No Bad Questions


We have all heard the saying there is no such thing as a dumb question. As a teacher by training, and a current substitute teacher, I don’t completely agree with the statement. I’m quite confident that I have heard some dumb questions from students who are trying to be funny! That being said, I don’t think there are dumb questions when you are wondering what is going on around St. Paul’s or what we are all about. Based on some information I compiled, more than 30% of those who are members or regularly attend St. Paul’s are new in the last 3 years. That means that there are a lot of people who don’t have a history with St. Paul’s or maybe even with the AFLC (Association of Free Lutheran Congregations). It has been around 35 years since I was new to the AFLC and St. Paul’s. It is good to be reminded what it was like. Hopefully this article will remind others and give some helpful information to those of you who are new.

I appreciated very much an editorial letter written by Pastor Alan Arneson in the September issue of the Lutheran Ambassador, which is the national church publication of the AFLC. (Information about how you can receive this magazine free of charge will be coming out in the near future.) Pastor Arneson encouraged those of us who are presenting, teaching, or leading in various ways not to assume everyone knows the ins and outs of the AFLC. Individuals, places or events that are referenced without explanation can be a frustration to those who don’t know what is being talked about. I can remember vividly feeling like a proverbial fish out of water at an annual conference one year when I didn’t have the knowledge needed to navigate through the day. I do my best not to assume people already know things (that no one has explained to them), but I fail at this more frequently than I would like to admit. When I make assumptions and jump over things to quickly, please don’t feel a bit bad calling me out on it!

We recently hosted a seminar highlighting the topic of church planting. This falls under the heading of home missions and if we pursue planting a new church, it will be a significant financial commitment on our part. Many of you may not be aware of the fact that we support a variety of other kinds of ministries within the AFLC on a national level. There is no requirement from the AFLC for churches to contribute a certain amount to the work of the national organizations in the form of per capita giving as some church bodies do. At St. Paul’s we have made a choice to send 10% of all general offerings to our AFLC headquarters in Plymouth, Minnesota. These dollars support of a variety of projects that are bigger than what one church can do, or are done more efficiently by a larger body.

Our tithe is broken down as follows:
– 1/3 to the Missions Corporation (Home Missions and World Missions)
– 1/3 to the Schools Corporation (Free Lutheran Bible College and Free Lutheran Seminary)
– 1/3 to General Accounts (undesignated General Fund, Parish Education, AFLC Evangelism and Youth)

This freedom in giving to a national church body may be very different from what some of you are accustomed to and if you have questions about it, please ask! I am happy to answer questions, as are many others, and if I don’t have the answer, I will find someone who does.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 says “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” Those of you who are newer to St. Paul’s encourage those of us who have been around longer by your presence and involvement with us. I pray that I, and others that have been a part of the fellowship here for a longer period of time, can be a helpful source of information and encouragement to you as well!

In Christ,
Pam Twedt


The full newsletter can be found here.