Our roots lie within the theology of Methodism and the influence of John Wesley. Our historical development, however, took place in the context of the 19th century American History with the growth of the holiness movement inside the greater reform movements going on at that time. Our church was a coming together of many groups who focused on the meaning of holiness, both for personal living and for the social environment. We are not a splitting off, but a coming together - and this emphasis is the basis for our working together in the local community in Stuttgart - Bad Cannstatt. We come together from different backgrounds and work together in an international setting to form a community that reflects both personal faith and ethical living.
Because we want the maximum involvement of people and because we know that our community has a high level of coming and going, our church structure has flexibility to it. Our local church is connected to a District network of churches and is accountable to them. Our local church has several people who represent the entire church to this District level of organization, which is turn is accountable to the worldwide Church of the Nazarene. Yet, the entire church body carries the responsibility for the life of the local church. We have Quarterly Meetings where everyone can help to plan and develop the activities of the church. In addition, there are circles of specific responsibility where each individual can become more actively involved. Our church is funded by the free will giving of those attending. In Germany 20 local church communities with about 1.300 members currently belong to the Church of the Nazarene and worldwide there are about 12.500 local church communities with approximately 1.6 million members. The World Evangelism of the Church of the Nazarene provides the following in world mission areas:
Outreach to 149 world areas
Support for more than 800 missionaries and volunteers
Training for more than 6.300 national workers
Support for more than 300 retired missionaries
Support for primary and secondary schools serving almost 69.000 children annually
Support for more than 23.500 students in Bible college, universities, seminaries and vocational and training colleges
Support for more than 60 medical clinics and 2 hospitals
Funding for literature in more than 95 languages
Administrative expenses for Work & Witness, Alabaster, World Mission Broadcast, and ministries to more than 13.000 churches
Base support for the facilitation of Nazarene Compassionate Ministries projects, the JESUS Film Project, and other.
When the current pastor came to Stuttgart in 1983, there were two German women and one American who were interested in an English-speaking Bible study. Out of this rather small circle, an ever larger group developed. As the group enlarged, so the number of meetings expanded. At first there was a majority of Americans worshipping together, but it was the goal to become a more international church that could weather the ups and downs of any one group coming and going. And the process has succeeded − on a small scale, with changes from year to year. The pastor’s commitment to an international church is grounded in the biblical plan (see again Ephesians 1:10), the logical expansion of Wesleyan theology (where love for others is a key idea), and the emphasis of the Church of the Nazarene’s founder on catholicity, the bringing together of believers who share the vision of wholeness or holiness. The work of the Holy Spirit in each believer is the basis for the larger vision of unity in the midst of diversity.
Our church endeavours to care for all who enter its circle of influence. We care for our children by providing spiritual nurture for them during our worship service on Sunday evening. When young people come who have not had catechism or preparation for baptism, courses are offered to nurture their faith. When people have faith in Christ, baptism follows. Our church is open for both children’s baptism and children’s dedication, although we prefer the latter in order to give the decision for faith a concrete expression of commitment. Because we emphasize catholicity with a small “c”, every believer in a church service can participate fully in Communion without being an official member of the local church. Finally, we look after the older members of the community and nurture them until they leave us.
FIND YOUR FAITH
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Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7