Pray in Season-Out of Season
Pastor Paul was born November 14, 1932 to Steve and Armetta Arnopoulos. His Dad was a Greek immigrant while Armetta was a first generation Irish Methodist. South Dakota was home. Armetta's family located there from Ireland. Grandma Cole prayed continually for the family.
Steve Arnopoulos was an uneducated entrepreneur who owned a successful cafe that was operated by all in the family. He was the head cook and Armetta managed and waited tables along with Marguerite, Pastor Paul's older sister. Pastor Paul started washing dishes at 9 years old and waited tables at 11. His childhood did not include after school activities or sports. He was employed during the war and learned about soldiers and music on the Jukebox as he whistled while he worked. It was a fast paced grow up quick no fooling around atmosphere. Fast paced hard work influenced him throughout his life. Pastor Paul’s key attributes that describe his character is his perseverance and work ethic.
As a teenager he could afford, and enjoyed dry cleaned clothes and cars. Working had its benefits. The cafe hours were 7:00am-8:00pm Monday-Saturday and a shorter workday Sunday from 8:00am-2:00pm. Pastor Paul worked before school, after school and weekends while going to school. After graduation he enlisted in the US Airforce and served from 1950-1952. As a young child during the war he remembered being very patriotic and respectful to the flag and country. He was a baker in the service trained at Camp Atterbury Indiana for the 169th Fighter Squadron and later discharged in St Paul, Minnesota.
Pastor Paul was disciplined, at an early age and throughout his early adult life, to work hard. This enabled him to take on challenges that others would not consider. In 1972 in California at his parent's church, he received the Lord as his personal Savior and from that time on he changed his life. After a short period of time he began street ministry in Minneapolis and Brooklyn Park witnessing and handing out tracts. This led him to ministering to young people who had drug problems and needed ministry, focusing on Youth Ministry in the early days. He purchased a trailer in Faxon Court trailer park in Long Lake and called it 'Noah's Ark'. It seated a full-house of 25. At that time he was ministering to many young people with anti-drug messages.
He started to minister more to different groups in the early 1970s from his mobile pulpit he called 'Have Pulpit Will Travel'. He was invited to minister in church basements, city courthouse offices and rented spaces and people's homes. Then in 1974 he founded the Disciples Ministry Church and purchased the little church in Brooklyn Park pictured below. At this time he traveled to Amery Wisconsin and started a church group that he ministered to on Wednesday evenings and Sunday afternoons after he ministered to his congregation Sunday morning. He also had church service in Brooklyn Park on Friday evenings. He went to Amery for 5 years two times a week Wednesday evenings and after church service in Brooklyn Park at the little church on Sunday. He became more than fulltime pastor over a short period of time by going out continually to all groups of people, young and old in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
In 1979 to expand the space needed for a larger congregation, he purchased the Mikro Kodesh Synagogue. It was abandoned for 10 years. During the racial conflicts of the late 1960s many businesses were destroyed and so the last of the Orthodox congregation moved to the suburbs. Because the synagogue was boarded up and vacant for 10 years it was a major undertaking to get it to the point to be used for church services. Pastor Paul never looked the other way when a challenge presented itself. This one did cause many sleepless nights. Working mostly by him, it took 9 months to renovate it before he could use it for services. The grand opening and closing happened almost simultaneously. The congregation did not accept the move to the troubled North Minneapolis.
During that time he met his neighbors realizing the level of poverty and the need for food, he started the Disciples Ministry Church Mission Outreach food programs, that later became Pastor Paul's Mission. He started with 4 or 5 bags of food. He also served an evening meal week nights. He is fond of the scripture that states, 'Do not despise small beginnings'. A remnant congregation stayed and a small number of volunteers joined the efforts until 1992 Memorial Weekend when he gave his last message to his church congregation. The time had come to focus all his energy on Pastor Paul's Mission's Outreach Programs.
When Pastor Paul's Mission closed to the public in 2012 he had lead the small remnant congregation members who remained and volunteers to distribute millions of pounds of food serving people from all over the state of Minnesota. Pastor Paul's Mission became the largest independent free food distributor in the nation directly distributing quality fresh and frozen food directly to over 18,000 registered households living in Minnesota.
What once started with a few bags of groceries in North Minneapolis became a statewide service to needy Minnesotans. He changed neighborhoods and exchanged delivering a message to a congregation in the suburbs to serving the needs of the poor in Minneapolis. He lived the message 7 days a week.
When it's handy-When it's not