Ministers between church and their families

Ministry and person. This may sometimes pose potential for conflict. The two roles, the one as minister and the one as husband and father, do not always coincide. What does the Chief Apostle say about this?

Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider just recently returned from a two-day trip to Raipur in India. On Saturday, 11 November 2017, he led a conference for Apostles and Bishops. It was the first time that the wives of the Apostles and Bishops wives were invited. “This was your District Apostle’s idea, which I really welcome,” the Chief Apostle said in his opening words.

District Apostle Mark Woll had invited the wives because a day later, Sunday, three new Apostles were to be ordained. He thought it would be good if the wives of these men could share in the preparations for this important step.

Gratitude for support

In his opening words the Chief Apostle thanked the women: “This is an opportunity to thank you for all your help and support. I know that we are not even aware of half of all that you do for us.” With this he touched on an important point: “Your work usually occurs on the quiet. What we, the ministers, do is seen by everybody. We wear black suits and stand behind the altar, preach, and make decisions. But without you we could not do this,” the Chief Apostle stated. Although the women’s part tends to be more or less invisible it is by no means any less important.

Husband and minister

The Chief Apostle thanked the sisters for their support and commitment. It is probably not always so easy to be the wife of an Apostle or a Bishop, he said. “You constantly have to distinguish: on the one hand your husband is the Apostle or the Bishop, on the other hand he is your husband. And your husband is probably a lot of things, but surely not perfect. Sometimes your heart is probably heavy when you think about your husband’s weaknesses. You know where his problems are, and then he steps behind the altar, preaches, and you must see the word of God in it.” The Chief Apostle said that he is aware of this and added: “We pray for you that you can distinguish between the weak sinner—the husband whom you know and live with every day—and the mouthpiece of God, who proclaims the gospel.”

Humbleness everywhere

Then he turned to the men: “You are not only an Apostle for the congregations. You are also an Apostle for your families. That does not, however, mean that you are the boss at home. It means that you have to be an Apostle at home as well, an ambassador of the Lord. At home you are a husband. And what you say and do does not have more weight just because you are an Apostle. Act like an Apostle also at home: be full of love, forgive, and serve.” Ministers should be a blessing in their family and in their congregation. Let us be humble servants of God, the Chief Apostle said. In the end, he continued, you have to make sure that your families can remain faithful.

“Again, thank you for all your support, dear sisters!”

In the divine service the next day, Fred Charles Marihal, Devadas Basappac, and Prabhakar Beergi were ordained into the Apostle ministry.

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Peter Johanning
Congregational life