Each year, the Board of General Superintendents gives a report to the General Board of the Church of the Nazarene. Below are the highlights of the 2019 BGS Report, presented by General Superintendent Dr. David Graves.
Peace be with you! As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you. —John 20:21
Birthed as a movement of God’s Holy Spirit, the Church of the Nazarene has always been a sending church. Tonight we welcome you to the 96th General Board of the Church of the Nazarene to once again embrace our roots as a people sent— sent to preach scriptural holiness around the world. We come to reflect on the reality of Dr. Phineas Bresee’s dream that “the sun never sets on the Church of the Nazarene.”
On behalf of the Board of General Superintendents, we pray that God will continue to pour out His Holy Spirit upon the church and upon this session of the General Board. May this be a time for us to reflect on the past year and ask for God’s wisdom and leadership as He sends our church into the future.
We gather to celebrate the faithful service of individuals who have significantly influenced the life of the church. This celebration represents major transitional milestones; the contributions of these individuals cannot be adequately measured. We are grateful for their service. Our church has been blessed by these who have ministered at Nazarene Headquarters and now the Global Ministry Center for many years. We send these servants of the Lord into retirement and a new chapter of ministry with the awareness that they leave a lasting contribution to the Church of the Nazarene. We honor the ministries of the following servants of God:
Dr. Dale Jones, director of Research Services, has served the Global Ministry Center for more than 41 years. Shirley Marvin has poured her life into her role as legislative coordinator in the General Secretary’s Office for nearly 40 years. Dr. David P. Wilson has faithfully served as general secretary for the past 12 years.
In June 2018, at the recommendation of the Board of General Superintendents, the General Board elected Dr. Gary Hartke to serve as the Church of the Nazarene’s seventh full-time general secretary. Dr. Hartke will assume this role upon Dr. Wilson’s retirement.
Gary has served as the director of Nazarene Youth International (NYI) since 2000 and has been responsible for coordinating and shaping youth ministry worldwide for the Church of the Nazarene. He has led NYI through significant growth toward becoming a more international ministry through the introduction of multiple regional sites for Global NYI Conventions and through the establishment of the Third Wave conference for young leaders. Gary has significant experience leading denominational events such as Third Wave, Global NYI Convention, the Creative Access Youth Ministry Summit, and the USA/Canada Nazarene Youth Conference.
He has served on the General Assembly Program Committee since 2001 and chaired the General Assembly Exhibit Committee in both 2013 and 2017. These major national and international events, along with the invaluable experience they brought, will serve him well as general secretary. We welcome Dr. Gary Hartke to this new role and look forward to his continued leadership in the denomination.
In July 2018, the Board of General Superintendents elected Dr. Scott Rainey as global director of Sunday School and Discipleship Ministries International (SDMI), effective 1 August 2018. Dr. Rainey previously served as field strategy coordinator for the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Field on the Eurasia Region and oversaw the work of the church in eight countries. Prior to his missionary service, Dr. Rainey served as lead pastor of Living Word Church of the Nazarene in Houston, Texas, USA.
In December 2018, the Board of General Superintendents elected Rev. David González as the denomination’s next global Nazarene Youth International (NYI) director, effective 1 March 2019. Most recently, Rev. González served as the field strategy coordinator on the North Andean Field. He was chosen for this role for many reasons, but his work with youth over the years has set him apart. Rev. González has served in various areas of NYI beginning in 1999 as Mexico Field NYI coordinator, the Mesoamerica NYI president, as well as a missionary for the Church of the Nazarene in Guatemala.
In 2007, he moved to the United States to assume the role of global program and development coordinator in the NYI Office. His experience and servant heart will be a blessing to our youth. Thank you, Rev. González, for accepting this important role that will shape the future of the denomination.
General Board Transitions
This year also brings transitions to the General Board. Two members are completing their years of dedicated service to the church through the General Board.
We recognize the 18 years of service Dr. Larry Dennis gave to the General Board. Dr. Dennis chairs the Global Missions Committee and serves as a member of the Executive Committee. The Board also recognizes the service of Dr. Randy Craker. Dr. Craker has faithfully served the global church as a member of the General Board from 2001 until the present.
We are pleased to welcome Dr. Kafoa Muaror as the new president of the General Board following former president Dr. Dwight Gunter’s election as a district superintendent. Dr. Muaror is our first non-North American president of the General Board. We believe this marks a significant milestone in the life and history of the church. We pray that God will give Dr. Muaror great wisdom in this new assignment.
New Board Members
We are pleased to welcome two new members to the General Board. Rev. Daron Brown joins us from the Southeast USA/Canada Region. Rev. Mathias Christadas comes from the Eurasia Region.
Local Church Ministries Committee
Last year the General Board, along with the Board of General Superintendents, reviewed the committee structure of the board. As a result, the Board of General Superintendents and the Executive Committee of the General Board recommended the addition and implementation of a Local Church Ministries Committee. The 2018 session of the General Board approved this recommendation in concept and authorized the Board of General Superintendents and the Executive Committee of the General Board to develop the details for implementation.
Emphasis on the local church acknowledges the vital role the local church plays in our mission.
The new committee gives a voice to the largest segment of the global church. It provides a forum to identify the needs of the local church. It identifies best practices of local churches that may be regionally and locally replicated. This committee celebrates the local church as the central unit of mission. Furthermore, by focusing on the local church at the governance level, we emphasize the integration of the vital ministries organized in every congregation—youth, discipleship, and missions. This also means that General Board strategies, ministries, and governance will be designed to assist the local church in effective ministry.
SIX QUADRENNIAL PROJECTS
The Board of General Superintendents has adopted six projects for consideration throughout this quadrennium:
- Headed by Drs. Busic and Chambo, the Articles of Faith Study Group, composed of international theologians, is specifically reviewing Articles VI, X, XV, and XVI along with writing a white paper on the relationship between infant baptism and believer’s baptism.
- Led by Drs. Crocker and Duarte, the Nazarene Missions Project is working together with Global Missions and NMI to provide a refined pathway for missional engagement.
- The Communications Project is headed by Drs. Sunberg and Crocker. The Communications Project has included a review of the communication systems both within the Global Ministry Center and externally.
- The Covenant of Christian Conduct Project is being led by Drs. Chambo and Sunberg. A major assignment of this committee, composed of global leaders, involves reviewing Manual paragraphs 28, 29, 30, 929, and 930.
- The Church Administration Project is headed by Drs. Duarte and Graves. This committee, composed of members from every region, is focusing on resolutions DA 209, LA 411, and MED 517 and 518.
- General Assembly Study is convened by Drs. Graves and Busic. This committee is reviewing and considering every part of our General Assembly, including logistics, legislation, conventions, finances, and programs.
I AM SENDING YOU
"Peace be with you! As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you." John 20:21
This past year our world experienced many events that caused the loss of lives and properties, fear, and even chaos. The Mesoamerica Region experienced earthquakes in Mexico, hurricanes that destroyed islands in the Caribbean and violently hit Puerto Rico, volcanoes in Guatemala, and the tragic deaths of 10 pastoral couples in Cuba. Add to these events cyclones in Indonesia and an earthquake in Papua New Guinea on the Asia-Pacific Region, wildfires in Oklahoma and the deadliest forest fires in history in California on the USA/Canada Region, along with war and armed conflicts in many areas of the world. Many people have felt confusion, disappointment, and hurt just like Jesus’ disciples in John Chapter 20.
On Sunday, the multitudes hailed Jesus as King, but He claimed to be a servant.
The disciples discussed among themselves who was the greatest, but Jesus insisted that the greatest is the least.
The disciples claimed victory during the Triumphal Entry, yet they felt the sting of defeat following the crucifixion. They insisted they would follow Jesus anywhere, but they deserted Him. They told others that Jesus brought life, but now He was dead—or was He?
Mary Magdalene came with news that He was alive and was going ahead of them into Galilee—yet here they were, still in Jerusalem. Even though He had risen, they acted as though He was still in the tomb. Even though He was alive, so were the Romans and the Jewish leaders who had crucified Him. Even though He had conquered death, they were still defeated and filled with fear.
In John 20, the disciples are huddled together hiding behind locked doors. Even in hiding, they cannot escape the chaos. The chaos is within them as much as in the world around them. When chaos and uncertainty rule inside and outside, fear can be overwhelming. They lock the doors hoping to secure some peace of mind and heart.
Jesus’ entrance brought peace.
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" (John 20:19, NIV).
Into this uncertainty and chaos, Jesus came and stood among them. Locked doors did not stop Him. Emotional confusion did not deter Him. The disciples’ fear did not hinder His coming. He came to where they were and stood in the middle of their chaos, confusion, and hurt. Today the resurrected Jesus comes to us right where we are: fears and confusion, doubt and questions, chaos and conflict, challenges and circumstances.
He comes, and He brings us peace!
As He spoke those words, something changed. Threatening forces were still outside those walls. Chaos still ruled in their world. But something changed: JESUS WAS WITH THEM! Their peace and our peace is not dependent on outward circumstances or the absence of inward warring, but on His presence.
He came not only to bring them peace, but to enlist them into His mission.
Again, Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you" (John 20:21, NIV).
His disciples, then and today, have the wonderful privilege of being sent by Jesus.
We are given the responsibility of going into our world and shining light in the darkness; of giving hope where there is despair; of offering peace where there is chaos.
The Father wants to send you and me on mission!
When Jesus proclaimed, "As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you," His mandate was a commissioning act for all believers based on the very nature of God. This sending is as central to God's nature as His love, forgiveness, righteousness, and holiness. God's sending is as tangible as any other attribute of God. The concept of a missional church is recognition that God is a sending God and we, the church and individual believers, are to live as a sent people.
Being sent means that we are to move outside the walls of our church buildings and our homes in order to engage people with the gospel. However, this sending is not just to our neighbors or our communities but also to our world. In the Great Commission, Jesus said:
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NIV).
We are sent to make disciples in all nations, to take the gospel around the world as well as show the love of Jesus across the street, and to serve the hurting (Luke 4) and bring the lost to Him (Luke 19:10). We are called to join Him on that mission and show and share the good news of Jesus to the world Jesus loves.
From the very beginning as a denomination, the Church of the Nazarene has prayerfully sent our people into the world with Christ’s transformational love.
We have moved over time from a church with a global presence toward a global community of believers. Grounded in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition, Nazarenes understand themselves to be a people who are Christian, Holiness, and Missional, and embrace as our mission statement “to make Christlike disciples in the nations.”
Today, we are a global missions movement of God through the people of God working in 162 world areas. We believe God has called us to partner with Him. He has sent us into the world to develop and resource local, interdependent, and sustainable Nazarene churches spreading the message of scriptural holiness through compassion, evangelism, and education.
Compassion brings restoration
Nazarene Missions provide a full range of compassionate ministries that address systemic problems. From natural disaster relief to child development, Nazarene Missions has reach, impact, and longevity.
After the earthquakes in Mexico, Nazarene Compassionate Ministries was the first on site to help, resource, and provide for the needs of people. Many people asked our pastors, “How can I be a part of a denomination that helps people?” However, we are not finished with just showing compassion. We want to introduce them to Jesus Christ.
Evangelism shares the gospel
Evangelism is the way to the heart. The power of Christ’s Gospel through the witness of the Holy Spirit draws people near, prompting transformation of heart, life, and community. The Church of the Nazarene exists to serve as an instrument for advancing the Kingdom of God through the preaching and teaching of the gospel throughout the world. Our well-defined commission is to preserve and propagate Christian holiness as set forth in the Scriptures, through decisions for Christ, the reclamation of backsliders, and the entire sanctification of believers. In obedience to Christ’s Great Commission, we prayerfully send missionaries into new territories where the gospel can do its work.
Education builds sustainability
Our purpose is fully realized when our churches have the knowledge to thrive. Nazarene Missions helps facilitate training, teaching, and resources to support our local Nazarene churches around the globe.
The Church of the Nazarene has 51 colleges, universities, and seminaries located in 35 countries on six continents that serve a richly diverse student body of more than 50,000 students.
The work of God flourishes through the mutual cooperation of cross-cultural missionaries and thousands of local ministers and lay workers who have contextualized the message of holiness within their respective cultures.
How are we doing in fulfilling our mission to make Christlike disciples in the nations?
The Church of the Nazarene ministers officially in 162 world areas. We have 29,726 credentialed ministers. Total membership in the Church of the Nazarene is now 2,579,243. In 2018, we welcomed 146,988 believers into membership as new Nazarenes, 222,511 decisions were made to follow Christ, and 97,566 Nazarenes were baptized.
There are 30,712 total churches. SDMI reported an enrollment of 1,913,615, and NYI reported a membership of 427,781. In 2018, 1,038,956 NMI members volunteered and served in 18,435 organized local NMIs around the world.
Our Nazarene churches gave $37,709,138 USD through the World Evangelism Fund and another $27,211,003 USD for approved specials. As a result of the prayers and sacrificial giving of Nazarenes, we will commission 37 global missionaries from 13 countries. We praise God for His continued blessings on the Church of the Nazarene.
Statistics represent lives transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit and resources given to Kingdom work. They challenge us to renew our commitment to God’s mission in our world. Many people have not heard about Jesus Christ. Entire nations need to hear the life-changing message about the Christ who brings new life, forgives sins, cleanses hearts from all sin, and empowers His followers to live Christlike lives. The good news is we are not left to do it on our own.
His enablement brought power
And with that He breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22, NIV).
Jesus breathed on them with the promised Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit sustained and strengthened the disciples. On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit completely filled the disciples. God wants to breathe His Holy Spirit into each one of us in fresh ways. He wants to fill, to empower, to anoint, and to strengthen us for His service! Jesus gave the disciples their Spirit-powered and Spirit-guided mission, and He still gives it to us as His church.
JESUS CHRIST IS ALIVE! Jesus the Resurrected Lord comes to bring us peace and a commission. We have been given the privilege of being sent by Jesus. As the Father sent Jesus, He is now sending us!
Just as Jesus breathed on the disciples, He breathes on us through His Holy Spirit to give us power.
We have the privilege of sharing this good news with our world.
Earl and Gladys Mosteller
Rev. Earl and Gladys Mosteller were a couple who shared the good news so faithfully and effectively. To reinforce the work started by Rev. John Dias, in 1946, Earl and Gladys were sent by the Church of the Nazarene to Cabo Verde.
Rev. Mosteller was a holiness preacher with leadership skills and the ability to develop personal relationships. He bought properties, translated holiness materials, and started two seminaries. The church in Cabo Verde grew, developed, and expanded, and we now have 8,864 members.
The Mostellers were sent to Brazil in 1958 to pioneer the work of the Church of the Nazarene. Now, after 60 years, there is a Church of the Nazarene in every state of Brazil with over 500 national pastors, over 664 local churches with 140,089 members, and three General Board members.
In 1973, the church called on them again to go to Portugal and the Azores (1983) to begin the work there.
Throughout his life, Rev. Mosteller preached and taught the message of holiness, planted the seed of the gospel, and loved people in Jesus’ name.
Through his zeal, dedication, and life, there has been a great harvest of souls for the kingdom of God.
As the Father sent Earl and Gladys, God continues to send us into the fields that are “white unto harvest” (John 4:35).
We are His body; we continue His ministry through the power of His Spirit. Together, united, sent, and empowered, we are accomplishing His mission! I pray that through the Church of the Nazarene there will be a new movement of God through us as the people of God!
Prayerfully and respectfully submitted,
Board of General Superintendents
Eugénio R. Duarte
David W. Graves
David A. Busic
Gustavo A. Crocker
Filimão M. Chambo
Carla D. Sunberg
Holiness Today, May/Jun 2019
To read the full report, please click here.