The 2017 annual conference of the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations took place from June 13-16 at our AFLC schools in Plymouth, MN. The theme for this year’s conference echoed the famous words of Martin Luther as he stood before the imperial Diet at Worms, having been asked to recant of the things he had said and written against the Church and in defense of God’s Word. Unwilling to recant Luther made the now famous statement, “Here I Stand!” which served as the theme of our conference. Luther was prepared to stand against the powers of darkness before him, and stand for the truth of God’s Word – for the truth of the gospel – no matter what the cost.
It is good for us all to know in these times that our Association of Free Lutheran Congregations continues to stand for the truth of God’s Word, no matter the cost.
The gospel message that Luther stood upon, the message that God’s grace is a free gift given by faith, was revealed to him as he meditated on and wrestled over Paul’s words in Romans 1:16-17, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
These verses also served as the theme verses of our conference, because this message of the gospel is what we as an Association of Free Lutheran Congregations continue to stand on and to uphold. We praise God for His continued provision in the work that He has called us to do, and may we continue to pray that we as an association would unashamedly stand upon the truth.
The week of conference began on Tuesday with WMF day. We praise God that some of our own ladies could take in the events of that day, and we thank the Lord for the work that the WMF does for our congregations and missionaries.
On Tuesday evening the business of the conference began with an ordination service. Six men, including myself, were officially ordained into the office of the ministry. Thank you to all who attended and shared in that moment with my family and me. Please continue to pray that God would call more men into the ministry, as this is one of the greatest needs in our association today.
From Wednesday to Friday the official reports and resolutions of various departments and committees were read and discussed. Along with this business there were also occasions for singing, devotions, prayer, and fellowship. I come away from the conference excited and encouraged to continue to work in our congregations, and I would strongly encourage you as members to prayerfully consider attending a conference in the future. It is a great opportunity not only to hear about what is going in our association but to also have a voice in what takes place. Next year’s conference will be held in Dickenson, ND and the following year it will be located in eastern Pennsylvania.
One of the struggles within our association that has been made known to us over the past years is that financial contributions have been consistently lower than anticipated and needed. This isn’t a new problem, but it continues to make it difficult for our AFLC departments to function in a way that would be most effective. I would ask that we as congregations continue to pray for God’s financial provision in our AFLC. I would also encourage you as individuals and families to look over our AFLC departments and find one or two that you sense God calling you to prayerfully and financially support, and then do so if able.
Perhaps you feel burdened for missions. Pray for that department, make it a point to pray for our missionaries, and consider setting aside a portion of your finances each month that can go to that work.
Perhaps you have a heart for education. Consider our department of Parish Education, Ambassador Publications, or our Bible School and Seminary. Pray for the work that is done in these areas, and consider financially supporting them.
Perhaps you want to be a part of something new and exciting. The AFLC recently committed to purchasing a section of property connected to our current campus that will be used for future ministry opportunities. You can look online at AFLC.org for more details. If that fits your passion, consider prayer and financial support for this new work.
No one could do any of this alone, but together God can use us to do great things for His kingdom. The AFLC will continue to stand upon the truth of God’s Word with the desire to declare that message of good news to the world. We pray for continued strength, wisdom, and support in that task.
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Members of the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations