The Divine Service Guide addresses children

The thousands of teachers of the New Apostolic Church are not the only ones who have a heart for children. The Chief Apostle does too, and this is reflected in the Divine Service Guide. Starting in the new year, the guide for ministers will also provide impulses for divine services especially for children.

Not even the veterans among the Apostles have ever read such a circular from the Chief Apostle. In his 229th circular, Jean-Luc Schneider not only informed the Apostles about the spiritual content of the children’s service he held on 10 December 2017 in Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo), but he also provided hands-on advice on how children can be familiarised with the topic “Jesus is our King”.

But he went even further to demonstrate that his heart beats for the little ones. He made a suggestion to the working group which compiles the Divine Service Guide, Apostle Jürgen Loy, the chairman of the committee, told when asked. Starting in the new year and on a quarterly basis, the periodical will feature a topic for a divine service for children, which the ministers can work with.

Aim: to understand the gospel

With a concept and two drafts for concrete articles, the working group presented their ideas to the International District Apostle Meeting this past Pentecost. The new series met with the Chief Apostle’s approval. The January 2018 edition presents the first article. The topic is a classic: the Good Samaritan.

The other topics for the year 2018 are already in the pipeline, Apostle Loy says: Pentecost, Creation (to coincide with Thanksgiving), and Advent. This reflects the objective of the concept: the children are to be familiarised with the gospel. This ranges from the incarnation of Jesus to His death and resurrection and right through to the return of Christ.

The material for the series is based on the church calendar, for one, and on the sacraments. There are also free topics, such as the parables of Jesus.

Didactic tips: more than preaching

It is important to keep in mind that the article in the Divine Service Guide in no way constitutes a finished sermon, Apostle Loy confirms. As with the other divine services, the article forms the basic framework that has to be adapted to the target group both culturally and in an age-appropriate manner.

To facilitate this, the Divine Service Guide provides didactic tips. “If local conditions allow, the didactic tips can be implemented in accordance with the guidelines set by the District Church,” it says in the foreword of January’s issue.

In the circular in which the Chief Apostle writes about the children’s service in Kinshasa, he gives some hands-on advice on how he understands child-friendly implementation. A skit is part of it. A child is chosen to play the role of a king who rules in a pompous and high-handed manner and sends people to prison on a whim. Another child plays the role of the humble Jesus, who frees the prisoners.

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Andreas Rother
Chief Apostle, services for children