What is General Assembly and Conventions?
Every four years, Nazarenes from around the world gather for the General Assembly and Conventions of the Church of the Nazarene. They come together to represent their home churches and districts and to participate as members of this global expression of the kingdom of God. Included in these gatherings are powerful corporate worship services, inspiring messages from the Board of General Superintendents, relevant and meaningful workshops, and plenty of opportunities for fellowship, reconnecting, and making new friends.
Additionally, the General Assembly constitutes the “supreme doctrine-formulating, lawmaking, and elective authority of the Church of the Nazarene” (Manual, 300) and thus serves as a venue for electing denominational leaders making important decisions that impact future generations of the church. The General Conventions of Nazarene Missions International (NMI), Nazarene Youth International (NYI), Nazarene Discipleship International (NDI), and the Global Nazarene Education Consortium are held in the days leading up to General Assembly. While voting is restricted to only those officially elected delegates, participation in the events of the General Assembly and Conventions is open to the general public.
General Assembly Beginnings
The 2023 General Assembly in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA marks the 30th such gathering in the history of the Church of the Nazarene. The first General Assembly took place in Chicago, Illinois, USA on October 10–17, 1907. The second occurred in Pilot Point, Texas, USA on October 8–14, 1908. The most important work of these first two General Assemblies was to merge three major parent bodies to create the present-day Church of the Nazarene. At Pilot Point in 1908, the resolution to merge a group from the American South with groups that previously united from the American East and American West was adopted. The merger was a landmark event in American church history, since most major denominations were still divided by the American Civil War. Phineas F. Bresee, the first General Superintendent of the Church of the Nazarene, called the Nazarene merger an "answering of the Lord’s prayer that they may be one." The Church of the Nazarene traces its anniversary to this event in 1908, and the same spirit of unity and oneness will be evident 115 years later as participants from around the world join together for the 30th General Assembly and Conventions in Indianapolis.
From Then to Today
The principal activities of the first four General Assemblies in 1907, 1908, 1911, and 1915 involved the unions of the various holiness groups to form what today is a global community of believers of over 2.5 million members in 164 world areas. The three following General Assemblies in 1919, 1923, and 1928 gave shape to the denomination’s character and structure, including the establishment of the General Board and the Board of General Superintendents. Beginning in 1932, the General Assembly began a pattern of meeting every four years. In addition to Chicago, Pilot Point, and Indianapolis, other General Assemblies and Conventions have been held in Nashville, Tennessee; Kansas City, Missouri; Columbus, Ohio; Wichita, Kansas; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Minneapolis, Minnesota; St. Louis, Missouri; Portland, Oregon; Miami, Florida; Dallas, Texas; Anaheim, California; San Antonio, Texas; and Orlando, Florida. In 2023, Indianapolis will serve as the host city for the seventh time, having first hosted the event in 1989.
The General Assembly and Conventions of the Church of the Nazarene began as a gathering of hundreds in 1907 and 1908. Since those early gatherings the event has grown exponentially. In 2023, thousands of Nazarenes from every region of the globe will come together at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis with a passion to make Christlike disciples in the nations.