NOTE: The Manual Editing Committee, in recognition of the validity of the opening words of paragraph 500, has attempted to use language that reflects this distinctive. However, due to the nature of this section of the Manual, the terms “minister” or “the minister” will usually refer to a person holding credentials, whether licensed, ordained, or commissioned.
The Church of the Nazarene recognizes all believers are called to minister to all people.
We also affirm Christ calls some men and women to a specific and public ministry even as He chose and ordained His 12 apostles. When the church, illuminated by the Holy Spirit, recognizes such a divine call, the church endorses and assists the individual’s entry into a lifetime of ministry.
Theology of Women in Ministry. The Church of the Nazarene supports the right of women to use their God-given spiritual gifts within the church and affirms the historic right of women to be elected and appointed to places of leadership within the Church of the Nazarene, including the offices of both elder and deacon.
The purpose of Christ’s redemptive work is to set God’s creation free from the curse of the Fall. Those who are “in Christ” are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17). In this redemptive community, no human being is to be regarded as inferior on the basis of social status, race, or gender (Galatians 3:26–28). Acknowledging the apparent paradox created by Paul’s instruction to Timothy (1 Timothy 2:11–12) and to the church in Corinth (1 Corinthians 14:33–34), we believe interpreting these passages as limiting the role of women in ministry presents serious conflicts with specific passages of scripture that commend female participation in spiritual leadership roles (Joel 2:28–29; Acts 2:17–18; 21:8–9; Romans 16:1, 3, 7; Philippians 4:2–3), and violates the spirit and practice of the Wesleyan-holiness tradition. Finally, it is incompatible with the character of God presented throughout Scripture, especially as revealed in the person of Jesus Christ.
Theology of Ordination. While affirming the scriptural tenet of the universal priesthood and ministry of all believers, ordination reflects the biblical belief that God calls and gifts certain men and women for ministerial leadership in the church. Ordination is the authenticating, authorizing act of the Church, which recognizes and confirms God’s call to ministerial leadership as stewards and proclaimers of the gospel and the Church of Jesus Christ. Consequently, ordination bears witness to the Church universal and the world at large that this candidate evidences an exemplary life of holiness, possesses gifts and graces for public ministry, and has a thirst for knowledge, especially for the Word of God, and has the capacity to communicate sound doctrine.
(Acts 13:1–3; 20:28; Romans 1:1–2; 1 Timothy 4:11–16; 5:22; 2 Timothy 1:6–7)
The Church of the Nazarene depends largely upon the spiritual qualifications, character, and manner of life of its ministers. (538.17)
The minister of the gospel in the Church of the Nazarene must have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, and be sanctified wholly by the baptism with or infilling of the Holy Spirit. The minister must have a deep love for unbelievers, believing they are perishing, and a call to proclaim salvation.
The minister is to be an example to the church: punctual, discreet, diligent, earnest, in purity, understanding, patience, kindness, love, and truth by the power of God (2 Corinthians 6:6–7).
The minister must likewise have a deep sense of the necessity of believers going on to perfection and developing the Christian graces in practical living, that their “love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight” (Philippians 1:9). One who would minister in the Church of the Nazarene must have a strong appreciation of both salvation and Christian ethics.
The minister should respond to opportunities to mentor future ministers and to nurture the call to ministry.
The minister must have gifts and graces, for the ministry. He or she will have a thirst for knowledge, especially of the Word of God, and must have sound judgment, good understanding, and clear views concerning salvation as revealed in the Scriptures. Saints will be edified and sinners converted through his or her ministry. Further, the minister of the gospel in the Church of the Nazarene must be an example in prayer.
All Christians should consider themselves ministers of Christ and seek to know the will of God concerning their appropriate avenues of service. (500)