What is the Church of the Nazarene?

The Church of the Nazarene is a Protestant Christian church in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition. Organized in 1908, the Church is now home to more than 2 million members worshiping in over 26,000 local congregations in over 160 world areas.

Our Mission

The mission of the Church of the Nazarene is to make Christlike disciples in the nations.


Nazarenes  support 14 liberal arts institutions in Africa, Brazil,  Canada, Caribbean,  Korea, and the United States, as well as 5 graduate seminaries, 31  undergraduate Bible/theological colleges, 2 nurses training  colleges, and  1 education college worldwide.

Global Outreach

Nazarenes are passionate about making a difference in the world by taking the good news of Jesus Christ to people everywhere. Today there are 702  missionaries and volunteers serving around the world. Each week, Nazarenes  worship in more than 212 languages or tribal languages, with literature  produced  in 90 of these. The church operates 33 medical clinics and  hospitals worldwide. This missionary enterprise is made possible by the contributions of the global Nazarene family. Nazarenes also engage in starting new churches and congregations by praying, giving, and supporting worldwide volunteers and contracted missionaries.

For more information, see: • Discovering Missions


The Church of the Nazarene is the largest denomination in the classical Wesleyan-Holiness tradition. The doctrine that distinguishes the Church of the Nazarene and other Wesleyan denominations from most other Christian denominations is that of entire sanctification. Nazarenes believe that God calls Christians to a life of holy living that is marked by an act of God, cleansing the heart from original sin and filling the individual with love for God and humankind. This experience is marked by entire consecration of the believer to do God’s will and is followed by a life of seeking to serve God through service to others. Like salvation, entire sanctification is an act of God’s grace, not of works. Our pursuant service to God is an act of love whereby we show our appreciation for the grace that has been extended to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

For more information, see:

• Here We Stand
A Century of Holiness Theology
Discovering the Old Testament
Discovering the Bible
Discovering the New Testament
Discovering our Christian Faith
Reading the Bible in Wesleyan Ways
Philosophy of Religion
Holiness in the Gospels
With Cords of Love
Dismantling the Myths
The Story of God
Grace, Faith & Holiness
A Wesleyan-Holiness Theology


The government of the Church of the Nazarene is a combination of episcopacy and congregationalism. Six elected representatives serve on the Board of General Superintendents. This board is charged with the responsibility of administering the worldwide work of the Church of the Nazarene. The Board of General Superintendents also interprets the denomination’s book of polity, the Manual of the Church of the Nazarene. The Manual is also available online translated into numerous languages.

The General Assembly of the church serves as the supreme doctrine-formulating, lawmaking, and elective authority of the Church of the Nazarene, subject to the provisions of the church constitution. Comprised of elected representatives from all of the denomination’s regular districts globally, the General Assembly meets once every four years.

The General Assembly elects the members of the Board of General Superintendents and considers legislative proposals from the church’s 439 districts. Topics under consideration may range from the method of calling a pastor to bioethics.

The General Assembly also elects representatives from around the world to the General Board of the Church of the Nazarene. The General Board carries out the corporate business of the denomination.

A Tradition of Service

Nazarenes are a compassionate people. We believe in serving others. This is expressed locally through the services of  members to their communities. Contributions from Nazarenes make possible the  administration of Nazarene Compassionate  Ministries (NCM).  Following the example of Jesus, NCM seeks to educate, clothe, shelter, feed,  heal, and ultimately empower those who suffer under oppression, injustice,  violence, poverty, hunger, and disease. Through 183 Compassionate Ministry Centers, 101 Child Development Centers, about 100 projects, and many volunteer efforts,  Nazarenes are instrumental in assisting people in every part of the  globe who have been affected by war, famine, hurricane, flood, and other natural and manmade disasters.

The worldwide network of Nazarene churches makes it possible for the denomination to serve as a conduit of assistance to hurting nations. Nazarenes provide money for food, medical supplies, clothing, and other items to persons in a number of countries where there are pressing needs. In addition, the denomination’s missionary infrastructure is often used by World Relief and similar agencies when they need assistance in getting supplies to people in remote or troubled areas.

Nazarenes also offer their time and services on volunteer Work and Witness and Youth In Mission teams to build churches, schools, and clinics and to share the good news of Jesus Christ.

The Church of the Nazarene reaches out to persons around the globe through the power of technology. Each week last year, World Mission Broadcast aired 140 radio broadcasts in
72 countries and 36 languages.

Suggested Reading

The following resources about the Church of the Nazarene are available for purchase from the Nazarene Publishing House. Thousands of other resources are available through the NPH website, www.nph.com, or toll-free within the United States at 800-877-0700.

• What is the Church of the Nazarene?
• Manual of the Church of the Nazarene (for purchase)
• Manual of the Church of the Nazarene (online version)
Articles of Faith: What Nazarenes Believe and Why
What is a Nazarene? Understanding our Place in the Religious Community