“Whatever we do, we do out of love for Jesus”
They are to be watchmen and guardians, proclaimers and ministers, not lords, but rather “unprofitable servants”. This is what the Chief Apostle expects of the ministers of the New Apostolic Church—following are some remarks from the year 2016.
Argentina and the Republic of Congo in April, Albania and Uganda in July—such were the divine services for ministers that Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider conducted over this year which is now drawing to a close. Each one had its own special emphasis, but there were also some central commonalities.
The focus is on Jesus
“It is God who has called us to His service—not a human being, not an organisation,” stressed the Church leader: “It is not about the New Apostolic Church. It is not about the Apostle. Let us talk about Jesus—how He works, how He loves, how He comforts.”
After all, “the Lord Jesus is the example—not I,” said the Chief Apostle in his appeal to the ministers, before underlining that they are not to make their own conduct or their own views the standard for others. “Just let your neighbour be completely different! The important thing is that he follows the Lord Jesus and organises his life in accordance with the gospel.”
He warned expressly against “every idle word” (Matthew 12: 36). What are idle words? “The rules we at times lay down.—Do you know? In the past there were some rather peculiar rules: short hair and things like that. None of this is of any relevance for our salvation.”
Being close to the children of God
“We have been sent as workers,” emphasised the Church leader. “The ministry is not some hierarchical function for ruling over the congregation. Do not waste any time defending your status.” What Jesus Christ expects are “unprofitable servants” (Luke 17: 10). This means, “Our person, our ideas are not important. Let us preach about Jesus. Let us put the focus on Him.”
However, “it is not enough just to stand behind the altar and preach, and have everyone admire us.” This is because “we cannot provide pastoral care from behind the altar. For this we must be close to the sick and the suffering.” And this means “knowing the children of God, being familiar with their cares, weeping with them, and praying with them.”
No benefits, no bonuses—only love
“One may well be a good servant, do a fantastic job in the work of God, and still not be there on the day of the Lord!” warned the Chief Apostle. “If nothing in my soul has changed for the better, then I will not be there on the day of the Lord.”
“We are not entitled to any special reward as servants of God,” he summarised. “Fellowship with God means that we already have everything. One cannot possibly inherit more than the glory of God.” The important thing is that, “whatever we do, we do out of love for Jesus.”