The central event: divine service

Divine service is the activity of God upon human beings. It is also a work of human beings upon God. This makes it an encounter between God and man. The divine service is therefore the central event of the congregational life of New Apostolic Christians.

Deliberately reserved

The New Apostolic Church bases its divine services on the model of the early Christians: “And they continued steadfastly in the Apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2: 42). The same elements can still be found in divine service today, namely the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ, praise and thanksgiving to God, the dispensation of the sacraments, and collective prayers.

New Apostolic divine service is deliberately reserved: the focus is on worship, prayer, the sermon, the celebration of Holy Communion, and the dispensation of blessing. However, music is also a firm component of its liturgy, at minimum in the form of congregational singing, but quite often also in the form of choral or instrumental pieces.

An overview of the liturgy

The Trinitarian invocation “In the name of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” makes it clear to divine service participants that God is now present, just as His Son promised (Matthew 18: 20).

The opening prayer is followed by the reading of a Bible text that is usually provided ahead of time. The sermon, which the officiant preaches without reading from notes, elaborates further on this foundation. To this end, the officiating minister can also call upon other ministers for brief contributions.

The high point of the divine services is the sacramental portion. In preparation for this, the congregation joins collectively in the Lord’s Prayer, and then listens for the absolution, which announces forgiveness of sins to the believers. Holy Communion is generally celebrated in every divine service, while other sacraments are dispensed as needed.

The divine service concludes with the final benediction based on 2 Corinthians 13: 13: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all!” Following this, the congregation sings the threefold Amen.

Divine services for the departed

The divine services take place on Sunday mornings, but in many congregations, members also gather for an evening service during the week. Beyond that, there are also central divine services from time to time. These are transmitted to the congregations—and in special situations even to households—by Internet, satellite, telephone, or even public television.

Three times each year there are also divine services for the departed. On these occasions, the congregations pray that the unredeemed departed may find salvation in Christ. In those services conducted by a District Apostle or his assistants, selected ministers receive all three sacraments on behalf of the departed.

Read more in the Catechism