Apostles meet and gear up for 2018

Proverbs 29:18 rightly says that when there is no vision, the people perish. And that is why the Apostles of NAC India meet regularly to measure their progress, to get orientation, and to plan ahead into the future. From 6 to 8 December 2017, the three-day All India Apostles Meeting was held in Bengaluru. It was attended by seven Apostles and District Apostle Helper David Devaraj.

The four main topics of this meeting were (1) a presentation on membership statistics of NAC India, followed by (2) the redistribution of working areas for the Apostles. This was linked to (3) the introduction of new formats for scheduling and a session on (4) data collection in all the congregations.

Spiritual Part

On two days, Apostle David started with a spiritual part which was taken from the Chief Apostle meeting in Raipur on 11 November 2017.

Part 1
He reflected on the gratitude to the sisters – especially the wives of the Apostles and Bishops – who often had to differentiate between two roles: their husband and the Apostle or Bishop. At the same time, they were aware of the weaknesses of their husband.

He reminded everyone present that they had to behave like Apostles, that is to love, to forgive and to serve. Since the Apostles were servants of Jesus Christ, they were to do and say what Jesus did and said. Jesus’ words were an important reminder: “I have come to serve but not to be served”.

Part 2
Apostle David elaborated on the Chief Apostle’s awareness that there were a lot of difficulties in the working conditions for Apostles in India and Pakistan. In this part of the world where it is not easy to be a Christian there are sometimes storms and even droughts. But if we are deeply rooted in faith, in love and in hope, it is possible to bear fruit. To remain strong in these conditions, it is important to make sure that our brothers and sisters are also deeply rooted in the faith of Jesus Christ.

When we look at a tree we cannot see its roots; we look at the members and the members look at us and we cannot see our roots – only God knows. When a storm comes, we realize how deep the roots are. When there is a drought, some trees remain alive and even give some fruit because they have deep roots.

New Working Areas for Apostles

Apostle David’s presentation “NAC India on the Map – The Numbers Game” clearly showed the distribution of the NAC India per state and language of congregations, ministers, Apostles, etc. This was the basis for the redistribution of work among the Apostles.

In the future, Apostle Pravin Gajbhiv would be handling the states Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. In view of the retirements of Apostles Nanda and Patel in November 2018, he would be sharing the responsibility of Rajasthan with Apostle Patel, and Jharkhand and West Bengal with Apostle Nanda respectively.

Apostle Christranjan Nanda’s working area would comprise of Odisha, Jharkhand, West Bengal and parts of Chattisgarh (Jagdalpur and Darbha), while Apostle Patel would continue to take care of Rajasthan.

Apostle Sanjay Shastri would be in charge of Gujarat, Maharashtra (including Ghugus) and parts of Chhattisgarh (Raipur).

Apostle Devadas Basappa would be responsible for the whole of Andhra Pradesh while Apostle Prabhakar Beergi would take care of the districts in Telegana State.

Apostle Fred Marihal’s working area would be Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Finally, Apostle David would oversee all the working areas in India and Sri Lanka.

Scheduling

Three different formats were introduced to the Apostles: A Monthly Schedule and a Work Done Report for Apostles and Bishops, and a Quarterly Schedule for District Rectors and Rectors. These formats were given as a trial run for six months, after which modifications would be done based on their feedback.

The scheduling was to enable all the Apostles to plan in advance and to ensure that their plans would be followed. Furthermore, proper scheduling would also ensure that both work and family are balanced, and Apostle David emphasized on the importance of personal holidays and family time. The Apostles were cautioned to prepare and submit their schedules at least 45 days in advance. Work done was to be filled in every day or on a weekly basis. It was established that about 2000 hours of work per year were expected from the Apostles (inclusive of travel times).

All three formats have been made available online for the Apostles and can be filled right there, downloaded and filed or printed.

Data Management System

Data management of congregations worldwide is managed by a system called OASYS, and the international church (NAKI) is currently designing a new version. With the new organizational structures in India, the data for OASYS is also being redesigned to provide for more comprehensive reports on (a) attendance and offering reports, (b) requirements for new church buildings, (c) data generation towards print requirements, etc.

On the whole, a comprehensive data management system is in the making, and various tools were presented, introduced and discussed with the Apostles. Among these tools were the organization charts and an overview of statistics for each Apostle’s working area, and a review of the Congregational Event Report (CER) which had been introduced at the beginning of 2017. It became clear that the CER was an important reporting tool and that the Apostles would have to teach their District Rectors and Rectors – who in turn would have to teach and supervise the use of the CER in their working areas.

Sunday School Program and other Points

Sister Lily David explained to the Apostles the new Sunday School material and how it will be rolled out in India: seminars were planned for a selection of English speaking Sunday School teachers who would then pass on the training to all the Sunday School teachers locally. The training would be held for 10-14 teachers at a time, and the first seminars were planned for late December (see report here).

Apostle David touched briefly on the International Youth Convention (IYC) which is planned to take place in Düsseldorf (Germany) in May 2019. The youth who were interested to be part of this event had to have a valid passport and submit their names by 30 April 2018. The overall cost of participation and travel was estimated at 1.5 lakhs per person. More information will be published soon.

The Chief Apostle’s next visit to India was already scheduled for January 2020, to celebrate NAC India’s 50th Anniversary. Apostle David stressed that planning and preparations for this event would have to commence soon.

The office’s administration staff were introduced to the Apostles present and they were made familiar with the new working areas of each Apostle. They got some orientation about the working conditions of an Apostle, and were thanked for their support in the administration.

Meeting Adjourned

After three power packed days of presentations and discussions, Apostle David thanked everyone who gathered for their invaluable work and support. The Apostles had received guidance both spiritually and administratively, and were ready to head out into their new working areas.

Text: Fred Marihal / BBMH
Images: Robert Maier