A foundation established in April recently announced its first grants to evangelism ministries.

But in a rare move, the new Foursquare Foundation fund will tithe each year to ministries outside the denomination.

"We recognize that no one denomination owns the gospel," Greg Campbell, executive director of the Foursquare Foundation, told CT. "In the tradition of our founder [evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson], who was committed to evangelism, not denominationalism, we're going to fund Christian evangelism with the greatest potential for impact—regardless of whose name is on the letterhead."

Dan Busby, vice president of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), called funding nondenominational projects a progressive move by a denominational foundation. The International Church of the Foursquare Gospel became a member of ECFA earlier this year.

The foundation, which expects to give $10 million to evangelism efforts each year, was launched with $200 million from the sale of a Los Angeles radio station started by McPherson in 1924. It has made 12 grants totaling $1.5 million so far in 2005.

One of the foundation's first grants went to Russian Harvest Ministries. RHM is a Fargo, North Dakota-based ministry working in Russia and Ukraine. According to Russian Harvest leader Peter Mehl, the funding will allow the group to conduct 105 three-day evangelistic festivals during the next 12 months, plant 15 new churches, and train 25 Ukrainian evangelists.

Another grant supports the street ministry of Winning Our World (WOW). Wheaton College-educated musician Stephen Tavani and his wife, Linda, who helped sell more than 9 million records in the group Peaches and Herb, conduct the ministry. They offer evangelistic block parties in urban neighborhoods, called WOW jams, which include haircuts, family photos, and bike repairs, with lots of food, high-energy music, drama, and an evangelistic message. The group has conducted WOW jams in 30 cities. But "reaching people in the inner city comes at a great price," Stephen Tavani said. "The foundation grants will enable us to reach more hurting, desperate people."

Other recipients include Children's Gospel Box, S.E.E.K. Project, and Club 3 Degrees, a Christian nightclub in Minneapolis. All 2005 grants will go to U.S.-based ministries, but the foundation will award grants to international groups next year.

Related Elsewhere:

More information about The International Church of the Foursquare Gospel and the Foursquare Foundation are available from their websites. The foundation has more information about its 2005 projects.

CT recently profiled Jack Hayford, president of the Foursquare Gospel denomination.

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