Preamble to Church Government

The task of the Church of the Nazarene is to make known to all peoples the transforming grace of God through the forgiveness of sins and heart cleansing in Jesus Christ. Our mission first and foremost is to “make Christlike disciples in the nations,” to incorporate believers into fellowship and membership (congregations), and to equip (teach) for ministry all who respond in faith. The ultimate goal of the “community of faith” is to present everyone fully mature in Christ (Colossians 1:28) at the last day.

It is in the local church that the saving, perfecting, teaching, and commissioning takes place. The local church, the Body of Christ, is the representation of our faith and mission. These churches are grouped administratively into districts and regions.

The bases of unity in the Church of the Nazarene are those beliefs, polity, definitions, and procedures as articulated in the Manual of the Church of the Nazarene.

The core of this unity is declared in the Articles of Faith of the Manual. We encourage the church in all regions and languages to translate—widely distribute—and teach these beliefs to our constituency. This is the golden strand that is woven into the fabric of all we are and do as Nazarenes.

A visible reflection of this unity is represented by the General Assembly, which is the “supreme doctrine-formulating, lawmaking, and elective authority of the Church of the Nazarene.”

A second reflection is the international General Board, which represents the entire church.

A third reflection is the Board of General Superintendents, who may interpret the Manual, approve cultural adaptations, and ordain to the ministry.

The government of the Church of the Nazarene is representative, and thus avoids the extremes of episcopacy on the one hand and unlimited congregationalism on the other.

In global regions served by the church where cultural and political differences may necessitate, adaptations of local, district, and regional church government procedures contained in Part IV, sections 100, 200, 300, may be made. Requests for all such adaptations shall be submitted in writing to and approved by the Board of General Superintendents. (300)


Church-Type Mission. New congregational works that have not yet been organized according to paragraph 100, may be registered by the general secretary as a church-type mission, with the approval of the district superintendent where the new work is located. A member of the clergy serving a church-type mission as pastor or as associate shall be considered an assigned minister with the approval of the district superintendent. A church-type mission may be incorporated according to paragraph 102 and receive and report members. (100.2, 107.2, 138.1, 159, 211.6)


The Multicongregational Church. Organized local churches may enlarge their ministry by establishing Bible classes in various languages using the facilities of these churches. These Bible classes may develop into church-type missions or organized churches. This may result in more than one congregation existing under one church name, with the approval of the district superintendent. In such multicongregational churches where not all the individual congregations are organized churches, the District Advisory Board, with the approval of the district superintendent and the general superintendent in jurisdiction, may grant to such congregations the rights and privileges of an organized local church subject to the following conditions:

  1. Such congregations may not be incorporated separate from the organized local church.
  2. Such congregations shall not hold title to property separate from the organized local church.
  3. Such congregations shall not incur indebtedness without the approval of the district superintendent, the church board of the organized local church, and the District Advisory Board.
  4. No such congregation may withdraw as a body from the organized local church, or in any way sever its relation thereto, except by the express permission of the district superintendent in consultation with the pastor of the local church. (100–100.1)


Incorporation. In all places where the statutes will permit, the trustees shall have the local church incorporated, and the said trustees and their successors shall be the trustees of the said corporation. Where not inconsistent with civil law, the Articles of Incorporation shall set forth the powers of the corporation, and provide that the corporation shall be subject to the government of the Church of the Nazarene, as from time to time authorized and declared in its Manual by the General Assembly of said church. All the property of this corporation shall be managed and controlled by the trustees subject to the approval of the local church.


Where property is purchased and developed by the District Advisory Board for a local church or where a new church is formed, it is recommended that the District Advisory Board transfer the title to the local church upon the repayment by the local church of the money invested by the District Advisory Board.


The pastor and the secretary of the church board shall be the president and secretary of the church, incorporated or not incorporated, and shall execute and sign all conveyances of real estate, mortgages, releases of mortgages, contracts, and other legal documents of the church not otherwise provided for in the Manual and subject to the restrictions set forth in paragraphs 104–104.3.