Presidential Selection Process

In 2023, the Foursquare convention voting body will have the opportunity to vote on an update to the presidential selection process. Learn more about that proposed bylaw change as well as how to get your questions answered.

A strengthened Presidential Selection Process

As is done after each presidential election, the Presidential Selection Process (PSP) task force evaluates the selection process with the goal of strengthening the process. This board- appointed task force met for a year to discuss how to strengthen our presidential selection process. After first looking at the desired end-unity and celebration of our next president- the PSP looked at what it would take to get us there as a movement. After much prayer + discussion, the strengthened process was presented to the board + cabinet, and then the convention voting body.

Historical context for the presidential selection

Throughout our denomination’s 99-year history, Foursquare has had seven presidents, not including interim presidents, and no two have used the same election process. Learn more about the presidential selection processes Foursquare has used in the past, as well as the full context on the proposal that will be shaped with your feedback and then voted on at Foursquare Connection 2023 in Anaheim, Calif.

Presidential Selection Process History

1980s: Rolf K. McPherson

Following the death of his mother, Foursquare’s founder Aimee Semple McPherson, Rolf K. McPherson became the second president of The Foursquare Church. In the 1980s, “Doctor,” as he was affectionately known, prepared to retire after 44 years as president, denominational leadership determined that the presidency would no longer be an appointed lifelong role, and the first presidential selection process was developed.

1988: John R. Holland

The process began at convention, with both nominees and then candidates being identified by the voting delegates present at business meetings. This was followed by the Foursquare cabinet interviewing each of the three and selecting John R. Holland as the third president to lead The Foursquare Church. As the concluding step, credentialed ministers ratified him through a mail-in ballot.

1998: Paul Risser

The second presidential selection process also included both mail-in and in-person involvement. A mail-in survey was used to accept nominations. Then, in a series of added steps, the cabinet vetted nominees and decided on two candidates. Selection concluded at convention with the delegates voting for Paul Risser to serve as our fourth president.

2004: Jack Hayford

The presidential selection process that produced our fifth president was the shortest in our history, lasting less than three months. Thus, the ministerium was not given the opportunity to submit nominees. Rather, the members of cabinet did the work of nominating, as well as vetting and selecting, candidates for president. Broader ministerial involvement occurred at convention, when the three ministers were presented by way of a photo, written bio and a one-page, written presentation. In-person voting was conducted, and Jack Hayford became our next leader.

2010: Glenn Burris Jr.

Returning to the involvement of our ministers at the beginning of the process, the next presidential selection began with each credentialed minister being asked to submit presidential nominations. Having been expanded to now include elder and younger representatives, the cabinet received and vetted the list of nominees, interviewed four individuals, and ultimately decided on two presidential candidates. Rather than waiting until convention, the candidates were introduced soon after the conclusion of cabinet, when photos, bios, resumes and written responses to five questions were posted online. At convention, the two candidates addressed the convention body in a morning session; at a session held later that same day, voting commenced, and Glenn Burris Jr. was named as our sixth president.

2020: Randy Remington

Our most recent presidential selection began with the goal of having a more highly informed and involved constituency. As in the past, each credentialed minister was given the opportunity to submit the names of nominees for consideration. Working with the nominations that were received, cabinet vetting resulted in four nominees who were interviewed, and from whom two candidates were determined. The week following cabinet, candidate information was released on the Foursquare website. Then, over the course of a few weeks, the candidates participated in six presidential forums that were made available for in-person and online participation.

Goals of a strengthened process

• We seek greater opportunity for the Holy
Spirit to work and to discern what the Lord is
saying about selecting our “most senior
pastor”- the president of The Foursquare
• We encourage greater participation from all
credentialed ministers, which has historically
been low. More participation and
opportunities to engage should increase the
voice of the field. This will lead to greater
unity over the outcome instead of opening us
up to the possibility of greater division.
• Consistency is the key to any healthy
relationship, this includes consistency in our
governance. The goal is to create a system
that is both consistent with God’s Word and
our Foursquare’s polity, policies and
procedures that are already established and
we already believe in. Consistency will
produce confidence in our outcome.

• Foursquare Connection should be a
celebration of future presidents that
the Lord gives us. While elections
have a tendency to divide, we want
to get rid of unnecessary confusion
and stress surrounding a typical
election. Instead, a unified body of
believers can trust in the leading of
the Holy Spirit so we can celebrate
his outcomes.
• Clear communication is crucial so
that credentialed ministers will have
ample opportunity to give input.
Ministers should have a voice in the
outcome so that we can have
confidence in the outcome.

The proposed presidential selection process

See the process come to life by watching this video, which was first shared at Foursquare Connection 2022

What’s next?

1. This fall, each Foursquare Leader Conference will include dedicated time to explain the proposed updates to the presidential selection process as well as time for Q+A. Prioritize attending one of these local district events so that you can be well informed in advance of Foursquare Connection 2023.

2. Following the Foursquare Leader Conference feedback, the cabinet will convene in March 2023 to determine the proposed bylaw amendment.

3. Finally, the bylaw amendment will be presented to the 2023 convention voting body, where it may be ratified by licensed ministers.

Presidential Selection Process FAQ

Bylaw changes needed for this proposal will be submitted to the ministerium at Foursquare Connection 2023 in Anaheim, Calif.

Yes. You can submit questions using this form. Also, each Foursquare Leader Conference will provide space for conversation regarding the process.

You can submit questions using this form. Also, you can discuss this with your district-elected board member.

No. It is a response to our desire to be more Spirit-filled, biblically aligned, and consistent in our polity and process for selecting our “chief senior pastor.”

As part of our regular rhythm of evaluation, the board of directors in June 2021 received a report regarding our historical narrative for selecting presidents. A task force of the board was formed to address the questions and concerns of the board which resulted in the proposal presented to the cabinet in March 2022 for discussion.

If, for some reason, Randy Remington chooses to not go through the ratification process for a second term, the selection process would begin in 2024. For a new process to be implemented by then, bylaw changes would need to be addressed in 2023.

No. Their voice in the election of board members and cabinet members becomes more important, as does their input regarding the presidential profile and potential nominees. Their ratification vote is also a significant part of the process.

Cabinet and board members are selected through district elections in the fall and spring. The process includes recommendations from the ministers in the district, nominations submitted by the supervisor and district council, and a district-wide election via electronic balloting. (Foursquare Bylaws 6.3.B, 11.1.1.B)

Two elected representatives from each district will sit on the vetting committee (one from the board and one from the cabinet). The corporate secretary chairs the committee.

A detailed bio, along with a video of the candidate’s vision for Foursquare, will be available to all pastors. Cabinet members will interview the candidate and have a deep knowledge of their capacity, as well. 

A 2/3 ratification vote will ensure the new president has the confidence of a larger portion of our pastors than a simple majority would allow.

Jesus appointed the apostles to service, and Paul appointed elders of local churches. Electing church leaders cannot be found in the New Testament canon. Electing leaders is a cultural, denominational and legal practice—not a scriptural one.  While elections and voting don’t violate any scripture, they often fail to express God’s will. (Acts 6:3; 14:23-25)


We would follow the process as spelled out in our bylaws at that time.

The job description is set by our bylaws. The presidential profile is developed by the cabinet with input from the ministerium.

The ministerium’s participation in nominating persons for the office of president, as well as the cabinet’s responsibility of selecting the candidates for the office of president, remain the same.

It shortens it. The board, with input from Randy Remington and Glenn Burris Jr., felt the timeline could be shortened and more detail given to the president-elect’s role during the transition.

The current process remains.

Have questions or feedback on the presidential selection process?

We want to make sure all questions are answered in advance of Foursquare Connection 2023. Please fill out this form to ask your questions or to offer any feedback that might be helpful as the task force continues to shape the proposed bylaw.