Manual for ministers goes online

It has been on its way since October 2023 and has just arrived everywhere. For the first time in its ninety-year history, the Guide for Ministers is being published on the official website of the New Apostolic Church,

Almost like clockwork, every thirty years or so the Church has published a new version of its policies. The main editions were published in 1933, 1963, 1993, and most recently in 2023. Now, in 2024, the Guide for Ministers has been published online and can be consulted by anyone who is interested. It is featured on, the official website of the New Apostolic Church International.

The Guide can be found under the tab “About the NAC”, where you will also find the Catechism, Questions & Answers, and NAC from A–Z. The Guide for Ministers not only shares access with these services but also the technical platform. ‌The Regional Churches can also tap into this central media hub.

Duties, rights, and obligations

On the one hand, this manual regulates the duties, rights, and obligations of ministers, both male and female. Secondly, the Guide for Ministers also addresses the liturgy of divine services as well as the dispensation of sacraments and blessings. This extends to the concrete prescriptions on the maximum length of a divine service: a maximum of one hour on Sundays and three quarters of an hour for midweek services.

Newly included are competency profiles for ministers, teachers, and youth leaders. They describe core duties and personal prerequisites. The conviction that a calling to ministry is based on God’s will still applies, but the necessary skills must also be considered when a person is called to a ministry.

Committed to protection

Another new element in the manual is that the Church responds to certain social issues by creating appropriate regulations. “The New Apostolic Church strongly disapproves of any actions that infringe upon a person’s sexual self-determination. Protection from sexual violence is a duty incumbent on society as a whole, and the New Apostolic Church and its ministers are likewise committed to this duty,” it says in the Guide.

It goes on to state: “The New Apostolic Church does not tolerate sexual assault by ministers or members in the exercise of their church duties. Well-founded cases of suspicion are to be reported immediately to the relevant authorities established under the laws of the respective country.”

Changes are a tradition

The Guide for Ministers is to “promote the unity of the Church and impart security in church activities”, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider writes in his foreword. It represents a global framework that largely guarantees the required flexibility and the necessary room to manoeuvre, and it takes into account the cultural differences that exist around the world.

A great deal has happened since the last edition in 1993: in 1998, the Serving and Leading model came into being, in 2007, the Mission and Vision of the Church emerged, followed by the expanded liturgy in 2010. The Catechism of the New Apostolic Church was published in 2012, while the concept of ministry was formulated in 2019, followed by the introduction of women in ministry in 2023. In view of all these developments, the Guide for Ministers was updated with supplementary inserts in both 1997 and 2003.

The “need to adapt the existing Guide to the present conditions”, as Chief Apostle Richard Fehr put it in 1993, was in mind right from the start‌. ‌“Should improvements or amendments prove necessary, they will be taken into account in a new edition,” it says in the very first foreword from 1933, when Johann Gottfried Bischoff was Chief Apostle.

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Andreas Rother
Media, International, Institution