Speaking for the Board of General Superintendents (BGS), Jesse C. Middendorf delivered the State of the Church Quadrennial Address on Monday morning during the Church of the Nazarene's 27th General Assembly.
The address was preceded by a purposeful time of prayer to open the Assembly's session. General Superintendent J.K. Warrick led delegates in prayer, asking them to huddle together in small groups. The prayer time was divided into three parts: 1) Seeking the face of God, 2) Submitting to the Lordship of Jesus and 3) Sustaining the unity of the Holy Spirit.
Following this season of prayer, the Assembly moved into deliberations of session business. Perhaps the highlight of the morning was the comprehensive report by the BGS on the State of the Church.
Among the many topics addressed by Middendorf and the BGS was Article X ("Entire Sanctification") of the Articles of Faith. He said his Board is recommending slight changes to Articles X, noting these modifications are recommended after the BGS consulted with faculty at Nazarene Theological Seminary, faculty at other Nazarene schools around the world, and extensive discussions on the subject at the recent Global Theology Conference in the Netherlands. Middendorf said these modifications will clarify and strengthen the Article. The late resolution submitted to the Assembly by the BGS would change the title to "Christian Holiness and Entire Sanctification," provide the article with a basic definition of sanctification, and reference "initial sanctification" as the point where God's gracious act of transforming grace begins in a new believer's life.
The address called for "More Mission, Less Structure" in the church, focusing on economic changes aimed to strengthen the local church across the globe. Sixty-four percent of the Church of the Nazarene's membership is now located outside the USA/Canada Region, he reported.
"A movement is happening where small churches are seen as normal," Middendorf said. "House churches, organic churches, and other forms of church are emerging..."
Middendorf stated that for the church to move forward, its structure must be missional, connectional, relational, flexible, affordable, and accountable.
As he concluded the address, Middendorf stated that with the Lord's help...
- • The Church of the Nazarene will make it through the economic downturn-coming out stronger and more focused on the other side.
- • The church will continue preaching God's sanctifying grace.
- • The church will continue evangelizing and making Christlike disciples.
- • The church will continue sending missionaries.
- • The church will continue starting churches.
- • The church will continue helping those in need.
"Yet it is only by taking time to be holy and seeking a deeper work of God in our life that our mission can be sustained," he said.
"Herein lies the Nazarene future-making Christlike disciples in the nations by the power of the Holy Spirit.
"May a fresh anointing of the Spirit of God for this supernatural task come to His church this very day."
Delegates and audience members responded to the Board of General Superintendents' report with a standing ovation.Click here
to view the delivery of the 2009 Quadrennial Address or to read it in manuscript.
--BGS, NCN News