WHAT IS A NAZARENE?
The History of the Christian Church has been marked by successive periods of renewal. During one of these periods in England, God inspired a young Church of England priest with a vision of his grace extended to all humankind. Rev. John Wesley began working with people from all walks of life and thus a spiritual renewal movement was formed. This movement began to spread rapidly throughout England paying no attention to social class or geographic barriers. As the movement made its way to the New World, the excitement and hope that developed for God’s love and grace took on many forms. A widespread holiness revival emerged not only in Methodism itself, but also among most Protestant denominations. Out of this revival, many “holiness associations” were formed. Out of this passion, the Church of the Nazarene was established in October 1908, in Pilot Point, Texas. The words themselves come from Jesus’ birthplace of Nazareth. Therefore, the Nazarene church is proclaiming that it is a denomination that believes in Jesus, “THE Nazarene.”
The Church of the Nazarene is the largest denomination in the Wesleyan holiness tradition. The doctrine that distinguishes the Church of the Nazarene and other Wesleyan denominations from some other Christian denominations is that of entire sanctification. Nazarenes believe that God calls Christians to a life of holy living that is marked by an act of God, cleansing the heart from original sin and filling the individual with love for God and humankind. This experience is marked by entire consecration of the believer to do God’s will and is followed by a life of seeking to serve God through service to others. Like salvation, entire sanctification is an act of God’s grace, not of works. Our service to God is an act of love whereby we show our appreciation for the grace that has been extended to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Nazarenes are a compassionate people who believe in serving others! This is expressed locally through the services of members to our communities. Contributions from Nazarenes make possible the administration of Nazarene Compassionate Ministries in the U.S. and around the world. This enables us to assist and provide support in times of strife, when communities face disaster or famine.
Nazarenes are located in over 170 world areas on 6 continents where we proclaim the transforming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through a preaching, teaching, and healing ministry. The worldwide network of Nazarene churches makes it possible for the denomination to serve as a conduit of assistance to hurting nations. Nazarenes provide money for food, medical supplies, clothing, and other items to persons in a number of countries where there are pressing needs. In addition, the denomination’s missionary infrastructure is often used by World Relief and similar agencies when they need assistance in getting supplies to people of countries in remote or troubled areas.
Nazarenes also offer their time and services on volunteer Work and Witness and Youth In Mission teams to build churches, schools, clinics, and to reach others for Christ.
We gather together at the table of our Lord as a body, to remember His love and grace … and we administer the sacrament of Christian baptism, identifying those who have by faith accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and now are part of the Body of Christ.
At the Heart of Nazarene congregations you will find an emphasis on the individual. It is here that we attempt to address educational needs, equip people for service and personal ministry, and engage our spiritual gifts and graces. Ministries are far and wide in that we try to listen to the needs of our local communities and partner with God and His plans to meet those needs.
Nazarenes are committed to higher education. Throughout the world the church currently sponsors 57 institutions of higher education including 11 liberal arts colleges, 2 graduate seminaries, 41 Bible colleges, 2 nursing schools, and a junior college. Numerous Theological Education by Extension Centers, and elementary and secondary schools also offer instruction at various levels.
To learn more about the church of the Nazarene, check out our denominational web site: http://www.nazarene.org