Church leadership takes a critical look at itself

The large Regional Churches have done their homework—and received good grades. A first self-assessment is now available to the international Church leadership based on its good governance policy. What this is about and what it is good for …

“No major systemic governance problems identified.” This was the result of the first round of the self-assessment.

Even a Church needs secular structures to make a common life of faith possible. This is also how the New Apostolic Church International (NACI) in Zurich is structured: on the one hand there is the District Apostle Meeting with its spiritual focus, and on the other is the Delegates’ Meeting, which deals with organisational matters.

The representatives of the District Apostle Areas dealt with the subject of good governance at the Pentecost meeting in Zurich, Switzerland, today. This includes adherence to certain principles regarding leadership, decision-making, and communication of information in the Regional Churches.

A different type of commandments

The Delegale Meeting had already adopted corresponding principles a year ago in Cape Town in South Africa. The ten principles of good governance are:

  • Organisational unity: both NACI and the Regional Churches undertake to promote their unity as a globally active Church.
  • Continuity: the governing bodies are to provide an environment that creates stability so that the Church can exercise its mission.
  • Shared decision-making: certain administrative decisions must be taken by majority vote in the Board.
  • Informed decision-making: the necessary skills are to be represented, or at least accessible, in the governing bodies as far as possible.
  • Accountability: accountability for decisions lies with the District Apostle and the Board.
  • Ethical behaviour: the members of the governing bodies are to exemplify openness, integrity, confidentiality, and respect, and act in the best interests of those impacted.
  • Duty of care: when making spending decisions, governing bodies are to be aware that Church funding comes from donors who are motivated by their relationship with God.
  • Supervision: the Board of Directors of the Regional Church is to ensure that adequate oversight is in place at the various organisational levels.
  • Transparency: appropriate and regular communication with Church members and the public is a requirement.
  • Representation: the General Assembly of a Regional Church functions to represent the common interests of the members of the Church.

Self-regulation according to a timetable

The District Apostle Areas had their homework set out for them. They needed to answer a whole package of questions that arise from these principles and their further guidelines. The board members of the leading Regional Churches were called on to answer these questions, not only for themselves, but also for other Regional Churches in their organisational care.

The result: so far, no serious systemic deficiencies have been identified. The survey will be analysed further and any need for optimisation will be addressed. In the meantime, the Church’s self-assessment is entering a second round. After the larger District Churches, the District Apostle Areas are now taking on the smaller Regional Churches.

Leading by example

NACI has now begun to undertake appropriate measures in-house. The most recent Statutes have restricted the Chief Apostle’s decision-making powers in financial matters and transferred further responsibility to the newly created Board of Directors as a collective body.

With the topic of good governance, the New Apostolic Church is continuing its Church strategy work on international standards. In recent years, this included the minimal requirements for the operation of the Church as well as the global risk assessment for the continued existence of the Regional Churches. features an overview of other topics discussed by the District Apostle Meeting.

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