understand theology and the hard questions about life and leadership. Then, she encountered the Foursquare Polity course and licensing process – nine rigorous weeks of lectures and introspection that pressed her to experience a deeper understanding.

“I wasn’t expecting to wrestle with any theological topics,” Katie says. “When studying for the practical section of my Foursquare licensing interview, I realized that there were areas where my theology wasn’t fully developed.”

LPC students like Katie who experience the Foursquare Polity course engage with lectures and presentations from guests lecturers Foursquare General Supervisor Tammy Dunahoo, Legal Counsel Josh Best, and others, and also tour the Foursquare Heritage Center with Foursquare legend Sterling Brackett as their guide.

Each year, Tammy Dunahoo specifically requests to teach the class on the baptism of the Holy Spirit because of her experience with the Holy Spirit and why she came to Foursquare.

“The Foursquare Church has a very unique perspective and ethos on the baptism of the Holy Spirit and He is a very important part of who we are,” Tammy says. “Those pursuing Foursquare credentials need to know who we are, what we believe and how we live it out.”

Students gain firsthand historical knowledge at the birthplace of The Foursquare Church as they walk the halls of Angelus Temple and the parsonage of our founder Aimee Semple McPherson.

Culminating the licensing process for Life Pacific students, the licensing candidates are celebrated by Foursquare President Glenn Burris, Tammy Dunahoo, and the Foursquare Central Office team at a luncheon honoring the graduates. The personal meeting at the office of the president is a capstone of our student’s thorough examination of Foursquare history, doctrine, and values.

“The Polity course is practical,” student Kaleb Bulman says. “We learned, at the base level, why we as a global Foursquare family believe everything that we do. From my learning experience to the 1-on-1 time with my coach, I can confidently say that I am pleased to be united in mission with The Foursquare Church to win soul’s for Jesus.”

Students are coached during the polity course how to handle specific realworld situations that present themselves in ministry. NCO Leadership Education and Training Coordinator Lisa Penberthy and LPC Director of Calling and Vocation Joshua Ortega are both ordained Foursquare ministers and Life Pacific adjunct faculty who serve as licensing coaches.  

Distinct from licensing that occurs within the Foursquare District settings, Life Pacific students receive intensive instruction that includes the canvas course, paperwork, coaching, panels, and education all in about 15 weeks, according to Joshua Ortega. The camaraderie of the students makes a huge difference as they experience the intensive course.

“What I loved most about the polity course is having a study group of my closest friends,” says fourth generation soon-to-be Foursquare minister Maxwell Goodell. “Seeing all of us pass made it that much better.”

Joshua Ortega says panels for Life Pacific students are more direct, and students are taught doctrine in lecture form to ensure an understanding of our theology as a movement. “After panel interviews, students receive direction about their future appointments and education on Foursquare ministries, opportunities, and family,” he adds.

Diane Wong will pursue her masters degree in organizational psychology at Azusa Pacific University after completing a summer internship at Living Way Fellowship in Colorado. She says the Foursquare Polity course affirmed her calling and helped establish her personal theology.

“It is truly beautiful when old and new friends take the step together to follow the call that God has put on their lives, to encourage one another, and to pursue God wholeheartedly,” Diane says.

Jessica Valdivia believes the polity course helped her recognize the blessings of God in her life. “Reminiscing about where I was to where I am now, I know that I am healed and ready to take the next steps in sharing God’s love and hope with people around me,” she says. 

These licensing candidates consult with the Life Pacific Office of Calling and Vocation to consider what their next steps will be. Students who are ready for immediate vocational ministry placement will prepare for those interviews and the Calling and Vocation team will coach them through the process. 

Those pursuing graduate degrees are able to utilize the Foursquare minister in transition appointment to hold their active credentials until a more permanent appointment can be finalized after graduate school.

“Beyond graduate school, the minister in transition appointment has enabled students to reengage local church ministry in their hometowns after graduation without the immediate pressure of being appointed to a church,” Lisa Penberthy says. “This allows them space to hear from the Lord and find the best fit for their gifts and calling.”

“The Polity Course and licensing process have encouraged me to ask myself, God, and leaders around me some hard questions that I was reluctant to ask before,” Katie Reyes says. “The coaching I received was very helpful, and I walked way from this experience feeling empowered to do what God has placed on my heart.”