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What is a Nazarene?

Shepherd is proud to be a part of the world wide Church of the Nazarene based in Kansas City.

The Church of the Nazarene is a Protestant Christian church in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition. Organized in 1908, the denomination is now home to about 2.3 million members worshiping in more than 29,000 local congregations in 159 world areas.


At Shepherd we gladly and happily welcome people from every faith background, but many of us have been raised in Nazarene churches far and wide.... tiny, rural Nazarene churches, big metropolitan Nazarene churches, struggling penny-pinched Nazarene churches, and Nazarene churches on mission fields halfway around the world.

We don't want you to feel left out! Like any big family, we may sometimes tell family stories without being aware that newer folks in our ranks don't know all the language that comes with this long-standing, close-knit association of tradition and experience. Please excuse us if this ever happens.

Hang around our church family long enough and you may hear the following words flung around. Hopefully these short descriptions will help you sort it out.

The Manual - a book that is republished every few years with the standards of our church beliefs written out kind of like a rule book. The Bible always trumps "The Manual," but most church leaders will refer to "The Manual" on confusing topics. It's a century-long, collaborative effort of some of the wisest and kindest people in the faith, and it's always a good thing to take their views into consideration. They have weight. But if you disagree with it in parts, no one will be too tough on you.

Camp meeting - Every summer in every US state and every Nazarene infused county, people from every walk of life . . . professionals, farmers, students and retired folks . . . gather in a rural camp ground for music, food and preaching. The long-haired teenagers camp out, the children run wild, and the crowd sings really loud and scratches mosquito bites. It's a great retro time where many of us, in our youth, heard a message that changed our lives.

General Assembly - Every four years there is a huge Nazarene convention somewhere in the US. Sometimes Miami, sometimes Kansas City, sometimes San Diego, sometimes elsewhere. Representatives from Nazarene districts everywhere around the world gather to hash over hot topics, review the manual, elect leaders, listen to speakers and celebrate the success of global missions.  The doors are open to the public. Put it on your bucket list. It's got interesting parts.

Bible Quizzing - This is a big deal, especially in the churches without abundant resources and distractions. Every year the kids study one book of the Bible and they compete against other church kids in neighboring cities. This gets the kiddos memorizing verses (by reference) and bible trivia by the time they learn to read. It's the reason that many people who grew up in a Nazarene church seems to have large chunks of the Bible buried in their long term memory. It's done in hopes that this brain training of young minds will sink down into the heart.

Work & Witness - The Nazarene Church and our local church regularly schedule trips to villages around the world that need a boost. A group will agree to travel, paying their own expenses or raising their own funds, and work with a team to provide labor for a week or more... building churches, cleaning up after disasters, or providing medical services. It's another thing to put on your bucket list.