Why Wesleyans Should Merge with the Nazarenes

Last Spring I wrote a column on why Nazarenes should merge with Wesleyans, which made GSs in both denominations jumpy. Now the companion piece: Why Wesleyans ought to merge with the Nazarenes.
1. Bigger is better. Nazarenes have about 3-4 times as many people attending church in North America as Wesleyans, and even more than that overseas. We boomers all believe bigger is better, so joining the Nazarenes would make both denominations bigger… and thus better.
2. Leadership. Wesleyan sometimes complain that their DSs lacks “vision” or “leadership” and serve too much like a office manager or bookkeeper. Nazarenes have their very best leaders in the DS and GS spots and they give them the power to lead. We boomers who want a strong DS would be thrilled with the Nazarene DSs.
3. Higher Education. It is simple: Nazarenes have the single best denominational educational system in the world.
4. Kansas City. Isn’t it obvious that Kansas City is a superior location for a North American denomination’s headquarters than Indianapolis.
5. Camp Meetings. If you like camp meetings, then you would want to merge with Nazarenes before summer—they have the best denominational camp meetings in North America today.
6. Missions. Nazarenes have incredibly strong mission fields, excellent overseas colleges, and the two denominations’ missions fields blend nicely without too much overlap.
7. Nazarene Publishing House. While all publishing houses are suffering, and many denominational publishing houses are collapsing, the NPH is still afloat and even publishes curriculum!
8. Holiness. None of the former holiness denominations have done well at keeping the idea of entire sanctification alive, but the Nazarenes have done more to keep the idea alive than any other denomination; if you like holiness you gotta’ like Nazarenes.
9. Restitution for Rees. At the time it seemed like the Nazarenes were heavy-handed and out of bounds in excommunicating Pilgrim Seth Cook Rees from their denomination, but I have no doubt that virtually all Wesleyans today would side with the School and the DS.
10. Self esteem. Wesleyans are a humble lot and not very good at thinking they’re good, but I’ve never met a Nazarene without an abundance of denominational self confidence. A dose of that denominational self-esteem would do Wesleyans good.
Of course such a merger is not imminent. Mergers take time. It took about 40 years of talking and dating before Wesleyan Methodists and the Pilgrim Holiness finally merged. It could take longer for a Nazarene-Wesleyan merger. But who knows when…?
So, this week I’ll be thinking of the reasons to merge with Nazarenes…
So, what do you think?
The discussion of this column is on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/profile.php?id=161502633

Keith Drury November 22, 2011

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