The Board of General Superintendents (L-R): Eugenio R. Duarte, Jesse C. Middendorf, Jerry D. Porter, Stan A. Toler, J. K. Warrick, David W. Graves.
'Our Mission Connexion'
Sunday, February 27, 2011
Louisville, Kentucky
Prepared and presented by Eugenio R. Duarte

February 2011

On behalf of the Board of General Superintendents, I officially welcome you to the 88th session of the General Board of the Church of the Nazarene. We thank God for your safe arrival in Louisville, Kentucky, USA. Some of you came early to attend the M11 Conference, and it has been good to be in fellowship this past week with our brothers and sisters in Christ from all regions of the Nazarene world.

According to our historical records, other than adjourned sessions that become part of the next General Assembly, the General Board has convened away from the Kansas City, Missouri, USA, area only three times since 1908.

As we examine the state of the Church of the Nazarene, it is important to recognize those with whom the General Board works throughout the year. Our appreciation goes to pastors, district superintendents, district secretaries, missionaries, evangelists, chaplains, college presidents, the Global Mission Team, regional directors, and field strategy coordinators.

In my role as general superintendent, I am learning just how much I depend on others to help with duties to which I am assigned - especially our staff at the Global Ministry Center (GMC). Thanks for all you do.

Our gratitude also goes to General Secretary David Wilson and his staff for  the excellent way in which they make events such as this come together. It takes a lot of work to organize and manage the details of General Board. Join with me in expressing thanks to these dedicated servants of the church.

Review of 2010

In 2010 the Church of the Nazarene reached the two-million mark in full and associate membership. There was a record number of new Nazarenes: 173,204 - a 4.55 percent gain over 2009. It is worth noting that just 20 percent of the world areas produced 96 percent of the membership growth in 2010.

It was also the best year ever for organizing churches. During each of the past four years the denomination has organized over 1,000 churches worldwide. This year's total of 1,327 is 149 more than the previous record set in 2009.

These are achievements for which we give God the honor and glory for the great things He is doing through the Church of the Nazarene. We praise Him for these blessings.

While this is a time for celebration, and we do celebrate these milestones, it is also a moment for reflection. Moving on too quickly would diminish the significance of what God is making it possible for the church to do.

These figures are not just statistics in a report. They represent two million individuals, living in widely-varying conditions somewhere in 156 world areas, who call the Church of the Nazarene their "home."

They are Indians. Germans. Russians. Koreans. Thais. Argentinians. Guatemalans. Americans. Canadians. Puerto Ricans. Nigerians. South Africans. Cape Verdeans. And so many more.

They are teachers. Construction workers. Truck drivers. Three-wheel taxi drivers.  Representatives in government. Business owners. Students. Artists. Musicians. Shopkeepers. Military personnel. Homemakers. And caregivers.

They are farmers. Doctors and nurses. Chemists. Factory workers. And software  developers.

Some are highly educated. Others have no formal education. Some are people of financial means. Others are poor. And myriads are somewhere in the middle. They live in developed and developing worlds. Every age group is represented in the church.

Our prayer for this diverse woven tapestry called the Church of the Nazarene is that each individual will be like Christ.

"Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others" (Philippians 2:1-4, NASB).

Enlarging the church increases its responsibilities for making Christlike disciples in the nations. People need friendship, assimilation, and equipping, not just a place on the membership rolls. Membership engagement may be the true measure of the church's effectiveness. The number of Nazarenes who put their faith into action on a regular basis is actually more important than the membership total. It is important that we talk about the right things.

What did we do to achieve two million in membership? Part of the answer can be known. Another part will always remain among the "mysteries of God."

Paul, in his first letter to the church at Corinth, reminds us of the importance of laboring together. "I planted the seed. Apollos watered it, but God made it grow" (1 Corinthians 3:6, NIV).

For just over ten decades, local, district, educational, and general interests have joined together, empowered by the Holy Spirit, to minister to the spiritual and physical needs around us. But it is God who causes His church to grow.

In 1908 at the merger in Pilot Point, Texas, USA, the Church of the Nazarene began with 10,034 members, 228 congregations, 11 districts, and 21 missionaries. Now our church, young by most standards, continues to expand its spiritual and missional footprint through the 26,353 local churches - "the representation of our faith."

There is a price to pay for significant accomplishments in life, including those that take place within the church. Some have paid for a portion of this great harvest with their lives; they are martyrs of the faith, and we will never know most of their names. Their Christian witness was bold in dangerous situations, but they held fast - as did the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11.

These Nazarenes are part of the persecuted church, and they inspire all of us.

Others changed the direction of their lives after hearing the call of Jesus to "follow Me."

They relocated to another part of the world and began preaching, teaching, and attending to physical needs. Still others became witnesses at home. They prayed, fasted, and gave faithfully to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Pastors were called. Missionaries were sent. People came into the experience of entire sanctification. Churches were planted. Schools were built. Medical clinics opened along with compassionate ministry centers. All this was done by working together because no one could do it alone.

John Wesley referred to this design as a "mission connexion."

He recognized the need for an organized system of communication and accountability and developed what he called the "connexion." The main idea is that no local church is the total body of Christ. The movements of God in a particular area actually represent the whole body, not just one part.

Obedience, prayer, fellowship in the Spirit, and ministering cooperatively explain, to a large extent, how the church got to where it is today. Will these essentials hold together in the future? God trusts those represented in this room today to answer the question.

Funding the Mission

The general interests of the Church of the Nazarene, including its General Board funded missionaries, educational institutions, and the Global Ministry Center, continue adjusting to lower levels of financial support.

For accountability and transparency, the Board of General Superintendents (BGS) approved posting the Official Receipts Report on line, making it possible for everyone to have access to giving totals for the World Evangelism Fund (WEF) and mission specials. This can be viewed at by clicking on the Giving Receipts Update link.

Greater monthly fluctuations resulting from an income-based formula are prompting the General Treasurer's Office to find new ways to project income and manage expenses.

In terms of finances, it is a new day at the GMC.

Giving to the World Evangelism Fund totaled $45.2 million in 2010, a decline of $1.8 million from 2009. Mission specials recorded $26.8 million in contributions, a $4.9 million decrease from 2009. The ripple effects of a severe economic recession are still being felt by the general interests of the church. It is possible that the Global Ministry Center has not reached the bottom in WEF giving.

This past year the BGS launched WEF PLUS/Challenge 2010. This was an appeal to the church for six million additional dollars to help offset the loss of income due to changes in the budget formula and a hard-hit global economy. As of the end of January 2011, WEF PLUS raised $1.2 million (US).

While this amount falls far short of the original goal, it represents another level of  sacrificial and generous giving on the part of Nazarenes who deeply believe in their church and its mission. To all who have given to WEF, WEF PLUS, and mission specials, we offer thanks for your support.

Difficult choices are being faced at the Global Ministry Center and the regional offices, including our missionary enterprise. As general superintendents, we are trusting God to lead us in the direction He wants the church to go. Our desire is to listen to His voice and be obedient to His will.

Regional Changes

Since the 2010 General Board session, the Board of General Superintendents completed arrangements for transfer of jurisdiction for the Caribbean Region from J. K. Warrick to me (Eugenio Duarte). This was added to my on-going jurisdiction for the Mexico and Central America Region (MAC). Carlos Saenz, regional director for MAC, has been appointed to additionally serve as interim director of the Caribbean Region. John Smee, who has been regional director of the Caribbean since April 1994, resigned 30 June 2010.

A commission composed of representatives from both regions analyzed the different aspects of creating a new region. Based on missional, financial, historical, and geographical facts, and attentive to concerns expressed by various entities, the Global Mission director and the regional director for Caribbean and MAC submitted the work of the commission to the Board of
General Superintendents.

This report included recommendations for creating a new region out of the existing Caribbean and MAC Regions. This would involve establishing a regional center in a new location and reorganizing existing fields.

Dr. Saenz is preparing a structure that brings the two regions into one mode of operation, which could be implemented as soon as all approvals are given. Current representation of the two regions at General Board will remain in place until the end of the quadrennium.

This eliminates the expense of operating one of the regional offices. Realigning Caribbean and MAC also allows the chairman of the Board of General Superintendents to function in single jurisdiction over the Global Ministry Center and Nazarene Publishing House without a jurisdictional assignment outside the United States during most of his or her two years in that role.

Complying with the 2010 General Board action, the proposal to create a new Global Mission region gives support for a final decision that is to come before the General Board on Monday on 28 February 2011.

Global Ministry Center

Leslie Hart, from Nashville, Tennessee, USA, was elected children's ministry director in 2010 following the retirement of Lynda Boardman. Rev. Hart is doing a commendable job with children's programming. She reports directly to Woodie Stevens, director of Sunday School and Discipleship Ministries International.

The Board of General Superintendents is implementing another of its White Paper recommendations (Number 6) approved by the 2009 General Board to create a coordinated communications effort to share their vision and mission with the church. The BGS approved the creation of an internal communications agency (ICA) to coordinate this responsibility. The ICA is comprised of existing personnel from the GMC and is under the direction of the BGS chair and the general secretary.

An Interconnected Church

There are three phases of development in the life of an organization. The first is "dependence." The second is "independence." And the third and most important is "interdependence." Interdependence, a value expressed in the Manual (section 200), is the healthiest form of a relationship and should be one of the key measures of our growth and maturity as a body of believers.

The church is more than connected. It is interconnected. The ties that bind us are stronger than a single cord that can be cut at any given time.

What is the source of our common bond?

It is Jesus Christ.

The teaching of Jesus is clear - our primary relationship, fellowship, and connection is with Him. This is the only way we may be called His disciples.

"I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit while every branch that does bear fruit he trims clean so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:1-5, NIV).

Our starting point in fruitful living is not to work harder or to produce the right program. Fruitful living results from spending more time with Jesus Christ. The enabling and empowering of strong and healthy relationships comes through the leadership of the Holy Spirit. "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever - the Spirit of truth" (John 14:16-17, NIV).

"Impossible!" is often the response of people who read the verse in which Jesus says that He expects the disciples to continue His work - and to do even greater things than He had accomplished (John 14:12).

Yet through the power of the Spirit, whom Jesus sent after His ascension, and a deeper level of prayer among the disciples, there were more converts in response to the initial sermon of Peter at Pentecost than those recorded for Jesus during His entire career. Through the disciples Jesus multiplied His ministry, and the Church is to do likewise.

Here are several illustrations of interconnectedness within our church, underscoring the way Nazarenes have taken seriously Jesus' admonition to do "even greater things" by working together.

Grass Roots Initiatives

Our denominational system of mission is unique. It allows for individual and group initiatives that may move through the system when appropriate. Some of the most creative and sustainable ideas have come from the grass roots of the church as Nazarenes respond to existing needs. Alabaster is a good example of this.

During the General Nazarene Missions International Convention in 1972, Paul  Gamertsfelder from Central Ohio, USA, was given the assignment of involving men in missions. In January 1974 the first official "Men in Missions" team was organized and went to Panama.

On that trip, awareness of the tremendous need for buildings emerged. The team returned home to promote the idea of sending others to construct buildings on mission fields. What began as "Men in Missions" officially became "Work and Witness" in 1984.

Today, Work and Witness is a ministry that has literally changed the face of missions in every corner of the world. Churches from many different nations participate each year. Over 190,000 people have been involved in raising millions of dollars (US) toward a variety of building projects.

Education and Mission

The Church of the Nazarene's DNA has a strong educational component. Currently the denomination has 54 schools in 35 countries, connecting education with mission. A variety of systems serve the church, including liberal arts, graduate seminaries, theological schools and colleges, undergraduate seminaries, certificate and diploma Bible colleges, as well as specialized training schools.

Our educational institutions are increasingly working across borders and cultures to train and educate pastors, missionaries, evangelists, and lay leaders. Technology enables this effort, but it is also driven by a passion among educators to help advance the mission of the church.

Instruction in church doctrine and polity is taking on greater importance in rapidly-growing areas such as Africa and South Asia.

Missionaries from Korea

Local Nazarene churches on the Korea District have been sending missionaries to different areas of the world for several years. The Korean church is not seeking to establish a parallel missionary system, but instead, one that feeds into the existing structure. The Global Mission Office for the Church of the Nazarene provides mission strategy and accountability.

Currently there are 29 sponsored Nazarene missionaries from Korea. They serve in the Asia-Pacific, Eurasia, and Africa regions. Nearly 50 percent of these missionaries are located in creative access countries and a few serve other churches. Except for one global missionary couple and several of the regional couples, support for these missionaries comes mainly from the Korea District.

Other countries are doing similar things, and this kind of missionary-sending initiative from various world areas will expand in the coming years.

Compassionate Ministries

Care for people runs deep in the Church of the Nazarene. Helping those in need is part of the Christlikeness of our mission. The most recent illustration of this concern is the ministry in Haiti following the earthquake that took the lives of over 200,000 people and displaced one million a little over 13 months ago.

General Superintendent J. K. Warrick, who was there when the earthquake struck, recently published an update on the situation in Haiti. Dr. Warrick reported that Nazarene Compassionate Ministries has distributed:

  • More than 425,000 pounds of food.
  • 8,000 Crisis Care Kits.
  • 50,000 pounds of water.
  • 20,000 pounds of additional relief supplies, including generators.
  • 50,000 pounds of medical supplies and children's vitamins (through Nazarene medical clinics and mobile medical volunteer teams).

Throughout Haiti's 11 Nazarene districts, more than 4,000 families received food, water, and hygiene kits through Nazarene distribution efforts. This includes families in more than 75 specific communities. The next phases of work will focus more on long-term projects.

Nazarenes opened their hearts in a time of economic stress, giving $4.6 million (US) to this demonstrated need. According to Nazarene Compassionate Ministries, giving for Haiti has been the most generous response from the global church in NCM's history.

There has been recent flooding and loss of life in Australia and Brazil similar to the disasters in Pakistan a year ago. Nazarenes are finding ways to respond to these crises as well.

A Sent Church

Another example of interdependence can be found on the Northern California District, USA. It is here that District Superintendent John Calhoun has 79 ordained elders and licensed ministers from 20 different countries serving in churches.

Rather than looking for pastors from other faith-based groups, Dr. Calhoun has reached into the Nazarene system of mission to enlist individuals with backgrounds and training in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition.

Role of the United States

The United States is a country blessed in many ways. While presently going through tough economic times, Americans remain generous in their support of worthy causes. Giving has never been the exclusive province of wealthy people. Indeed, the group in the United States that gives the most to charity in proportion to income is the working poor.

In 2009 Americans gave $300 billion to charity - almost twice what was spent on consumer electronic equipment, including cell phones, iPods, and DVD players.(1)

From the earliest days of the church, Nazarenes in the United States have prayed, fasted, and answered the call to go to other countries to share the gospel. They have given financially in support of evangelism, disciple making, compassion, and higher education. In 2010 the U.S. church gave $42.7 million to the World Evangelism Fund and $19.4 million to mission specials.

The church in the United States is an important part of our global connections and is not used as an example here because of its level of financial support. After all, the call is for equal sacrifice, not equal giving. Instead, the church in America is mentioned here because of its continued unselfish spirit of giving to others during a decade in which its own membership growth has leveled off.

Gift of Translation

How is it possible to communicate in a global church without common language, terms, and understanding? The most overlooked element in forming an "international holiness communion" may be translation. From its inception, the Church of the Nazarene has made it a priority to provide holiness literature in as many languages as possible.

This is a theological as well as a publishing decision.

Technology is now taking Nazarene publications to new levels of opportunity for making Christlike disciples.

Last year Global Nazarene Publications, supported largely by the World Evangelism Fund, produced 310 new books - an average of six books per week - with 60 different languages represented in this number. Seven new languages were added in 2010. Nazarene books are now available on the Kindle book reader.

What Gutenberg's press did for Europe in the 15th century the Espresso Book Machine ( may do for the contemporary world. Fifteen Nazarene titles are in the Expresso Book Machine system worldwide. Named the "Best Invention of 2007" by TIME Magazine, the Espresso Machine can print, bind, and trim a library-quality, 300-page book in less than four minutes. Production cost is a penny per page.

More Espresso production locations are being added in England, The Netherlands, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, China, Japan, and Australia.

Along with the Espresso Machine, there is a solar-powered, portable audio device called Papyrus ( that reads books aloud. The New Testament is available in over 500 languages.

This device reads from removable Secure Digital (SD) cards, and the amplification can be heard by up to 200 people. Nazarene publications will begin showing up on SD cards soon, making it possible for those still learning to read to be able to hear everything, from the Bible to the Pastors' Course of Study.

While not taking the place of personal relationships, digital products provide a cost-effective connection for growing areas of the church.

Power of One

The "Power of One" is a new global evangelism and discipling initiative just launched at M11 for USA/Canada. This tool is already being implemented in Eurasia and South America. It is in different inception phases on other regions. We believe God is searching for ONE person, ONE family, ONE congregation to be radically surrendered to Christ, willing to lead friends and family to Him and to the Church, to disciple believers, to launch new congregations, to do the work of compassion and justice. Will you be the ONE?

Canadian Outreach

The 1930s through 1950s was an era of rapid expansion of the Church of the Nazarene in Canada. During that time there was a clear sense among Canadian Nazarenes that God had something important for them to accomplish outside the borders of Canada.

Several Canadian missionaries were sent through the International Church of the  Nazarene and other mission agencies to India, Formosa (Taiwan), Africa, and the Caribbean.

On the list were Jack and Natalie Holstead, Mary Wallace, Jean Darling, William and Lenore Pease, Hilda Moen, and Olive Kilshaw. These people became "household names" in Canada as people prayed, sent financial support, did "box-work," and provided for the missionaries in various other ways.

The emphasis on specific compassionate ministries came somewhat later. In 1983 a group of 13 Canadian Christian denominations (including the Church of the Nazarene) created the Canadian Food Grains Bank, a consortium with a specific mandate of finding ways to channel excess Canadian grain (usually wheat) to needy countries around the world.

In the earliest days, involvement was largely through Canada West District - which includes the largest grain-growing area in Canada - and its superintendent, Glenn Follis. Many farmers began to dedicate the produce from a portion of their acreage to the food bank. Some urban churches began raising offerings to assist in the effort.

Sometime in 1993, the Canadian national director, Neil Hightower, was visiting Nazarene churches in Alberta when he was invited to speak at Edmonton Southside Church. He had recently returned from a trip to General Assembly where he had met a young Nazarene pastor from Bangladesh, Rev. Nathan. Rev. Nathan, formerly a Baptist pastor, had become a Nazarene, thanks to the influence of Franklin Cook and Steve Weber. He, his late wife, Rina, their two children, Alex and Shawon, and his sister, Elsie, became the first members of the Church of the Nazarene in Bangladesh.

During the service at Edmonton Southside, Dr. Hightower mentioned the plight of the people of Bangladesh, a country of 140 million people (at that time). This country's land area is about the size of the state of Iowa, USA, and only two-thirds of it is arable.

Edmonton Southside Church made an immediate gift of $10,000 that was designated to provide food assistance to the people of Bangladesh.

Dr. Hightower arranged for the $10,000 to be leveraged through the food bank, and Nathan returned to Bangladesh with $50,000 worth of grain! About the same time, the Church of the Nazarene International began partnering with Campus Crusade in sponsoring the JESUS Film. Nathan saw this as an ideal evangelistic tool to use in conjunction with food relief. He immediately began to organize and coordinate teams to travel to the villages of Bangladesh offering food for the hungry and sharing the gospel with all who would listen.

The JESUS Film has been one of the "engines" that has driven the growth of the Church of the Nazarene in Bangladesh.

Additional Canadians connections were made in the Eurasia Region, particularly through Hermann Gschwandtner, who has been regularly involved in assisting Nathan with the work in Bangladesh. Elaine Bumstead, from Nazarene Compassionate Ministries Canada, is a frequent traveler to Bangladesh and other countries. She has become a champion of these compassionate projects, combining care with good management of the programs.

Five years ago, as it became apparent that the rapid growth of the Church of the Nazarene in Bangladesh was creating the need for properly-prepared pastors, the church in Canada began a pilot program to fund the basic education of pastors through South Asia Nazarene Bible College.

For the past three years, the Bangladesh students' tuition was significantly funded by the Canada Church of the Nazarene at a total of over $100,000. Additionally, the Canada churches have committed $20,000 per year for the next three years for enrolled students.

This effort culminated in March of 2010 with the ordination of 193 students, including 30 women. The unprecedented size of the group required two sitting general superintendents and two general superintendents emeriti to complete the ordinations. On the platform, local elders and I joined General Superintendent Jesse C. Middendorf, who presided over the ordination, along with emeriti James H. Diehl and Nina G. Gunter, to pray over each candidate.

In addition to pastoral education, the Canadian church has helped dig tube wells for safe water and provided food relief for drought-stricken areas. Funds were made available for creative access areas, allowing families of believers to purchase goats as a source of milk and income.
Each step of the way the good news of Jesus has been and is still shared with people in need.

Here is Clair MacMillan, national director of Canada...

"I sense that it has helped the Church of the Nazarene Canada to understand that our most important contribution to the Kingdom of God at this time is international, not domestic. Canada expects to continue its commitments in South Asia and central Africa. Canadian Nazarenes are deeply committed to the redevelopment of Haiti." - Clair MacMillan

We praise the Lord for the obedience and vision of Canadian Nazarenes. A "miracle of God" is the only way to describe how 20 years ago a providential encounter by a Canadian leader (Neil Hightower) with a young preacher from another part of the world (Nathan Biswah) could turn into transformational and life-saving relationships for thousands of people across several continents.

These are contemporary examples of what it means to be a globally-connected church - our mission connections now move in all directions. Individuals, partnerships, and sponsoring entities such as universities are taking advantage of a denominational system of mission that makes it possible for this type of activity to occur.

An observer of organizational life once commented that if a leader knows everything that is going on, there is not enough going on. This is the case in the Church of the Nazarene.

However, without the theological foundations and the organizational contributions like missionary support, education, Alabaster Offering, travel, and insurance on people and property, evangelistic and compassionate opportunities could not be pursued in such an entrepreneurial way.

The difference between the Church of the Nazarene and other faith-based organizations is its commitment to the long term, with resources provided by the church to back up that commitment. This is the Nazarene difference.

Commission on the Nazarene Future

The Board of General Superintendents sponsored General Assembly Resolution SR-757, which called for a commission to study the Nazarene future. The resolution was approved by the 2009 General Assembly. The Commission on the Nazarene Future focuses on ecclesiology, polity, missional strategy, and the role of the general superintendency in an expanding church. David McClung was appointed chair and Ken Mills, secretary.

The study group completed its first year looking at what makes us Nazarene and therefore should not be changed. A report summarizing the Commission's findings and recommendations has recently been received by the BGS and is currently under review.

In 2011 the Commission will be making a careful examination of those things that may need to be changed for the future. In 2012 the Commission will look at how those changes, if approved by the BGS, might be implemented.

The Commission reports directly to the general superintendents. After the final report is received in 2012, the BGS will make a determination as to what, if anything, should be submitted to the General Board for further consideration before General Assembly 2013.

Future Connections

What will be the Church of the Nazarene's future connections? A church of more than two million members in the coming decade is going to have different relationships than the faith community of 400,000 that existed in 1964.

One way to gauge what may lie ahead is to identify current patterns of change that create the future. In the midst of busy schedules and deadlines, leaders often fail to notice just how much change is taking place in external and internal environments.

The Board of General Superintendents reports statistics to the General Board as part of its accountability to the church. It is helpful to know what kind of progress the church is making and where it is taking place. It is also necessary to identify areas needing further attention.

Missing in the data are implications for the denomination. We are pleased to report a growing membership, but growth brings with it attendant costs and complexities. For example, how does the church continue covering start-up costs in new areas? How does the denomination grow rapidly and still remain a disciple-making church, an international community of faith in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition? How do we instill our Core Values of Christian, holiness, and missional in succeeding generations?

Church leaders need proper perspective in order to make good short-and long-term decisions about people and the allocation of funds.

Let us examine what is happening in the broader work of the Kingdom here on earth that could, in many ways, affect relationships within the Church of the Nazarene:(2)

  • This Sunday it is possible that more Christian believers attended church in China than in all of so-called "Christian Europe." Yet in 1970 there were no legally-functioning churches in all of China; only in 1971 did the communist regime allow one protestant and one Roman Catholic Church to hold public worship services.
  • This Sunday more Anglicans attended church in each of Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda than did Anglicans in Britain and Canada combined with Episcopalians in the United States - and the number of Anglican churches in Nigeria was several times the number in those other African countries.
  • This Sunday the churches with the largest attendance in England and France had mostly black congregations. About half of the churchgoers in London were African or African-Caribbean. Today the largest Christian congregation in Europe is in Kiev, and it is pastored by a Nigerian of Pentecostal background.
  • This coming week in Great Britain at least 15,000 Christian foreign missionaries will be hard at work evangelizing the locals. Most of these missionaries are from  Africa and Asia.
  • Today the United States represents only 12 percent of global Christianity.(3)
  • The world's 50 largest churches are all outside the United States.(4)

The Church of the Nazarene is not removed from these dramatic changes. In fact, the denomination is contributing to them.

Here is a breakout of membership gains for the 2000-2010 decade:

Currently most of the growth is taking place outside the USA/Canada Region. However, USA/Canada remains the largest region and is the source for 97 percent of WEF and 90 percent of mission specials. The largest percentage of local church income will still be in USA/Canada for the foreseeable future.

It is acknowledged that other regions provide financial resources for mission projects within their respective regions as well as other regions - and for this generosity we are grateful.

However, the denominational system that makes the regional offices possible, including General Board-funded missionaries, functions to a large extent because of WEF, mission specials, and partnership income recorded by the general treasurer.

In preparing for the Commission on the Nazarene Future, the Research Center at the GMC put together some projections. Based on a number of factors, here is one possible look of the Church of the Nazarene over a 20-year timeframe.

The "2030 Scenario" has 5.1 million members (15 percent in the USA/Canada Region), 83,000 churches (6 percent in the USA/Canada Region), and 649 districts, of which 283 will be Phase 3 (12 percent and 28 percent, respectively, in the USA/Canada Region).Faith projections have actually envisioned significantly more Nazarenes globally by that date or sooner.

These patterns and projections raise important questions:

  1. What should be the new role of missionaries in a world with few technological boundaries?
      • Do we need a new missionary-sending system?
      • If so, what should that be?
  2. What should be the new role of the general superintendency in a church that will gain 200,000 members and 1,000 ministers every year?
  3. What should be the new role of regions and fields in facilitating growth and discipleship?
  4. What should be the new role of the Global Ministry Center (Lenexa, Kansas, USA) in a church with 85 percent of the membership outside the USA?
  5. What should be the new role of the USA/Canada Region when it has 15 percent of the members and 85 percent of the financial resources?
  6. What should be the new role of partnerships with like-minded faith groups, as suggested by the 2009 General Assembly?
  7. What should be the new role of technology within the community of faith as the most remote parts of the world become connected?

The greatest membership gains in the history of the Church of the Nazarene are coming during a period of decreasing giving to the World Evangelism Fund. As a matter of fact, the percentage for allocation giving to general, district, and educational interests has been declining for 30 years.

Regardless of the funding level, it is the prayer and the heart's desire of each general superintendent that every member of the church will bear much fruit, that time may be more valuable than money, and that the general interests of the church will have financial resources to keep going, even if on a different scale.

The bigger question may be whether Nazarenes will spend more time with Jesus and in turn, evangelize the lost, disciple the convert, and care for those in need. Is there a sense of urgency in our mission?

We come to this moment, humbling ourselves and saying, "Here we are, Lord. Show us Your way. Give us Your Spirit. Help Your church stay connected to the true vine - apart from which it can do nothing. Prepare the Church of the Nazarene for a new century of obeying the Great Commandment and helping fulfill the Great Commission to make Christlike disciples in the nations."

General Board Connections

As we close our report, the thought occurred to us that we should not assume a
connectedness among General Board members. It is possible to attend the General Board session each year and never be assimilated into the fellowship of this Board. In order to make assimilation more likely, we are going to pair General Board members for the remaining years of this term (2011-2013).

The goals are to encourage you to extend a warm welcome to your partner as each General Board begins and to pray for that person between sessions. It is God who will hear your prayers, so language is no barrier in this process.

As your name is called, we would like for you to stand around the perimeter of the room, beginning to my left. Your prayer partner will be called next and will join you there. Both of you will receive information cards.

When all names are called, even those that may be absent, you will remain standing while our Board chair, General Superintendent J. K. Warrick, offers a prayer for this fellowship followed by a closing song.

I leave you with this benediction:

The Lord bless you, and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Respectfully and prayerfully submitted,
Board of General Superintendents

Jerry D. Porter      J. K. Warrick      David W. Graves
Jesse C. Middendorf      Eugénio R. Duarte      Stan A. Toler

Prepared and presented by Eugénio R. Duarte

(To download a PDF of this report in English, Spanish, French, Korean, or Portuguese from the Nazarene MediaLibrary, click here.)

1 The Philanthropy Roundtable
2 The New Shape of World Christianity, Mark A. Noll.
3 The Role for Western Missionaries, Eric Swanson.
4 Ibid.

Additional General Board reports (click to read):

2010 Church of the Nazarene Foundation report
2010 Financial Services report
2010 General Secretary/GMC Operation Officer report
2010 Global Mission report
2010 General Editor's report
2010 International Board of Education report
2010 Nazarene Missions International report
2010 Nazarene Publishing House report
2010 Nazarene Youth International report
2010 Sunday School and Discipleship Ministries International report
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