All of college ministry benefits as we get to know each other better!

So after a great conference with 300 students and leaders from the ACM college ministries, it’s high time I introduce you to this major, national, Evangelical group of college ministries. There’s actually a good chance there’s an associated ministry on your campus and a great chance there are a few in your state; with well over 100 campus-based ministries around the U.S., they’re roughly as widespread (or even moreso) than RUF.

(As I noted yesterday, the NACCM is actually changing its name. The new name appears to be “Association of Collegiate Ministries.” The national name really matters most only to members, since each local ministry has its own name. UPDATE: I’ve now updated this post to reflect the new name, which has since been shortened to “Association of College Ministries.”)

One of the reasons it took me a while to get familiar with ACM ministries is that their local names vary quite widely. But I think I’m getting a handle on it! Here are the fruits of my labor in that regard! (Of course, if you’re “in the know,” please note any additions or corrections to this material in the comments!)

mostly campus-based ministries (but not parachurch)

Most of the ACM college ministries are campus-based ministries, generally supported by Independent Christian Churches and/or their members. So these ministries aren’t fully “parachurch” but function much like various denominational campus-based ministries (Baptist Collegiate Ministries, RUF, Chi Alpha, etc.).

(As you may remember from my post last week, the Christian Churches do not consider themselves a denomination since their local churches are fully autonomous. “Fellowship of churches” is the kind of language I tend to use.)

The ACM does include church-based and Christian-college ministries, as well, and those connections could increase in years to come.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Independent Christian Churches altogether, you can start here. They are part of the Restoration Movement which historically includes Disciples of Christ and Churches of Christ. The most famous U.S. Christian Churches include Seacoast Church, Community Christian Church, and Southeast Christian Church.

on your campus? look for “Christian,” “Fellowship,” and/or “House” – maybe

As I noted above, the ACM ministries have a wide assortment of names, so they face the same branding issues that I discussed in regards to the Baptist Collegiate Ministries. In the case of ACM ministries, their most common names appear to be “Christian Student Fellowship,” “Campus Christian Fellowship,” “Christian Campus House,” or some similar names with the words simply switched around! “His House” shows up throughout Michigan, and there are plenty of other names. You can see a list of ACM ministries – by state – here.

otherwise…

Some other things I’ve learned:

  • Like many campus-based ministries, ACM ministries often draw and relate to students from a wide range of denominations and other Evangelical fellowships.
  • Their “flagship” ministries appear to include Purdue Christian Campus House, Georgia Tech’s Christian Campus Fellowship, and Eastern Illinois’s Christian Campus House. (Are there others?)
  • Like most college ministries, these ministries vary widely in size, history, leadership, etc. There are places it’s “the big ministry,” places it’s small and/or struggling, and others where it’s somewhere in-between. Reportedly Purdue’s and Georgia Tech’s ministries are quite huge.

Two particularly attractive distinctives that I think I’ve picked up:

  • The ACM leaders seem fairly well connected to each other, which I believe is a definite positive for the ministries within any movement
  • More than I’ve heard from many other ministries, the NACCM guys seem to have a penchant for planting campus ministries out of established ministries. While it doesn’t happen nearly everywhere, it’s exciting to find that some ACM efforts have taken it upon themselves to help form ministries on other campuses.

And lastly, ACMers can be really hospitable to outsiders. That’s a fact I can personally attest to.

For more on the ACM ministries “from the horse’s mouth,” click here.

Written from Evansville, IN

Road Trip #12 update (Day 6)
Yesterday’s T-shirt: the Warhawk tribe of University of Louisiana Monroe
New campus: University of Evansville (home of the Purple Aces! awesome!)
Mileage so far: 759
Headed today to the Nashville / Murfreesboro, TN area for at least a couple of days. Be sure to watch my
Twitter feed, watch my Facebook status, or join Facebook group to stay on top of the itinerary!

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