Our concept of ministry: a time-table for its implementation

The New Apostolic Church is taking its concept of ministry to a new level. How and why the Chief Apostle will explain personally in a video presentation at the beginning of April 2019. But this is only a first step.

The Chief Apostle himself will address all New Apostolic congregations around the world in a video presentation: this is part of the next step in updating our concept of ministry. This is what the New Apostolic Church International reports on its website nak.org.

The same approach at all levels

The Church leadership wants to adapt the hierarchy within the three existing ministerial levels in a manner appropriate to the times. Basically, a stronger distinction will be made between ministerial authority and leadership functions. A distinction will therefore be made between assignment (prayer for blessing), appointment (blessing and sanctification), and ordination (authority, blessing, and sanctification).

This new ruling has already been implemented on the level of the Apostles: only Apostles are ordained. A District Apostle will be appointed and his Helper, as his representative, will be assigned. Such a distinction between ministry and hierarchy will now also be implemented at the level of the priestly ministry.

In English, French, and German

How this will be implemented and what the reasons for this are will be explained in a video presentation by Chief Apostle Schneider, which will be transmitted to all District Apostle districts between 9 and 12 April 2019. The German-speaking District Churches in Europe will make a start on 9 April 2019 at 8 p.m. Not only ministers are invited to this transmission, but all interested members.

The Chief Apostle will address the brothers and sisters in French, English, and German. The video address is estimated to take between 50 and 60 minutes. When and how the transmission will be broadcast and whether it will be interpreted into additional national languages will be decided by the District Apostles for their respective working areas.

Training sessions and on paper

Part two of the communication cascade is addressed to ministers. They are to be informed step by step about the background and effects of the new ruling. Following the training of the active ministers, a similar event will follow for retired ministers.

Step three of the implementation delivers the information black on white: a special edition of the Divine Service Guide for ministers will expand on the topic. It will be based on a policy paper which classifies the development of our concept of ministry in a comprehensive manner. The material will then also be covered by the Church media.

Change has a long tradition

The new ruling will come into effect on Pentecost 2019. Change in the ministerial structure is definitely a tradition within the New Apostolic Church: in its early days, the Church had adopted the doctrine of the fourfold ministry from the Catholic Apostolic Church, which it then developed.

While these ministers shared equal rights in the congregation, in their ministerial categories they were subordinate to the respective minister at the next higher district level. If the development had continued like this, “there would have been more ministers than members in the end”, history books report, citing a reform that began under Chief Apostle Hermann Niehaus—more than one hundred years ago.

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