What is a Christian?
A Christian is a follower of Christ, Jesus of Nazareth (Acts 11:26). Any Christian is as different from another as any other person is. But all Christians share a common connection with the life and ministry of Jesus that the Bible testifies about and whom Christians have witnessed through the church for generations.
Who is Jesus Christ?
Jesus of Nazareth was a man born into a Jewish family during the Roman occupation of present day Israel-Palestine. The Bible bears witness to Jesus as God’s Son, the Christ prophesied about among the Hebrew people for centuries. The New Testament records how Jesus ministered among the local Jews and Gentiles and was crucified by Roman forces. We also read and believe that Jesus rose from the dead, ascended to heaven to be with God the Father, is still present with us through the power of the Holy Spirit, and that Christ is coming back some day.
What is the Church of the Nazarene?
The Church of the Nazarene is a denomination within the global Christian church. We especially believe our church exists to proclaim Jesus’ message about holy living and devotion to God by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Our identity is shaped first by the person of Jesus of Nazareth, the name of the village where Jesus grew up in poverty and obscurity, and by which he was most known during his ministry. In turn, “Nazarene” was a pejorative name given to many early Christians (Acts 24:5). Today, we wear the title to remind us of our primary work to clothe, shelter, feed, heal, educate, and live in solidarity with those who suffer under oppression, injustice, violence, poverty, hunger, and disease.
Second, our identity is also shaped by the traditions and perspectives handed down through the Methodist movement begun in England with John and Charles Wesley during the eighteenth century and through the American Holiness movement begun in the late nineteenth influencing such leaders as Phineas Bresee, Phoebe Palmer, Hiram Reynolds, and Mary Lee Cagle.
Our church is the product of 15 mergers uniting holiness groups worldwide under one banner in a unified pursuit of holiness.
Our mission is “to make Christlike disciples in the nations.”
Our Nazarene ancestors put it this way, which we’ve preserved in our Church Constitution:
The Church of the Nazarene is composed of those persons who have voluntarily associated themselves together according to the doctrines and polity of said church, and who seek holy Christian fellowship, the conversion of sinners, the entire sanctification of believers, their upbuilding in holiness, and the simplicity and spiritual power manifest in the primitive New Testament Church, together with the preaching of the gospel to every creature.
—Manual of the Church of the Nazarene: 2017–2021, para. 19.
What do Nazarenes believe about the Holy Spirit?
Before Jesus died, he promised his disciples that God would send the Holy Spirit to be with us. The Bible testifies about that very thing happening on a number of occasions among gatherings of the early church (John 20:19–23; Acts 2:1–47; 4:1–31; 10:1–48).
We believe this same Holy Spirit is present among us empowering us to live holy lives by, “convincing the world of sin, regenerating those who repent and believe, sanctifying believers, and guiding into all truth as it is in Jesus” (Manual, para. 4).
What does the Church of the Nazarene believe about living a holy life?
Nazarenes, with other Christians, believe in entire sanctification–when God’s transforming work is complete and God’s divine love which inhabits all believers’ hearts empowers us to become like Christ (Romans 6:6, 1 Thessalonians 5:23).
Whenever we are born anew, we need the fullness of God’s Holy Spirit in our hearts (Romans 8:6–8). And when we make a complete commitment to God, Jesus’ Holy Spirit cleanses our spirit, fills us with Christ’s perfect love, and gives us the power to live a holy life in obedience to God (Romans 8:5, 9–11).
Sanctification is God’s gift and desire for all believers (1 Peter 1:15–16). Through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, God enables believers to live a holy life and empowers them for life and service (Acts 1:8).
What is a district?
A “district” the name given to a group of independent local Churches of the Nazarene “organized to facilitate the mission of each local church through mutual support, the sharing of resources, and collaboration” (Manual, para. 200).
Wherever we find ourselves, we try to remain sensitive to local contexts while uniting around our common cause for holiness. Districts help us do that by connecting local churches as a kind of immediate family and by further connecting us with our extended church family worldwide.
Learn more about the districts in the international Church of the Nazarene.
Who does the Pittsburgh District serve?
Our mission field is home to over 3.8 million of our closest neighbors, about two-thirds of whom live in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area.
Longtime the domain of industries and outdoors enthusiasts alike due to the richness of natural resources and wildlife, today western Pennsylvania is also a world leader in green technology, robotics, medicine, and education, with the greatest number of college students per capita in the Unites States. Amid all the wealth that has been generated around us, our area also knows some of the most severe and widespread poverty in North America.
As of June 2017, the Pittsburgh District involves 6,117 active members in 76 local churches gathering throughout western Pennsylvania and as far east as Milesburg, outside State College. As Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful,” and so we pray, ‘Lord of the harvest, send us as workers into your harvest field’ (Luke 10:2 NIV).
How can I find out more about the Church of the Nazarene?
The best way to learn more about the Church of the Nazarene is let us meet you where you are. Chances are we have a congregation who meets near you.
Outside the Pittsburgh District, you can also find Nazarenes active in 162 world areas.