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Thread: Nazarene Membership

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    Senior Member Peggy Gray's Avatar

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    Nazarene Membership

    For pastors or leadership of Nazarene churches:

    A friend asked me about membership “rules” in the Church of the Nazarene. She is part of a congregation in which, essentially, anyone who walks through the door is welcomed as a member, no questions asked. She has heard about our “book of rules” (the Manual) and brought up some questions that were troubling her. (I explained to her that the “rules” in the Manual involved voting, holding meetings, handling finances, etc., and that the sections of the Manual that address her concerns are not “rules” at all, but Articles of Faith, mission statement, beliefs, covenants of conduct and character, and so on.)

    She was bothered by the idea of voting a person in or out, and how that struck her as “judging” a perspective member. She wondered why a simple “I am a Christian, I have been saved” wasn’t enough to qualify for membership. She suggested that some who are already members don’t always live up to the “rules” in the Manual. She questioned the ability of ANYBODY to “live up” to what she perceives as rules.

    How strictly does your Nazarene church interpret the guidelines in the Manual when accepting a new member? What type of pre-membership education does your church require? The Manual states that when someone wishes to join the church, the pastor “shall explain” to the person the Articles, the covenants, etc. The Covenant of Christian Character specifies some ways in which someone seeking membership should “evidence” commitment to God. Would you deny membership to someone based on one of the behaviors listed under that covenant and not others?

    Hypothetical examples: Would you accept as a member someone who smokes? Someone who uses profanity? Someone who subscribes to “Playboy”? Someone who is living with someone as man and wife outside of wedlock? Someone who overeats? Someone who plays golf on Sunday? Someone who buys lottery scratch tickets?

    Can you give me some thoughts on what membership means in your church? How do you handle a situation when someone wants to “join up” but isn’t evidencing a committed walk? What do you tell that person?
    Thanks Jeremy D. Scott - "thanks" for this post

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    Senior Member John Reilly's Avatar

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    Re: Nazarene Membership

    BIG sensitive issue. As A Pastor, for membership class, I teach a 13 week class that covers the articles of faith with discussion. I also spend a class on the "Conduct for Holy Living" and present this as a positive expression of faith and testimony. I connect the "Code of Conduct" with John Wesley's spiritual disciplines. I have accepted into membership people who are obese which stands as a conflict with those who smoke and drink alcohol as they are excluded from membership. We all have our sensitive issues and fall into them from time to time. I was with a long time multigeneration member of or church working on a project and he hurt himself causing some provoked colorful metaphors. I did not revoke his membership but I did apply first aid. Personally I wish we could eliminate the special rule as barriers to membership. We can still promote the "Code of Christian Conduct" as guidelines towards growing in sanctification. Salvation ought to be the only requirement for membership and baptism ought to be the initiation of membership. I counted the non members at one of our church fellowships. The non members out numbered the members. Some of these non members have been through my 13 week membership class and have some barriers to membership mostly around the special rules.

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    Senior Member Hans Deventer's Avatar

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    Re: Nazarene Membership

    Peggy, my local church is pretty big on this pastor's course. It has served us well since we started in 1984, it has avoided fundamental theological discussions. People who didn't agree with Wesleyan theology, simply did not join.

    Interestingly, you can indeed join the CotN with the basic confession of being a Christian. Which immediately creates a tension when it comes to both our Articles of Faith and our ethical views. As I wrote, I think we solved the former, but the latter is a lot harder. We try to look at how persons deal with any bad and or sinful habits they might have. Is a person aware of it, working on it? Then the door is open, because folks promise to strive for holiness. You don't need to be perfect to become a member. However, if they live in denial, or worse, see nothing wrong with what clearly is, we have a problem.

    This does not answer all your questions, but perhaps it gives you some idea of the direction we would be taking.
    Love the sinner, hate the sin? Love the sinner and hate your own sin! - Tony Campolo
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    Senior Member Craig Laughlin's Avatar

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    Re: Nazarene Membership

    I think what one thinks the Manual is varies a great deal by region. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest beyond the Articles of faith it was regarded more as guidelines and less as rules. I remember being told that what really mattered was in the front of the Manual. The further back you moved the less important. When I moved to the Midwest I ran into a lot of people that understood the manual to be a strict set of rules to be followed absolutely. Add to this that we Nazarenes are loath to actually draw a line in the sand and would much rather create foggy and conflicting statements so that everyone can say they won and you have the perfect recipe for a lot of confusion.

    The manual itself is not clear. Early on it gives a very specific list of requirements for membership that do not include the "rules". (Paragraph 26 and sub-points) Later and in the ceremony it does include other things as essential to membership. All of this has been covered many times on Naznet.

    Personally, if the manual is not clear then I do my best to interpret it in light of my understanding of scripture. That leads me to the minimalist statement found in paragraph 26.

    I do a membership class and cover the guidelines laid out in the manual giving historical context and present them as things we urge upon our people and why.

    If folks want to make the special rules (Covenant of Christian Conduct - I don't like that name because I believe it a misapplication of the word covenant) an essential to membership then they must resolve the conflict in the manual. (And be prepared for the inevitable fall out) They can't blame the clergy for varied interpretations if the manual itself is not clear.

    The deeper issue with the special rules is that in many ways the COTN can not decide if we are a religious order which has mutually agreed upon rules beyond scripture or if we want to be a denominational expression of the church which does not, can not, lay on it's people more than is laid out in scripture. We want it both ways and our Manual is well designed to make both sides feel like they have a place to stand.
    It is not enough to be right, you have to be like Jesus.
    Thanks Peggy Gray - "thanks" for this post

  5. #5
    Senior Member Peggy Gray's Avatar

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    Re: Nazarene Membership

    I apologize for bringing up a topic which has already been covered many times. I'll try to find the threads and wade through them. Thanks!

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    Host CE and Gen. Disc. forums David Parker's Avatar

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    Re: Nazarene Membership

    Quote Originally Posted by Peggy Gray View Post
    I apologize for bringing up a topic which has already been covered many times. I'll try to find the threads and wade through them. Thanks!
    No apologies needed, Peggy. You are welcome to bring up this topic regardless of any prior threads. I don't believe any criticism was intended from Craig. It is a good topic and fresh discussion is always welcome.

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    Senior Member Craig Laughlin's Avatar

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    Re: Nazarene Membership

    Quote Originally Posted by David Parker View Post
    No apologies needed, Peggy. You are welcome to bring up this topic regardless of any prior threads. I don't believe any criticism was intended from Craig. It is a good topic and fresh discussion is always welcome.

    David Parker
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    Yes, not my intent to criticize. Just pointing folks to other resources.
    It is not enough to be right, you have to be like Jesus.
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    Senior Member Wilson Deaton's Avatar

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    Re: Nazarene Membership

    I teach a 5 Module "orientation" course. When the course is over I give the attached application to those who have finished the course. The wording on the application will give you a good idea as to what the 5 modules cover...

    For clarity, I will point out that beginning about a little over a year ago, I now teach the "Agreed Statements of Belief" rather than Articles of Faith unless deeper questions are brought up... Also, I teach that the Covenant of Christian Character elements are "required" while the Covenant of Christian Conduct are "guides and helps." I explain what it means to follow them "conscientiously" as opposed to legalistically.

    Wilson

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    Assistant Site Administrator/Forum Host Jon Twitchell's Avatar

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    Re: Nazarene Membership

    Quote Originally Posted by Wilson Deaton View Post
    I teach a 5 Module "orientation" course. When the course is over I give the attached application to those who have finished the course. The wording on the application will give you a good idea as to what the 5 modules cover...

    For clarity, I will point out that beginning about a little over a year ago, I now teach the "Agreed Statements of Belief" rather than Articles of Faith unless deeper questions are brought up... Also, I teach that the Covenant of Christian Character elements are "required" while the Covenant of Christian Conduct are "guides and helps." I explain what it means to follow them "conscientiously" as opposed to legalistically.

    Wilson

    Attachment 3689
    Wilson,

    That has been my conclusion as how to best harmonize the (somewhat schizophrenic) manual statements on membership. I use the analogy of a train... indicating that the Agreed Statements of Faith are the "ticket to ride," but that the Articles of Faith guide the direction/destination of the train. In other words... you might not understand (or even completely agree with) every jot or tittle in the AoF... but when you buy your ticket and get on the train, you understand that's the destination... that's what we teach... that's what guides us.

    In the same way, the Covenant of Christian Character is non-negotiable... it's the biblically-based set of principles which form the basis of our community. The Covenant of Christian Conduct is what you're called to... the direction that we're moving in. You might not be *there* yet... or not even agree with every single line of that statement... but you recognize that this is what the Church will call you to.

    I see the four statements as harmonious when understood through that particular analogy. For me, it also appropriately balances the spirit vs. the letter of the law, and helps us avoid legalism.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Gary Creely's Avatar

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    Re: Nazarene Membership

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Twitchell View Post
    In the same way, the Covenant of Christian Character is non-negotiable...
    It is also pretty subjective, for instance "Seeking to do good to the bodies and souls of men". OK, so who is holding people accountable to this and what activities qualify?
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    Senior Member Billy Cox's Avatar

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    Re: Nazarene Membership

    Quote Originally Posted by Peggy Gray View Post
    I apologize for bringing up a topic which has already been covered many times. I'll try to find the threads and wade through them. Thanks!
    Whenever a topic comes back up for discussion, it's always transpires a little different.

    Like I always say... You never step into the same cow patty twice.
    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us wthout end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
    - C.S. Lewis
    Thanks Peggy Gray - "thanks" for this post
    Laughing John Kennedy - thanks for this funny post

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    Senior Member Billy Cox's Avatar

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    Re: Nazarene Membership

    Quote Originally Posted by Craig Laughlin View Post
    Add to this that we Nazarenes are loath to actually draw a line in the sand and would much rather create foggy and conflicting statements so that everyone can say they won and you have the perfect recipe for a lot of confusion.
    What some people call 'confusion' is called the 'via media' by others. It's how you have a big-tent denomination... Allow contradictory statements to exist in the Manual and then let various groups quote whichever section suits their selective hermenutic. Peace for our time.
    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us wthout end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
    - C.S. Lewis
    Thanks David Graham - "thanks" for this post

  13. #13
    Senior Member Bill Morrison's Avatar

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    Re: Nazarene Membership

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Cox View Post
    Like I always say... You never step into the same cow patty twice.
    I'm not so sure about that: I may have done it once.......or should I say twice?

    BILL

  14. #14
    Senior Member Eric Frey's Avatar

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    Re: Nazarene Membership

    I tend to think that the Ritual for Membership is the final word on what is/isn't required of members. This is because the Manual requires the use of the prescribed ritual:

    107.1. When persons desire to unite with the church, the
    pastor shall explain to them the privileges and responsibilities
    of membership in the church, the Articles of Faith, the
    requirements of the Covenant of Christian Character and
    the Covenant of Christian Conduct, and the purpose and
    mission of the Church of the Nazarene.
    After consulting with the Evangelism and Church Membership
    Committee, the minister shall receive qualified candidates
    into the membership of the church in a public service,
    using the approved form for the reception of members
    (801). (27, 33-39, 110-10.4, 225)
    .

    While all the other rituals are viewed as guidelines, the membership ritual is required. It, therefore, as the public act of initiation, has the final word in what membership entails (IMHO).

    801. THE RECEPTION OF CHURCH MEMBERS


    The prospective members having come forward to stand before the altar of the church, the pastor shall address them as follows:

    DEARLY BELOVED: The privileges and blessings that we have in association together in the Church of Jesus Christ are very sacred and precious. There is in it such hallowed fellowship as cannot otherwise be known. There is such helpfulness with brotherly watch care and counsel as can be found only in the Church. There is the godly care of pastors, with the teachings of the Word; and the helpful inspiration of social worship. And there is cooperation in service, accomplishing that which cannot otherwise be done. The doctrines upon which the church rests as essential to Christian experience are brief.

    NOTE: The minister may choose one of the following creedal options.

    OPTION 1: We believe in God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We especially emphasize the deity of JesusChrist and the personality of the Holy Spirit.

    We believe that human beings are born in sin; that they need the work of forgiveness through Christ and the new birth by the Holy Spirit; that subsequent to this there is the deeper work of heart cleansing or entire sanctification through the infilling of the Holy Spirit, and that to each of these works of grace the Holy Spirit gives witness.

    We believe that our Lord will return, the dead shall be raised, and that all shall come to final judgment with its rewards and punishments. Do you heartily believe these truths? If so, answer, “I do.” Do you acknowledge Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, and do you realize that He saves you now?

    Response: I do.

    Desiring to unite with the Church of the Nazarene, do you covenant to give yourself to the fellowship and work of God in connection with it, as set forth in the Covenant of Christian Character and the Covenant of Christian Conduct of the Church of the Nazarene? Will you endeavor in every way to glorify God, by a humble walk, godly conversation, and holy service; by devotedly giving of your means; by faithful attendance uponthe means of grace; and, abstaining from all evil, will you seek earnestly to perfect holiness of heart and life in the fear of the Lord?

    Response: I will.

    The minister shall then say to the person or persons: I welcome you into this church, to its sacred fellowship, responsibilities, and privileges. May the great Head of the Church bless and keep you, and enable you to be faithful in all good works, that your life and witness may be effective in leading others to Christ. The minister shall then take each one by the hand, and with appropriate words of personal greeting welcome each into the church.

    [I am deleting the ritual option for transferring members]

    OPTION 2: We believe: In one God—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That the Old and New Testament Scriptures, given by plenary inspiration, contain all truth necessary to faith and Christian living. That man is born with a fallen nature, and is, therefore, inclined to evil, and that continually. That the finally impenitent are hopelessly and eternally lost. That the atonement through Jesus Christ is for the whole human race; and that whosoever repents and believes on the Lord Jesus Christ is justified and regenerated and saved from the dominion of sin. That believers are to be sanctified wholly, subsequent
    to regeneration, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. That the Holy Spirit bears witness to the new birth, and also to the entire sanctification of believers. That our Lord will return, the dead will be raised, and the final judgment will take place.(paragraphs 26.1-26.8)

    Do you heartily believe these truths? If so, answer, “I do.”

    Do you acknowledge Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, and do you realize that He saves you now?

    Response: I do.

    Desiring to unite with the Church of the Nazarene, do you covenant to give yourself to the fellowship and work of God in connection with it, as set forth in the Covenant of Christian Character and the Covenant of Christian Conduct of the Church of the Nazarene? Will you endeavor in every way to glorify God, by a humble walk, godly conversation, and holy service; by devotedly giving of your means; by faithful attendance upon the means of grace; and, abstaining from all evil, will you seek earnestly to perfect holiness of heart and life in the fear of the Lord?

    Response: I will.

    The minister shall then say to the person or persons: I welcome you into this church, to its sacred fellowship, responsibilities, and privileges. May the great Head of the Church bless and keep you, and enable you to be faithful in all good works, that your life and witness may be effective in
    leading others to Christ. The minister shall then take each one by the hand, and with appropriate words of personal greeting welcome each into the church.
    Thanks Peggy Gray, Michael Flowers - "thanks" for this post

  15. #15
    Senior Member Kyle Borger's Avatar

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    Re: Nazarene Membership

    Interesting. I don't remember that process when I became a member or any other membership service. I like it, but haven't seen it.

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    Senior Member Billy Cox's Avatar

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    Re: Nazarene Membership

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Morrison View Post
    I'm not so sure about that: I may have done it once.......or should I say twice?

    BILL
    It's a comedic variation of the old saying, "you never step into the same river twice." You might step into the same patty, but after the first time, it has one or more footprints in it.
    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us wthout end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
    - C.S. Lewis
    Laughing Bill Morrison - thanks for this funny post

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    Senior Member John Reilly's Avatar

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    Re: Nazarene Membership

    Reading through this thread, I am thinking that membership ought to be as simple as proclaiming Jesus as Lord and Savior. Baptism is the initiation sacrament for the church. As Dennis Scott pointed out elsewhere, the Ethiopian Eunuch asked Philip "why should I not be Baptized now." The Covenant of Christian Conduct ought to be a tool towards progressive sanctification. We ought to encourage members to seek entire sanctification and use the Covenant of Christian Living as a tool towards growing in grace. Lets form a NAZNET sub committee to rewrite the membership requirements and present it tot he General Assembly.
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  18. #18
    Dan Henderson
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    Re: Nazarene Membership

    I disagree John,

    I'm making a distiction here between formal membership, from which we draw those who are eligible to lead the church and welcoming poeple into Christian fellowship.

    Jim I think pointed, out that church is a hospital. Even though I know the illustration will break down quickly, we don't have patients running hospitals. I'm sure all medics will eventually be a patient, but they do not work in their respective roles while they are patients.

    Again, this illustration breaks down quickly, I get that. My point is that I think it is good that we have a designated group of people from which we draw our leadership. Everyone should be welcome, loved, and nurtured in our churches. Not everyone should be elected to the board.
    Thanks Peggy Gray - "thanks" for this post

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    Assistant Site Administrator/Forum Host Jon Twitchell's Avatar

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    Re: Nazarene Membership

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Henderson View Post
    I disagree John,

    I'm making a distiction here between formal membership, from which we draw those who are eligible to lead the church and welcoming poeple into Christian fellowship.

    Jim I think pointed, out that church is a hospital. Even though I know the illustration will break down quickly, we don't have patients running hospitals. I'm sure all medics will eventually be a patient, but they do not work in their respective roles while they are patients.

    Again, this illustration breaks down quickly, I get that. My point is that I think it is good that we have a designated group of people from which we draw our leadership. Everyone should be welcome, loved, and nurtured in our churches. Not everyone should be elected to the board.
    And clearly, not every member is eligible to lead the board or teach Sunday School. We have a process by which people are appointed to those positions. People don't simply volunteer to serve and suddenly are in a leadership position.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Hans Deventer's Avatar

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    Re: Nazarene Membership

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Twitchell View Post
    And clearly, not every member is eligible to lead the board or teach Sunday School. We have a process by which people are appointed to those positions. People don't simply volunteer to serve and suddenly are in a leadership position.
    Jon, you don't have to be a member to teach Sunday School, interestingly.
    Love the sinner, hate the sin? Love the sinner and hate your own sin! - Tony Campolo
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  21. #21
    Senior Member Mike Schutz's Avatar

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    Re: Nazarene Membership

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans Deventer View Post
    Jon, you don't have to be a member to teach Sunday School, interestingly.
    The issue of membership is constantly in front of me. Several of our saints regularly ask me what is wrong with our church, because we are not growing in membership, even though we have grown significantly in attendance and other areas.

    1. There's Ann, one of the best laypersons in our church, who directs our Wednesday evening children's program and serves as a substitute Sunday school teacher for our women's class. She won't join because she "takes membership seriously," and was familiar with Nazarene churches in the past, including this one, that were legalistic and judgmental. Her daughter attended Sunday school here in the 70s, and when Ann divorced her husband due to abuse, she was condemned by the pastor - and she is afraid future pastors would be like that. "Mike, when you and Esther leave, I leave."

    2. There's Bill and Sharon, who started coming to our church due to her daughter coming to youth group. They want to join, but are living together and not married. (The "saints" don't know that.) I told them we should have a wedding first.

    3. There's Dale, who has been coming to this church his entire life. His dad helped construct our current sanctuary back in the 60s. His parents never joined, and he won't either. He won't tell me why.

    4. There's Steve, who is here every Sunday with his wife (who is a member) and his two teenage boys. Steve won't join until his dad, a leading layman in our local Roman Catholic parish, dies. He doesn't want to hurt him. Cindy, a woman in her 60s who recently accepted Christ, won't join because she doesn't want to upset her 90 year old aunt who is a nun.

    5. There's Lois, who is in her 80s. She won't join because she was told by a Nazarene back in the 60s that because she was divorced she couldn't become a member. Her husband had an affair and left her.

    6. There's all the teens, who don't see the point of membership. This is a common issue. At the last General Assembly, my daughter had to serve as a delegate to the NYI Convention representing the students of her Nazarene university, because the student government president - who is a lifelong Nazarene - was not a member. Neither were any of the other students on the college's ministry teams attending the Assembly, except my daughter. This student government president just joined a Nazarene church - while a student at NTS.
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  22. #22
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    Re: Nazarene Membership

    My 30+ years' experience with a few congregations is that the local pastor absolutely sets the spiritual and administrative tone: the higher levels of the Nazarene organization (district, etc.) seem to have minimal influence. Too often, I've cited the Manual to a pastor who responds "we don't do things that way here". I've come to the conclusion that belonging to the Nazarene (or other) denomination is nearly meaningless except for being admitted to certain elected positions.
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  23. #23
    Senior Member Peggy Gray's Avatar

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    Re: Nazarene Membership

    I'm finding these responses very interesting and very informative. I hope even more of you chime in.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Hans Deventer's Avatar

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    Re: Nazarene Membership

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Henderson View Post
    Jim I think pointed, out that church is a hospital. Even though I know the illustration will break down quickly, we don't have patients running hospitals. I'm sure all medics will eventually be a patient, but they do not work in their respective roles while they are patients.
    Not a popular writer in some circles, but Henri Nouwen's Wounded Healer does suggest somewhat differently. And complicates the issue a lot, for then the question remains what wounds are acceptable for leaders, and what are not? On the other hand, understanding that we all have our issues, aren't we there already?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Henderson View Post
    Again, this illustration breaks down quickly, I get that. My point is that I think it is good that we have a designated group of people from which we draw our leadership. Everyone should be welcome, loved, and nurtured in our churches. Not everyone should be elected to the board.
    With the principle, I agree.
    Love the sinner, hate the sin? Love the sinner and hate your own sin! - Tony Campolo

  25. #25
    Senior Member Craig Laughlin's Avatar

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    Re: Nazarene Membership

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Henderson View Post
    I disagree John,

    I'm making a distiction here between formal membership, from which we draw those who are eligible to lead the church and welcoming poeple into Christian fellowship.

    Jim I think pointed, out that church is a hospital. Even though I know the illustration will break down quickly, we don't have patients running hospitals. I'm sure all medics will eventually be a patient, but they do not work in their respective roles while they are patients.

    Again, this illustration breaks down quickly, I get that. My point is that I think it is good that we have a designated group of people from which we draw our leadership. Everyone should be welcome, loved, and nurtured in our churches. Not everyone should be elected to the board.
    I could agree with all of this if that is what membership was in the COTN. I'm all for holding leaders to a higher standard and with that bestowing on them higher levels of responsibility and privilege.

    Unfortunately in the COTN membership is the base level to get to vote not lead, not unlike citizenship. We have a strong congregational bent in our denomination that leads us to the idea that "qualification for leadership" is to get the most votes.
    It is not enough to be right, you have to be like Jesus.
    Thanks Eric Frey, Steven Burton - "thanks" for this post

  26. #26
    Senior Member Billy Cox's Avatar

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    Re: Nazarene Membership

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Twitchell View Post
    People don't simply volunteer to serve and suddenly are in a leadership position.
    Haha, what planet have you been pastoring on?
    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us wthout end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
    - C.S. Lewis

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    Assistant Site Administrator/Forum Host Jon Twitchell's Avatar

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    Re: Nazarene Membership

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Cox View Post
    Haha, what planet have you been pastoring on?
    I don't understand your point.

    Just because someone volunteers to be on the board doesn't mean that they get their wish.
    Just because someone offers to teach SS doesn't mean that they're qualified to do so... or that they are granted the option of doing so.

    Membership doesn't necessarily qualify someone for leadership in the CotN.
    Grace and Peace,

    Jon Twitchell


    Cape Elizabeth Church of the Nazarene | YourChurchWeb.net | YourChurchPianist.net | FuneralChaplain.com
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    Host Book, Movie & CE forums Ryan Scott's Avatar

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    Re: Nazarene Membership

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Twitchell View Post
    I don't understand your point.

    Just because someone volunteers to be on the board doesn't mean that they get their wish.
    Just because someone offers to teach SS doesn't mean that they're qualified to do so... or that they are granted the option of doing so.
    The point is that in far too many Nazarene congregation, volunteering to serve is the only requirement.
    ...just my $.02.

  29. #29
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    Re: Nazarene Membership

    I have told pastor one thing about the CotN we can't take member in if they using tobacco but once they are a member they can start using it again and they want lose their member. I have know church board members who use tobacco. One church I pastor had 4 33 degree Mason and 3 of those where on the church board and only time I went to a DS was concerning this matter and only thing the DS said OH Larry they just playing like they are Mason. I said Ok. I had one church member who came twice a year and one night he won $500 in pocker game he drop the church and told how lord help and he won't to give the church $5. What do you when thing like this happen.
    Thanks
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    Thanks Marian Schwaller Carney - "thanks" for this post

  30. #30
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    Re: Nazarene Membership

    Take the money and run?

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    Senior Member Hans Deventer's Avatar

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    Re: Nazarene Membership

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kennedy View Post
    Take the money and run?
    Steve Miller Band?
    Love the sinner, hate the sin? Love the sinner and hate your own sin! - Tony Campolo
    Laughing Marian Schwaller Carney - thanks for this funny post

  32. #32
    Dan Henderson
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    Re: Nazarene Membership

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Scott View Post
    The point is that in far too many Nazarene congregation, volunteering to serve is the only requirement.
    We are getting better at this. Nazarene Safe (Ministry Safe). Is an excellent move in the right direction. I have self-imposed the rules for leaders in Boy Scouts as my rules for teaching and interacting with children. My current Church is the first Nazarene church that I have attended that had a Child safety policy AND formal training. I understand its much more common now and is a requirement of many insurance companies.
    Thanks Mike Schutz - "thanks" for this post

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    Re: Nazarene Membership

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans Deventer View Post
    Steve Miller Band?
    Maybe. The only thing I remembered was it was a Woody Allen movie title. I know if the Lord helped me in poker game I'd give more than $5.

  34. #34
    Multi-Forum Host Kevin Rector's Avatar

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    Re: Nazarene Membership

    I would think that when it comes to membership the Manual paragraph on membership would trump all:

    Quote Originally Posted by Church of the Nazarene Manual 2009-2013
    107. Full Membership. All persons who have been organized into a local church by those authorized so to do, and all who have been publicly received by the pastor, the district superintendent, or the general superintendent, after having declared their experience of salvation, and their belief in the doctrines of the Church of the Nazarene, and their willingness to submit to its government, shall compose the full membership of the local church. The local church leadership shall seek to place every member into a ministry of service and a circle of care and support.
    So salvation, belief in the doctrines of the Church of the Nazarene and willingness to submit to it's government. Of course most of those are open to interpretation except for the salvation part.
    Thanks Steven Burton, Peggy Gray - "thanks" for this post

  35. #35
    Senior Member Eric Frey's Avatar

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    Re: Nazarene Membership

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Rector View Post
    I would think that when it comes to membership the Manual paragraph on membership would trump all:



    So salvation, belief in the doctrines of the Church of the Nazarene and willingness to submit to it's government. Of course most of those are open to interpretation except for the salvation part.
    Which is why I default to the REQUIRED ritual. All the other Manual discussion of membership is theoretical at best. But the issue for me is what one agrees to do in the making of the covenant of membership. In the ritual a member must agree to:

    1) believe in a creedal affirmation of faith
    2) "covenant to give yourself to the fellowship and work of God in connection with it, as set forth in the Covenant of Christian Character and the Covenant of Christian Conduct of the Church of the Nazarene? Will you endeavor in every way to glorify God, by a humble walk, godly conversation, and holy service; by devotedly giving of your means; by faithful attendance upon the means of grace; and, abstaining from all evil, will you seek earnestly to perfect holiness of heart and life in the fear of the Lord?"

    That seems pretty clear as to what is expect of members and agreed upon by members. I know all of the other instruction, but this is actually what one must publicly agree to and thus, for me, it is the clearest and definitive statement about membership.
    Thanks Peggy Gray, Gina Stevenson - "thanks" for this post

  36. #36
    Senior Member Craig Laughlin's Avatar

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    Re: Nazarene Membership

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Frey View Post
    Which is why I default to the REQUIRED ritual. All the other Manual discussion of membership is theoretical at best. But the issue for me is what one agrees to do in the making of the covenant of membership. In the ritual a member must agree to:

    1) believe in a creedal affirmation of faith
    2) "covenant to give yourself to the fellowship and work of God in connection with it, as set forth in the Covenant of Christian Character and the Covenant of Christian Conduct of the Church of the Nazarene? Will you endeavor in every way to glorify God, by a humble walk, godly conversation, and holy service; by devotedly giving of your means; by faithful attendance upon the means of grace; and, abstaining from all evil, will you seek earnestly to perfect holiness of heart and life in the fear of the Lord?"

    That seems pretty clear as to what is expect of members and agreed upon by members. I know all of the other instruction, but this is actually what one must publicly agree to and thus, for me, it is the clearest and definitive statement about membership.
    The word require does not make the ritual the final word. Paragraph 26 reads

    26. Recognizing that the right and privilege of persons to
    church membership rest upon the fact of their being regenerate,
    we would REQUIRE ONLY such avowals of belief as are
    essential to Christian experience. We, therefore, deem belief
    in the following brief statements to be sufficient....
    (Emphasis Mine)

    Given the conflicting manual statements no one can claim the definitive high ground. Since paragraph 26 is the only place the issue of minimum requirements is directly addressed it seems to me to be pretty solid ground on which to stand. Since there is conflict I resolve it by changing the ritual. Ritual holds a lesser place in my thinking than does direct and affirmative statement.
    Last edited by Craig Laughlin; May 11th, 2012 at 10:21 AM. Reason: emphasis clarification
    It is not enough to be right, you have to be like Jesus.
    Thanks Peggy Gray - "thanks" for this post

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