The Goal is Christlikeness for Everyone—To Do All He Commands
With the Church of the Nazarene facing some of the biggest generational and cultural changes in 60 years, the Board of General Superintendents voted unanimously in its December 2006 meeting to update language used to define the mission as it approaches its Centennial in 2008.To make Christlike disciples in the nations
is the new seven-word statement of mission for the 1.8 million member denomination.
This mission is built on the Church of the Nazarene’s core values of being Christian, holiness, and missional.
While the primary motive of the church is to glorify God, the Board believes the church is also called to actively participate in His mission of reconciling the world to himself.
“The seven words in the statement of mission embody the historical essentials of Nazarene mission—evangelism, sanctification, discipleship, compassion, and equipping all who respond in faith,” noted Dr. Jerry Porter, general superintendent. “The essence of holiness is Christlikeness.”
“The Church of the Nazarene is blessed with some of the most dedicated disciples of any denomination. Our goal is to build on this strength,” Dr. Porter emphasized.
Dr. Jesse Middendorf, general superintendent, added, “We’re also moving from a ‘sending’ to a ‘sent’ church. The responsibility is to be a witness, helping make Christlike disciples, in whatever nation we happen to be. And missionaries are now sent from all regions of the world.”
The Board recognizes that thousands of statements have been created by Nazarene churches, districts, regions, and educational institutions since the denomination last revised the wording of its statement of mission in the early 1980s.
Dr. Nina Gunter, general superintendent, said the Board of General Superintendents believes now more than ever there is a reason to have a clear, overarching statement of mission. “Since the denomination has a presence in 156 world areas, the need is for something succinct and translatable.
“After 10 years of review the decision was made in part to try to capture what is now taking place in the church—a renewed desire to lift up Christ and be more like the Savior. This is especially so among the church’s youth and young adults,” observed Dr. Gunter.
The Board’s decision was based on the following:
• Timing. Going through major generational and cultural change is the time to clarify, renew, and revitalize something, including the mission.
• Simplification. In a 24/7, over-communicated society, it's an over-simplified (but not
simplistic) message that has the best chance of getting through.
• Stewardship. The church, and especially the General Board, cannot attempt everything and remain viable. There must be focus and priorities of mission in order to properly allocate limited financial and human resources.
Congregations and others are encouraged to use the new statement of mission. How and where the statement is used is a local decision. The Board of General Superintendents intends this statement to be complementary and compatible with what has already been developed in many churches and institutions. It underscores the common ground shared by Nazarenes everywhere.
To help communicate this change, bookmarks and posters are being made available to congregations worldwide in different languages through district assemblies.