After a two-year delay (thank you Covid) the Church of the Nazarene will finally have her “family reunion” (General Assembly) in June of 2023. All resolution changes for the Manual were due by December 1. Delegates received their housing forms for General Assembly last week. Guests can register through the Nazarene website this Friday. We are officially in General Assembly 2023 Count Down Mode. It’s just 27 weeks away. Let the speculations begin…
- Will the Church of the Nazarene pass a resolution to allow for social drinking?
- Will the church address transgender individuals?
- Will there be a statement regarding capital punishment in the Manual? (There’s not one? Nope).
- Will the church pass a more readable and explainable Article X (sanctification)? (Please).
- Will the closet fundamentalists among us want to change Article IV (Holy Scripture)? (ugh)
- Since we’ve gone six years in-between Assemblies, will this be the year when the GMC bean-counters gets their wish for a cost effective five-year General Assembly cycle instead of the current four-year?
- Can there finally be a review process for District Superintendents? (There’s not one? Nope)
- Will there be a job description for Regional Directors? (There’s not one? Nope)
- US Presidents can serve well into their 70’s, why not General Superintendents?
- Is it possible to have a General Assembly without any craziness on the floor– i.e. passing a resolution that defies biology? It’s happened, then rescinded upon further review.
(There will be plenty of other resolutions than those mentioned above, the delegate’s book of proposed changes is usually an inch thick).
And, of course, with two General Superintendents aging out (Eugenio Duarte and David Graves), the question everyone is asking: Who will be elected General Superintendent? (Maybe the question that should be asked: “Who in their right mind would want that crazy, difficult, stress-filled, hotel-hopping, away-from-home job?”)
The United Methodist Church fireworks won’t occur at the 2023 Nazarene General Assembly. (The UMC is splitting, for the most part, over the issue of human sexuality. In the last General Assembly, the delegates passed our current statement on human sexuality with 97% agreement). But are we travelling down the United Methodist road? We have generally lagged 20 years behind the United Methodists in practice and procedure. Will we eventually land where they have landed? Is a church split inevitable in 2043? Can we take steps even now stave off such eventuality. Stay tuned.
The theme of this General Assembly is “Jesus is Lord.” Everyone should be able to rally around that theme. There should be 100% agreement. We should be united in mission and message.
In the meantime, everyone who calls themselves “Nazarene” should be in prayer. The world still needs the message that the Church of the Nazarene has historically given: “Holiness unto the Lord is our watch word and song;” Making Christ-like Disciples in the nations is our strongest desire; and We are a Christian, Holiness, Missional people. Pray not for uniformity, but for unity. Pray that the Holy Spirit pours a holy fire upon us. Pray. It’s not too early to pray. We’ve got 27 weeks. Let the countdown begin.
I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. 1 Corinthians 1:10