Pentecost council of the Church leaders: all eyes are on Goslar
Immediately after the International Youth Convention in Düsseldorf, the leaders of the global Church set out for Goslar (Germany) in order to discuss some complex doctrinal topics.
They took the momentum from Düsseldorf with them. The International Youth Convention (IYC) of the New Apostolic Church had inspired them all and left them with many experiences and insights. But now it is back to work: the session of the International District Apostle Meeting preceding the Pentecost celebrations comes with its own dynamism and urgency. The agenda is full of future-oriented topics.
Experiences and evaluations related to our concept of ministry
The recently announced changes to the concept of ministry of the New Apostolic Church were the dominant theme at the various sessions of the District Apostle Meeting over the past few years. This time too, in Goslar, the discussions served to support the announced modifications with solid arguments. Each of the District Apostles reported on their experiences with it in their District Church. Now, the pending task in the time ahead is to round the package off so that it corresponds to the modalities of the national churches and unites tradition as well theology.
On Pentecost our concept of ministry, as presented in April, will come into effect. From now on, the New Apostolic concept of ministry will distinguish between ministerial authority and leadership function. The three ministerial levels include the Deacon ministry, the priestly ministry, and the Apostle ministry. The five leadership functions include the congregational rector, the district rector, the Apostle, the District Apostle, and the Chief Apostle.
An ordination will take place when an ecclesiastical ministry is to be conferred. Leadership functions will be conferred through prayer and the laying-on of hands. Assistants who support the leading ministers will be assigned from now on: for example, Chief Apostle Helper, District Apostle Helper, Bishops, as well as delegates of congregational and district rectors. The ministries of Evangelist, Shepherd, District Evangelist, and District Elder will no longer be occupied.
The question of whether women in ministry are conceivable in the New Apostolic Church will be added to the list of topics up for discussion in the time ahead. The Chief Apostle has addressed this on a number of occasions, most recently at the panel discussion during the IYC in Düsseldorf. He pointed out that there are still a number of unanswered questions on this subject. As mentioned in his video message, in which he introduced the concept of ministry, the first question that has to be dealt with is: what does the Bible say about this?
Assignment of functions that do not require a ministry
What about the tasks and services in a congregation that do not require a ministry? The District Apostle Meeting adopted the following decision: brothers and sisters who are active as principal teachers in pre-Sunday School, Sunday School, religious instruction, and confirmation instruction, both at the congregational and district level, will be assigned to their function.
The same applies to youth leaders who will be active on a long-term basis. These assignments will occur in an official act following a prayer and a handshake, either in front of the congregation or in the circle of the children or the youth. This will take effect on 1 September 2019. The Chief Apostle remarked that the same procedure was used when he was called as District Apostle Helper and Chief Apostle Helper.
A joint conclusion on Sunday, the Pentecost service
At the end of the meeting, Chief Apostle Schneider bid the two District Apostles Charles Ndandula (Zambia) and Raúl Montes de Oca (Brazil) a warm and sincere farewell. They will be retiring at the end of July and the beginning of August respectively.
Sunday marks the conclusion of the global meeting of the District Apostles. The divine service with Chief Apostle Schneider will be transmitted across the globe. The Chief Apostle will conduct the service in German. His sermon will be interpreted into English at the altar. All District Apostles and District Apostle will be present.
Photo: Oliver Rütten
District Apostle Meeting (DAMI)