Ministry (12): Called and ordained

A person is chosen for a ministry by God, and ordination through a human being is the way he receives it—what exactly this is and how it differs from appointments and assignments is described here.

Ordination, appointment, assignment—these are the three acts of institution that the New Apostolic Church has known since Pentecost 2019 for all ministerial levels and beyond.

Ordination is the conferring of

  • a ministry
  • with authority, blessing, and sanctification
  • received through the laying on of hands of an Apostle while kneeling
  • and unlimited in time.

Appointment is the conferring of

  • a spiritual and administrative leadership function
  • to a minister
  • through blessing and sanctification
  • and it is received through the laying on of hands of an Apostle or a leading priestly minister while kneeling.

Assignment is the conferring of

  • a spiritual service or task
  • with a prayer invoking God’s blessing
  • to a minister or a member
  • and is received through a handshake from a leading priestly minister while standing up.

Personal and professional competencies required are to be taken into account in all cases.

Ordination applies to Deacons, Priests, and Apostles. This is above all a matter of transferring ministerial authority related to the proclamation of the word and the dispensation of the sacraments. The ordination of the Chief Apostle remains a special feature. With regard to ministerial authority, he is also an Apostle, but he also assumes the supreme responsibility for religious doctrine and church order (he discharges the Petrine office and the authority of the keys).

The term “ordination” comes from the Latin ordinatio and means the transfer to another ordo that is, another “state”. The laying on of hands and prayer are based on the New Testament. This is attested in Acts 6 and 13, as well as in 1 and 2 Timothy, and are thus fundamental elements of ordination. Kneeling is to bring to expression the holiness of the act, as well as the humbleness required before God, the congregation, and the task associated with the ministry.

Appointments apply to District Apostles, as well as district and congregational rectors. As with an ordination, the blessing assures the recipients of the divine support and help of the Holy Spirit and awakens, strengthens, and multiplies the existing gifts of the recipient. Sanctification points to the fact that it is God Himself, in His holiness and inviolability, who seeks to act through the ministry.

Assignments are imparted to members of the congregation who will be active in the long term as either principal teachers or youth leaders. Ministers can also be assigned to certain functions: these are delegates of district and congregational rectors, lead Apostles, as well as District Apostle Helpers and Chief Apostle Helpers. There is one exception. Out of respect for tradition, the term “Bishop”, as the designation for the priestly minister who serves as assistant to the Apostle, has been retained.

Sources for this article include the Catechism of the New Apostolic Church (including Questions and Answers), a supplementary “Commentary on chapter 7” of the CNAC, the Divine Service Guide Special Editions 03/2017, 04/2017, and 02/2019, as well as training materials for our concept of ministry. / Photo: Hyejin Kang -

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Andreas Rother