The AALC wants to walk with you and help you understand why you might want to walk with us. We hope these questions and answers will serve you and your congregation.
- Who is The AALC?
- What is distinctive about The AALC?
- What are the financial obligations for joining The AALC?
- Does The AALC have a seminary?
- How does a congregation call a pastor in The AALC?
- Does The AALC ordain women as pastors?
- What roles can women serve in AALC congregations?
- Does The AALC address social issues?
- How does The AALC operate?
- How does a church join The AALC?
The American Association of Lutheran Churches (The AALC) is an association of churches and individuals that have voluntarily joined together to:
- Encourage and equip churches to carry out Mission and Ministry in their location
- Help churches and pastors communicate the changeless Gospel to an ever changing culture
- Train Lutheran Pastors (strengthen pastors to strengthen congregations)
The AALC is distinctively Lutheran in its core beliefs. All churches and pastors that voluntarily join The AALC confess that they believe the words of Scripture to be the inspired Word of God and the only infallible rule of faith and practice and affirms without reservation the doctrines explained in the Book of Concord.
The AALC also maintains a congregational form of church government with each member church allowed to send one delegate per fifty confirmed members to the National Convention.
Finally, The AALC allows its member churches freedom to express their faith and beliefs in the style of worship and forms of Christian education that they feel best serve their particular culture.
Because the AALC Is a voluntary association, it depends entirely on voluntary contributions from churches and individuals.
Yes, the AALC supports and operates American Lutheran Theological Seminary (ALTS). We have our own President and Registrar. ALTS is located in Fort Wayne, Indiana on the campus of Concordia Theological Seminary (CTS). Our students receive their theological training through CTS and their practical training through ALTS. Their field work and their vicarage are done at local AALC churches under ALTS supervision.
Churches without a pastor or those who would like to add a pastor to their staff will contact the National Office. The National Office will then provide a qualified and certified candidate after the congregation is interviewed, usually by the Presiding Pastor, who will help the congregation explore the skills necessary for that particular call. The church is free to interview the candidate and issue a call if they so choose. If there is no call issued, the process begins again with a selection of a new candidate.
Our position is that from a scriptural and confessional standpoint, the pastoral office is restricted to men. We do, however, recruit and train women to be trained Deaconesses who are then called by churches to supplement the pastoral staff and to augment the ministry of the local church.
We encourage women to participate in all areas of congregational life. Locally, each congregation can determine how it desires to govern itself. Nationally, we have the Joint Council which functions as the oversight board between National Conventions. While we do not ordain women as pastors, women may serve on the council or as voting delegates. The only exception concerns the definition of “elder.” If the elders of the congregation function in specific areas of the pastoral office, then the Office of Elder would be restricted to men.
The AALC congregations, in Convention, have adopted theological positions on The Sanctity of Life, About Homosexuality, and The Union of Marriage. As needs arise, the AALC congregations in Convention may issue further statements about the AALC position on social issues.
The AALC is a National church body with member churches in 24 states. The country is divided into five regions with Regional Pastors and officers to conduct their regional business. The National Office is located in Fort Wayne, Indiana with a National Office Staff of Presiding Pastor, Administrative Assistant, National Home Mission Developer, Seminary President, and Office Manager. These officers are responsible to an Association Council and a Board of Trustees. The National body meets in convention every two years on even years and the Regions meet in convention on the odd years.
A church that is interested in joining The AALC first severs its relationship with its former church body and then votes to join The AALC according to the protocol of their own constitution. They subsequently fill out an application form and submit it along with their church constitution for approval to the Association Council. Upon approval they are welcomed into The AALC at the next National Convention. All pastors joining The AALC undergo a twelve month period of probation before becoming permanent members of the Clergy Roster.