June 2011

Taking Responsibility for Results

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"What results does God desire for the Church of the Nazarene?"

This was Bruce Wilkinson's opening question for the Board of General Superintendents a few years ago. He pressed us, "Do not tell me that God wants people to be transformed and churches to reproduce. Tell me how many. Are you satisfied with what you have now?" We confessed that we were not satisfied and proceeded to write down some visionary, qualitative, and quantitative decadal faith projections for the Church of the Nazarene.

Gladys Cooper's Gift

As his fingers glide across the 88 ivory keys, the sound is pure beauty. Paul Kenyon, chair of the music department at Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU), sits in the Cooper Music Parlor, where the sun from the south side of campus shines in through the big bay windows.

This Is Our Father's World

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For the past 15years I have had the privilege and challenge of living, working, and worshiping with human beings between the ages of 17 and 24 - university students. I have lived in what I call "incarnational tension;" tension between my elders, peers, and students. Missiologically, "incarnational ministry" is a way of identifying with those you are called to serve. It requires learning language, adjusting to different cultural cues, and being willing to look at issues from their frame of reference.

In Gratitude

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We stood together in a circle in an abandoned lot for the street church service that Sunday afternoon. The many homeless men, women, and families participated together in singing, in offering prayer requests, and in listening to the sermon which was an abbreviated version of the one we had heard at our son's church that morning.

Engaged in Life for Life

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What does it mean to be engaged? What would it be like to make the most of every opportunity in life?

I'm sure you've heard about getting involved in charity, social justice, short-term missions, and humanitarian efforts. And about how being involved in such opportunities will most likely change you more than you can ever imagine. But have you considered that no matter how much you give, you'll receive more than you gave?

Is This the New Normal?

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After 36 years of pastoral ministry I find myself perplexed by some trends that are unlike anything I have ever experienced. I wondered if my experience was normal or if only our church was living with some new realities. In response to my inner turmoil, I began a conversation with Tom Nees, Dennis King, and Geoff DeFranca, who have solid track records as pastors and church leaders. We shared our thoughts about what we referred to as "the new normal."

John Ngombe: Reaching the Community

John Ngombe is a lay pastor at the Nelspruit Church of the Nazarene in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa. That church was started in March 2004 by John| his wife, Betty| and three other families including then missionaries Daniel and Annette Jones. Ezra Maziya, superintendent of the Sunrise District, assisted. The first Sunday there were around 15 people in attendance. Now, the church averages over 70 each Sunday.

Olga Robles: Role Model and Leader

Olga Robles is superintendent of the Puerto Rico East District Church of the Nazarene and represents the Mesoamerica Region as a member of the denomination's General Board. For 11 years she pastored Rio Grande Church of the Nazarene in Puerto Rico. Prior to that, she engaged in a career teaching high school history. She has a daughter, Mayda, who is an architect, and two grandchildren.

How do you keep your mind sharp?
I read constantly.

As a child, what did you think wanted to be when you were an adult?
A flight attendant.

Close the Back Door with New Churches

"How can we keep new people from leaving?"

That's a common question for the Research Center at the Global Ministry Center.

We take in a lot of members each year, people who are new to the Church of the Nazarene. Most of these are by profession of faith, with some transferring from other denominations.

During the past 10 years, we have received 1.3 million new Nazarenes globally.

But our total membership only increased by 623,374. Somehow, for every 13 new Nazarenes who came in our front doors, we lost 7 Nazarenes out the back door.