The New Apostolic Church is active in almost two hundred countries. How can the unity of the Church be ensured despite differences in tradition and organisation? Answers can be found in the following article giving an overview of the structures of the Church.
The Catechism of the New Apostolic Church presents and describes the doctrine of the Church. Further developments of the doctrine, such as our concept of ministry, are published in other papers. The Divine Service Guide provides ministers around the world with impulses for preaching in divine services. But how does the Church function as an organisation?
The smallest units: congregations and districts
The church life of New Apostolic Christians takes place in over 55,000 congregations. Around 250,000 ministers, most of whom work in an honorary capacity, look after the members of the congregations. They ensure that the members receive pastoral care and they conduct divine services. The number of committed members who see to the music, teaching, and the young people in the congregations, or look after the church buildings, can hardly be determined, but they are the backbone of the Church.
Several congregations together form a district, while several districts together form an Apostle district. Around 360 Apostles are active worldwide.
Countries and more: Regional Churches and District Apostle Areas
The Regional Church is a legal entity in which the New Apostolic Church is organised at the national level. The legal form of the Church at state level depends on the legal realities of the respective state. Germany and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are the only countries which are divided into three or two Regional Churches, respectively, at country level.
The overriding organisational structure is the District Apostle Area. It is responsible for the pastoral care of the members and for matters such as church buildings and financial management. There are currently fourteen District Apostle Areas, which are cared for by the following District Apostles:
- Michael David Deppner: DR Congo West
- Michael Ehrich: Southern Germany
- Joseph Opemba Ekhuya: East Africa
- Edy Isnugroho: South-East Asia
- Rüdiger Krause: Northern and Eastern Germany
- John Leslie Kriel: Southern Africa
- Enrique Eduardo Minio: South America
- John Schnabel: USA
- Peter Schulte: Western Pacific
- Kububa Soko: Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe
- Rainer Storck: Western Germany
- Tshitshi Tshisekedi: DR Congo South-East
- Mark Woll: Canada
- Jürg Zbinden: Switzerland
Some of the District Apostles are supported by District Apostle Helpers who as a rule work in specific countries:
- Thomas Deubel: Switzerland
- David Devaraj: India
- Frank Stefan Dzur: Canada
- Peter Bernhard Lambert: Southern Africa
- Arnold Ndakondwa Mhango: Malawi
- João Uanuque Misselo: Angola
- Mandla Patrick Mkhwanazi: Southern Africa
- Helge Mutschler: Northern and Eastern Germany
- Robert Nsamba: Zambia
- Stefan Pöschel: Western Germany
New Apostolic Church International
The legally independent Regional Churches are brought together under the umbrella of the New Apostolic Church International and comprise a doctrinally uniform denomination. All active Apostles around the world are members of this umbrella organisation.
The purpose of this association, according to Swiss law, is described in the Statutes as follows: “The purpose of the New Apostolic Church International is to cultivate, foster, and preserve the spiritual unity of all Apostles of the New Apostolic Churches in all countries of the world with the Chief Apostle and among themselves. NACI promotes the unity of all New Apostolic Regional Churches as part of a globally active Church as a whole.”
The Chief Apostle, as the supreme spiritual authority of the Church, is supported by various committees and bodies.
Responsible for financial matters: the Board of Directors
The Board of Directors, which supports the Chief Apostle in financial matters, is new and was installed in 2022. In addition to the Chief Apostle, District Apostles Mark Woll, Michael Ehrich, and Joseph Opemba Ekhuya, as well as Apostle Robert Worship, were elected to this board for four years. They determine the financial and investment strategy, approve the annual budget, and prepare guidelines and recommendations for the management of NACI and the Regional Churches.
Separating the spiritual from the organisational: the District Apostle Meeting and the Delegate Meeting
The central decision-making body of NACI is the District Apostle Meeting, which, as the name suggests, is made up of the District Apostles. It advises the Chief Apostle on all ecclesiastical matters and makes fundamental decisions that apply within the New Apostolic Church worldwide. The District Apostles are supported in their decision-making by work groups comprised of experts or committees focussing on specific areas.
The District Apostle Meeting should not be confused with the Delegate Meeting. While the District Apostle Meeting has a spiritual focus, the Delegate Meeting is responsible for organisational matters. An Apostle or District Apostle is elected as delegate for each District Apostle Area. At least once a year, the delegates decide on matters presented by the Chief Apostle, elect the statutory auditors, and approve the annual financial statements and the annual report.
This structure with the various committees and bodies ensures the unity of the Church worldwide.
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