30 December 2023

It has been a year of serving and reigning with Christ. There were highs and lows. As the year winds down to its close, we invite you to take a look back with us at the key points of the District Apostles’ Spotlight articles.

The 2023 motto was based on Revelation 20: 6: “They shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.” In his New Year’s address at the beginning of 2023, the Chief Apostle had said: “We want to be together with Christ as soon as possible and work alongside Him. We are preparing ourselves for this already today. And that is why our annual motto for 2023 is: Serving and reigning with Christ.”

As every year, the District Apostles and some of their assistants also put their thoughts on paper.

In his last year as an active District Apostle, Leonard Kolb, USA, wrote to all brothers and sisters worldwide: “Our journey on this earth is not merely a life with a transitory or temporal meaning; we have a divine purpose in an eternal future and, our Saviour, Jesus Christ wants us for this purpose!”

District Apostle Enrique Minio, who is responsible for the members in South America, was the second to give a glimpse into his heart: “When we succeed in reigning over our thoughts it is also possible to reign over our words and our actions,” he wrote, among other things, explaining why thoughts are like threads.

District Apostle Jürg Zbinden reflected on a personal experience to explain how the 2023 motto can be put into practice in our everyday life. “With Christ I managed to get a grip and reign over the various emotions in my heart and was once again able to create the conditions necessary to be able to serve Him in the proper way.”

District Apostle Rüdiger Krause (Northern and Eastern Germany) put the spotlight on the aspect of reigning. His conclusion was: reigning with Christ has nothing to do with a despotic or dictatorial government. “It is a matter of fulfilling the commandment of Christ, both today as well as in the kingdom of peace. And this commandment remains a commandment and therefore a law to achieve the goal of our faith.”

The basic idea behind the 2023 motto is love, we learn from District Apostle Michael Ehrich (Southern Germany). Jesus Christ wanted to make it clear “that an attitude that was seeking power was not compatible with His nature. For He, the Lord, rules in a different way than the mighty of this earth.”

District Apostle Kububa Soko from Zambia also focussed on love in his Spotlight article. “Those who want to serve and reign with Christ must learn to love others,” he wrote. “Love also means that we treat each other with respect.”

District Apostle John Kriel from Cape Town, South Africa, also opened his heart for the last time as an active District Apostle in this way. “To reign with Christ is a higher form of service,” he wrote. In fact, he says, “it is a question of taking our serving with Christ to a new and higher level.”

There is a servant in every good boss. That is one conclusion that can be drawn from the article by District Apostle Mark Woll from Canada. “The one and only true boss is God. God is love and righteousness, He rules by serving us,” it says in his article.

The next Spotlight came from District Apostle Joseph Opemba Ekhuya from Kenya in East Africa and focussed on the future tasks of Christians. “Because this is a future mission for which we do not have much information, we have to do a lot of preparation,” he writes. “This preparation involves learning as much as possible about our mission, the mission field, and the character of those who will be involved in the mission.”

In the end, no one gets more than their neighbour, District Apostle Michael Deppner from the western part of the Democratic Republic of Congo says. The effort, however, is worth it. He makes a striking statement in his article: “Even in royalty, a king makes a pledge to serve his country and his people.”

District Apostle Rainer Storck (Western Germany) underlined his article with examples from the Bible, emphasising that one must rule over oneself. “We can improve in these things by orienting ourselves to Jesus Christ and allowing Him to reign in us,” he concluded.

While still a District Apostle Helper, John Schnabel—who has since been appointed as District Apostle for the USA—wrote a Spotlight article. He explored the power we all receive to be able to fulfil the annual motto. “This power comes from the gift of the Holy Spirit which points us to Christ,” he says in his article.

District Apostle Tshitshi Tshisekedi from the south-eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo looks at the aspect of sustainability and to those who will come after us should the Lord not come in the meantime. “If our actions are directed towards the coming of the Lord, then our investment in the work will be a lasting one.”

In his spotlight, District Apostle Edy Isnugroho from Indonesia addresses initial apprehensions people may have in view of the great task that the 2023 motto entails. “Serving Christ implies numerous sacrifices. However, it is crucial to acknowledge that the Lord bestows upon us far more than we give up for Him.”

The last Spotlight article for 2023 was written by District Apostle Peter Schulte from Australia. He concentrated on the words “with Christ”. One of his core statements was: “Christ is our help, confidence, and example of serving and reigning and in such a manner that it is a great joy and blessing for us and our neighbour.”