NAWE

The National Association of Wesleyan Evangelicals | Serving Jesus, His Shepherds, and His Sheep

HISTORY


Here's a brief summary of the exciting events that led to where we are and who we are today! If you have any questions about the Christian faith or what we mean by the terms "Wesleyan" or "Evangelical"  please drop us a line -- especially if you do not yet have a relationship with Jesus Christ. 

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THE BEGINNING OF THE CHURCH (First Century A.D.)
A promise given since the earliest days of mankind was fulfilled through the coming of Jesus Christ, the foretold Messiah of Israel. Following the death, burial, and miraculous resurrection of Jesus Christ around A.D. 33, Jesus promised the Comforter (the Holy Spirit) would abide with his followers to the end of the age. Several weeks after Jesus ascended into heaven, God sent His Spirit to believers in Christ gathered in an upper room. A rushing wind was heard, what appeared as "tongues of fire" came upon those gathered, and mighty works were done. From there, thousands of souls were saved and the Early Church began to spread rapidly throughout the world. Christianity was born.

THE WESLEYAN AWAKENING (1700s)
From time to time, God will awaken his Church in ways that draw in large crowds and transform society. This happened through the ministry of John and Charles Wesley in the 1700s. Along with friends such as George Whitfield, the Wesleys began shaking up the established church in England, taking the message of Jesus Christ to rich and poor alike, and in the church buildings and in the fields. At first organized into accountability groups known as societies, bands, and class meetings, this movement laid the groundwork for what later became the Methodist Church, which soon came to America and countries around the world. 

THE HOLINESS MOVEMENT (1800s)
During the 1800s the Methodists in America were instrumental in fanning the flames of revival across the Western frontier. Devotees of Wesley's message of total surrender to God and the importance of mutual accountability and moral excellence comprised a movement that became known as the Holiness Movement. With notable figures such as D.L. Moody and Charles Finney, this movement influenced Christians of many denominations and led to the revival meetings associated with what was later termed the Second Great Awakening.

ARRIVAL OF THE EVANGELICALS (early 1900s)
Liberal thought began to creep into and take over prominent Christian seminaries and universities in the early 1900s. A movement of " Higher Criticism" led mainline denominations such as the Methodist Church to question the fundamentals of the Christian faith in favor of contemporary understandings of science. By the 1930s, a movement of Bible-believers became known as Evangelicals -- driven by a central belief that the Good News of Jesus Christ means presenting the Gospel in convincing ways that do not compromise the basic truths of holy Scripture. Revival meetings so large they moved from tents to stadiums came about during this time, notably through the influence of Billy Graham and other "mass evangelists" who brought in the crowds to learn more about Jesus. 

THE METHODIST CHALLENGE (mid-1900s)
Several new expressions of Protestant Christianity came about during the rise of Evangelicalism, including the Evangelical Methodist movement in 1946. Evangelical Methodists stood on the Bible as the rule of faith and advocated for church structures that were more responsive to the people it served. Early leaders in this movement were also deeply concerned about the threat Socialism represented to both civic and religious life in America, particularly during the years following World War II. Many of these founders, such as Methodist preacher  J.H. Hamblen, sacrificed their homes and their pensions to leave the mainline Methodist Church and start over fresh, convinced the rift between Evangelicals and liberals in the Methodist Church could never be healed. Many congregations lost their historic church buildings to follow their consciences.

FORMING A NEW ASSOCIATION (early 2000s)
In the dawning years of the new milennium, a growing number of Evangelical Methodists — especially in the Southern U.S. — were convinced the time had come to form, not a new top-heavy denomination, but a free association of independent churches and ministries. In 2010, the National Association of Wesleyan Evangelicals ( NAWE) was begun with a handful of churches and a whole lot of heart! The NAWE upholds the Bible as the standard for Christian living and belief, standing on the shoulders of its Wesleyan, Methodist, Holiness, and Evangelical forerunners. Its mission is to come alongside congregations, ministers, and other servants of Jesus Christ and help them to fulfill Jesus' Great Commission. The NAWE maintains many partnerships in the wider Wesleyan-Holiness family, working closely with the Association of Independent Methodists as well as missionary-sending organizations WGM and OMS. The association receives inquires on a regular basis from around the country. 

Will you help us write the next chapter in this unfolding story? Let's hear your ideas!