Mauricio Rodriguez uses the word family to describe the people of Angelus Temple. He still remembers the smiles and hugs he and his mother and sisters received at the Los Angeles church when they first arrived in 1988 as immigrants fleeing a civil war in Nicaragua. They went to the church because they needed food. The Angelus Temple gave food away as part of a ministry started during the Great Depression by Aimee Semple McPherson, the famed revivalist who founded the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.

He’s been thinking about that a lot, as The Foursquare Church, which adopted multilingual ministry in its early years and has long advocated for multicultural leadership, is now for the first time hiring a diversity advocate to work on the denominational level. Rodriguez held the position in 2019, when it began as a one-year assignment.

“There are opportunities that God is placing right in front of us,” Rodriguez said. “In the same way that I was welcomed when I came as a three-year-old boy who didn’t understand I was an immigrant and didn’t understand the language, love overcomes language barriers and anything if we would just truly love people the way God has loved us.”

For one year, Rodriguez identified challenges for people from different language and ethnic groups starting Foursquare churches in the US.

There are ministers from 74 nations, speaking 33 different primary languages, in the US denomination. There are also 477 immigrant congregations that operate as ministries of established Foursquare churches. Leadership expects to launch 200 more in 2020.

“It’s easy to create a process through a lens of administration,” Rodriguez said. “The perspective ...

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