Zurich. “Joy in Christ”—this is the motto for the year 2015 which Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider has addressed to the global congregation of all New Apostolic Christians. His intent here is to point to the strength and power that Christians can derive from their intimate relationship with the Son of God. Although no one—including the Chief Apostle—knows what the coming year will bring, we can nevertheless already set priorities now.
The New Year’s Day divine service with the Church leader was eagerly anticipated in the District Church of North Rhine-Westphalia. Chief Apostle Schneider visited the congregation of Herne-Wanne-Eickel, where the large church building of the New Apostolic Church boasts seating for 1,000 people. There he emphasized the importance of inner joy and referred to several specific examples to illustrate the point, for example, the joy in the congregations. Such joy can even be felt in a congregation that is small, or in a congregation where the members have very different characters. “Let us be aware that God has brought us together in order to lead us into the kingdom of God together,” emphasized the Church leader. However, the congregation is not merely to be a collection of consumers or clients, but rather a working community that depends upon each and every individual. Appreciating others, accepting them as disciples of Christ, helping along in the work of the congregation—“These are just some ways in which we can increase our joy, “explained by the Chief Apostle. “It is also something special for a congregation when a child is baptized,” he noted. “Jesus already stated that there is joy in heaven over one sinner who turns back to God in repentance. This same joy can also be felt by the congregation!”
“I am well aware that such a motto might seem somewhat removed from reality, given the prognoses for the future and the situations that prevail in various congregations,” said Chief Apostle Schneider, “but if that is how the conditions are, then they have been permitted by God! That is my firm belief,” he went on to note. “From time to time, I get the impression that it is easier to mourn together than to rejoice together,” stated the Chief Apostle. “We human beings at times feel envious when someone else rejoices, but through the love of God we can all rejoice unconditionally with our neighbour. Just give it a try sometime,” challenged the Chief Apostle.
And everything is to revolve around the Lord. He has promised to come—this is and remains the goal of faith for New Apostolic Christians! He grants us grace, responds to our prayers, and gives us strength in our battle against sin.
Joy in daily life
The Chief Apostle also wished the believers much joy in their daily lives. “In consideration of the various daily circumstances, this is not always easy, but God will grant the necessary gifts and strength to do so,” he stated with great certainty. “The coming year will not only bring tests and trials, but also many good things, like the help of God,” he encouraged the congregation. “We can likewise rejoice over our health and a bit more money,” said the Chief Apostle, “but the important thing is to make good use of that which God provides in the sense of the gospel.” He went on to add, “And if our neighbour rejoices, then we can rejoice right along with him!”
New Year’s address online
The international Church leader conducted his first divine service of the new year in the congregation of Herne-Wanne-Eickel. The sermon was transmitted by satellite to many congregations throughout North Rhine-Westphalia and other European District Churches. For the coming year, the Chief Apostle issued a new motto, namely “Joy in Christ”, and went on to provide some references to various sources of such joy.
Please read our detailed report on the subject on the website of the New Apostolic Church North Rhine-Westphalia.
The new internet magazine nac.today also discusses the new annual motto and features Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider’s New Year’s address.