Although the Church of the Nazarene has core values, every local church has it's own identity and way of expressing these core values. Our local church has developed a list of core values that we believe define our particular local church ministry and describe how we express the core values of our denomination.
Although many Christians read about the 12 disciples and associate the concept of discipleship with preachers or leaders in the church, a disciple is really a "follower" or "learner." Acts 2:42 tells us that the disciples in the early church "devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer." As a church, we believe that we should exhibit the same type of devotion. If we do, not only will we grow in our faith, but we believe we will see some of the same results. People were filled with awe at the wonders performed by the disciples. Today, people are rarely filled with awe when they encounter the church and it's members. However, when the people of God actually devote themselves to Christ and stand for what they believe in, people take notice. We want people to take notice of Christ and his people!
In Luke 10:27 Jesus says confirms that in order to inherit eternal life, you must "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind" and "Love your neighbor as yourself." When Jesus was challenged regarding who is the neighbor that we should love, Jesus told the parable of the good Samaritan. In verse 33, Jesus states that the Samaritan "took pity" on the man who had been robbed and beaten. This word is elsewhere translated "had compassion for," such as when Jesus saw the crowds as harassed and helpless in Matthew 9:36. We often interpret these as affection or feeling bad for, but the Greek root word used here has to do with internal organs and brings to mind the concept of hurting deep in your gut for another person. Jesus is often said in this way to have hurt for someone. In turn, we don't believe that Christians "should be" compassionate. We believe that Christians are compassionate. In 2 Corinthians 5:14, Paul describes the effect that Christ's love had on he and his coworkers in Christ. He said that it "compels us." If Christ is living in us, we will hurt for others in a way that drives us to action.
As Jesus called his first disciples to follow Him, we too are called to follow. Jesus later, in Matthew 16, told them that if anyone would come after Him they should deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Him. As we follow Christ, 2 Corinthians 3:18 says that we are being renewed in the image of God through His Spirit. Galatians 5:22 lists faithfulness as a part of the fruit of the Spirit. Fruit is not produced with great effort. Rather, it is the natural outgrowth of what is inside. In a world where people make New Years resolutions and break them before February, marriage vows are no longer honored, and promises are broken, followers of Christ should exemplify the image of God in faithfulness. We should be people who others can count on. Among opportunities for faithfulness to God and others are the opportunity to be faithful in meeting with the body of believers and supporting the mission of Christ in Tithes and Offerings.
We believe that the natural outcome of experiencing a great event, especially one that has impacted us personally, is that we share it with those who we care about most. Sometimes we even share it with those we don't even know. When we meet a new love interest, we tell all of our friends. If somebody handed us the keys to a new car, we would drive it directly somewhere that we could show it off. It is our nature to share the great things of our life with others. Christians have been saved from a life of sin that has destroyed us and ultimately has eternal consequences. If, we are not sharing what Christ has done for us with everyone we know, it is hard to believe that the reality of this salvation is truly evident to us. Those who don't share have either not experienced the power of this salvation or have so been convinced by society that Christ is something to be ashamed of that they are no longer proud to share. We believe that, as 2 Corinthians 5 says, we are Christ's ambassadors as if He is making His appeal through us. Those who recognize the significance of their salvation cannot help but share.
Unfortunately, our culture and it's promotion of rugged individualism, has seeped into the church. The impact of this has been that believers talk about a "personal relationship with Jesus Christ" as if this means that we no longer need the body of believers gathered around us to support us. Hebrews 10:25 instructs us to not give up meeting together as some already at that time were in the habit of doing. Rather, we should encourage one another. The New Testament is full of "body language" in which we are taught about the importance of those around us within the body for building us up and the importance of using our gifts to build others up. In the same way, we are convinced that God has a purpose and a plan for the churches surrounding us. In Luke 9, Jesus instructs His disciples not to stop those who were doing the work of God but had not gone out from their group because "whoever is not against us is for us." Unfortunately, many local churches and denominations spend a lot of time working against each other instead of working together to further the cause of Christ. We believe that God has gifted different local churches in much the same way that he has gifted individual believers, for the purpose of building each other up and working together for the cause of Christ.