Organization. Local churches may be organized by the district superintendent, or by the general superintendent having jurisdiction, or by an elder authorized by either of them. Official reports of new churches shall be filed with the General Secretary’s office through the respective jurisdictional office. (23, 107, 208.1, 536.12)
Section: Local Government
Church-Type Mission. New congregational works that have not yet been organized according to paragraph 100, may be registered by the general secretary as a church-type mission, with the approval of the district superintendent where the new work is located. A member of the clergy serving a church-type mission as pastor or as associate (paragraph 160) shall be considered an assigned minister with the approval of the district superintendent. A church-type mission may be incorporated according to paragraph 102 and receive and report members according to 107.2. (100.2, 107.2, 138.1, 208.6)
The Multicongregational Church. Organized local churches may enlarge their ministry by establishing Bible classes in various languages using the facilities of these churches. These Bible classes may develop into church-type missions or organized churches (100–100.1). This may result in more than one congregation existing under one church name, with the approval of the district superintendent. In such multicongregational churches where not all the individual congregations are organized churches, the District Advisory Board, with the approval of the district superintendent and the general superintendent in jurisdiction, may grant to such congregations the rights and privileges of an organized local church subject to the following conditions:
- Such congregations may not be incorporated separate from the organized local church.
- Such congregations shall not hold title to property separate from the organized local church.
- Such congregations shall not incur indebtedness without the approval of the district superintendent, the church board of the organized local church, and the District Advisory Board.
- No such congregation may withdraw as a body from the organized local church or in any way sever its relation thereto except by the express permission of the district superintendent in consultation with the pastor of the local church.
Name. The name of a newly organized church shall be determined by the local church in consultation with the district superintendent and with the approval of the District Advisory Board. (102.4)
Change of Name. A local Church of the Nazarene may change its name by this process:
- The local church board submits the proposed change to the district superintendent who shall obtain the written approval of the District Advisory Board;
- A majority ballot vote in an annual or special meeting of the church membership;
- The District Advisory Board reports the change to the district assembly, and the district assembly votes approval of the same. (102.4)
Incorporation. In all places where the statutes will permit, the trustees shall have the local church incorporated, and the said trustees and their successors shall be the trustees of the said corporation. Where not inconsistent with civil law, the Articles of Incorporation shall set forth the powers of the corporation, and provide that the corporation shall be subject to the government of the Church of the Nazarene, as from time to time authorized and declared in its Manual by the General Assembly of said church. All the property of this corporation shall be managed and controlled by the trustees subject to the approval of the local church.
Where property is purchased and developed by the District Advisory Board for a local church or where a new church is formed, it is recommended that the District Advisory Board transfer the title to the local church upon the repayment by the local church of the money invested by the District Advisory Board.
When a local church is incorporated, all property acquired shall be deeded directly to the church in its corporate name when it is possible to do so. (102.6)
The pastor and the secretary of the church board shall be the president and secretary of the church, incorporated or not incorporated, and shall execute and sign all conveyances of real estate, mortgages, releases of mortgages, contracts, and other legal documents of the church not otherwise provided for in the Manual and subject to the restrictions set forth in 104–104.3.
The Articles of Incorporation of each local church shall include the following provisions:
- The corporate name shall include the words “Church of the Nazarene.”
- The bylaws of the corporation shall be the Manual of the Church of the Nazarene.
- The Articles of Incorporation shall not contain any provision that might prevent the local church from qualifying for any tax exemption available to churches in the same area.
- Upon dissolution, the assets of the corporation shall be distributed to the District Advisory Board.
The Articles of Incorporation may contain additional provisions when appropriate under local law. No provision, however, shall be included that can cause the property of the local church to be diverted from the Church of the Nazarene. (101–101.1, 104.3, 106.1–106.3)