Church of the Nazarene

Church of the Nazarene
Nazarene Seal.png
Seal of the Church of the Nazarene
PolityMixed. Elements of Congregationalist,
and Episcopal polities.
AssociationsChristian Holiness Partnership;
National Association of Evangelicals;
World Methodist Council;
Global Wesleyan Alliance
FounderInclude: Phineas F. Bresee,
Hiram F. Reynolds,
William Howard Hoople,
Mary Lee Cagle,
Robert Lee Harris,
J.B. Chapman,
and C. W. Ruth.
OriginOctober 13, 1908
Pilot Point, Texas
Merger of15 Holiness denominations 1907–1988
SeparationsPentecost-Pilgrim Church (1917);
Bible Missionary Church (1955);
Holiness Church of the Nazarene (1958);
Church of the Bible Covenant (1967).
Congregations30,574 (2016)
Members2,471,553 (2016)

The Church of the Nazarene is an evangelical Christian denomination that emerged from the 19th-century Holiness movement in North America. With its members commonly referred to as Nazarenes, it is the largest Wesleyan-holiness denomination in the world.[1][2] At the end of September 2016 the Church of the Nazarene had 2,471,553 members in 30,574 churches in 162 different "world areas".[3] The Church of the Nazarene uses "world area" to describe countries and areas that are a part of a country, but may be known by a different name. More than 20 of the denomination's 162 world areas fall into this category, such as Guam, a U.S. territory on the Asia-Pacific Region.[4][5][6][7] With 626,811 members at the end of 2016, the United States was the nation with the greatest number of Nazarenes.[8] Other nations with large Nazarene populations include Mozambique (202,118), Brazil (153,002), India (136,079), Haiti (134,236), Bangladesh (123,192), Guatemala (90,101), Mexico (70,700), Peru (67,394), Benin (56,036), and Ethiopia (50,361).[8] In 2016, the Church of the Nazarene had the highest percentage presence in the nations of Barbados (where its members constitute 2.84% of the population), Cape Verde (1.54% of the population), Swaziland (1.42% of the population), Haiti (1.34% of the population) Mozambique (0.82% of the population), and Samoa (0.66% of the population).

The global mission of the Church of the Nazarene since its beginnings has been "to respond to the Great Commission of Christ to ‘go and make disciples of all nations’ (Matthew 28:19)".[9] In December 2006, this was expressed more succinctly as "to make Christlike disciples in the nations".[10] This frames the global mission of the denomination. In 2009 the General Assembly indicated in its revision of Article XI of the Manual the means for accomplishing its mission: "making disciples through evangelism, education, showing compassion, working for justice, and bearing witness to the kingdom of God."[11] Since 2001, the three “core values” of the Church have been identified as "Christian, Holiness, Missional".[12] The denominational vision is: "to be a disciple-making church, an international community of faith, in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition."[13] At the 2013 General Assembly, the Board of General Superintendents unveiled seven characteristics for the Church of the Nazarene:

  1. Meaningful Worship
  2. Theological Coherence
  3. Passionate Evangelism
  4. Intentional Discipleship
  5. Church Development
  6. Transformational Leadership
  7. Purposeful Compassion

The Board of General Superintendents affirmed: "While these descriptors do not take the place of our mission 'to make Christlike disciples in the nations' or our core values of 'Christian, holiness and missional,' they describe what we believe should characterize every Church of the Nazarene and in large part, should be reflected by Nazarenes everywhere."[14]

Authorized by the General Assembly, "the supreme doctrine-formulating and lawmaking body of the Church of the Nazarene", the 2013–2017 edition of the Manual is "the official statement of the faith and practice of the church" and "is therefore authoritative as a guide for action". Reflecting the decisions and judgments of ministerial and lay delegates of the Twenty-eighth General Assembly, which met in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A., June 23–27, 2013. The 2013–2017 Manual includes a brief historical statement of the denomination; its Constitution, which defines its 16 Articles of Faith, its understanding of the church, the Covenant of Christian Character for holy living, and principles of organization and government; the Covenant of Christian Conduct, which address key issues of contemporary society; and policies of church government dealing with the local, district, and general church organization.[15]

The Church of the Nazarene supports 52 undergraduate and graduate educational institutions in 35 countries on six continents around the world,[16][17][18][19] with an enrollment of 51,555 students in 2016.[16][17]

While for more than a century the denominational international headquarters was in Kansas City, Missouri, the Global Ministry Center (GMC) has been located at 17001 Prairie Star Parkway, Lenexa, Kansas since September 15, 2008.[20] The Nazarene Publishing House has been located in Kansas City, Missouri since its inception in 1912.