International media in an international church

It is precisely during these times of restrictions and curfews that online media have become a welcome companion. They offer us first-hand information, reading material, divine service experiences, and a sense of international community.

The new website of the New Apostolic Church International describes online media as the “marketplace of opinions”. Reaching out to people in the twenty-first century means being present on social media. This naturally also applies—and is perhaps even more relevant—to churches. And so it is that the New Apostolic Church International has its own official channels on all the major platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube—and in the four languages of English, French, German, and Spanish to boot.

Many of the District Churches are following this model and are offering their own regional information online as well. This means that the New Apostolic Church has a quite a comprehensive and modern range of media available to its users. Many hundreds of thousands of clicks each month demonstrate the importance of these options.

Keeping social media social

However, and this is also part of the whole picture, social media can at times also be quite antisocial! Appreciation for others and respect for human dignity are not always the focus. Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider also knows a thing or two about that: “The problem is how one deals with it,” he says, before going on to mention its four great dangers, namely the inclination to create a virtual world, the tendency to overrate one’s ego, the erosion of values, and the violation of human dignity.

Unfortunately, this other side of the coin also includes fake news, ridicule, insults, and hate speech. Thus it was for good reason that the New Apostolic Church published a corresponding guideline. It is intended to serve as an orientation guide for all members of the Church as they navigate their way through the world of social media.

Global communications opportunities

The leadership of the New Apostolic Church attaches great importance to communication in general—and it does so on all levels, whether that of the congregation, the district, the District Church, or the universal Church. The Communication Services department at the international Church headquarters in Zurich is one of five service groups that directly support the Chief Apostle and Church President. He has always called for fast, modern, international, and targeted communication for Church members and all other interested parties. In addition to the typical and more familiar platforms, this also includes the New Apostolic Church’s own offers in the way of magazines, websites, and apps.

The number of divine service broadcast by the New Apostolic Church—be it over the internet, on television, or by satellite—has also grown tremendously. The Church and media have literally become networked with one another.

Two websites for dialogue

And in the World Wide Web? Here too the New Apostolic Church is well represented, from the international to the local sphere, at every level, and in all the details. Two principal international media are also on offer in this respect: nak.org is the official announcement channel of the international Church. It is updated three to four times each month, depending on the events that occur. Its profile is clearly sender-oriented, as it serves to convey official information. The style of this site is factual and objective, the language of its reports is based on the official formulations of the Church.

It is completely different with nac.today: the international Church’s official online news magazine is published daily (except Sundays) and is more reader-oriented. It follows the development of topics that play a role within the Church, and aims to bring the worlds of New Apostolic Church members closer together. The style here is more emotional and subjective, and the language used is everyday language.

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Peter Johanning
12.01.2021
Media, International