Posted by: naccm | March 3, 2010

A Movement…Organization and Vision of the ACM // by Tim Hawkins

In 1963, as campus ministry really began to became prolific (through the efforts of Navigators, Intervarsity and Campus Crusade), The National Association of Christian Student Foundations began as an organized series of meetings for 9 campus ministers (only 2 full-time) of independent Christian church staff dedicated to campus ministry.   Dave Embree notes that the NACSF, “…was able to provide resources and encouragement to groups and churches who were investigating this new and intriguing form of ministry.” By the end of the 1960’s independent Christian church campus ministries employed 14 full-time staff on 41 campuses in 21 states.

2009 Campus Ministers' Retreat with Alan & Deb Hirsch

The NACSF became the National Association of Christian Campus Ministries in 1992.  And in 2009, the NACCM changed its name to the Association of College Ministries (it’s current, though possibly transitional, name) to reflect its growing affiliation and geographical reach beyond “national”.  The growth of the ACM is now reflected in affiliated campus ministries on over 100 campuses in the US and recent planting work by local campus ministries and mission organizations such as Gobalscope, Impact Campus Ministries and Team Expansion (all traditionally affiliated with the independent Christian churches) have pushed campus ministry in our movement outside our borders and into at least eight countries.

The ACM continues to serve much the same purpose with which it began, to encourage and resource those who are interested in serving the campus ministries of the independent Christian churches.

One of the unique and challenging characteristics of the the ACM is the leadership structure.   ACM is led by a group of volunteer officers nominated by other officers and voted on by all association members attending the meetings at the National Student Conference and Campus Ministers’ Retreat.  The ACM recognizes five offices:  president, vice president, past president, secretary and treasurer/event planner.  The vice president is

invited by the officers to begin a three-year term that moves from vice pres to president to past president.  The secretary and treasurer/event planner serve indefinite terms.  These officers are all non-paid, volunteer positions; consequently, all organizing, planning, and equipping through this association is done in addition to the work being done on their local campuses.

This group of officers is empowered to help organize, plan and lead the ACM in its efforts to encourage and resource college ministry workers, but has no binding decision making power on any local campus ministry operation.

Mike Luzadder, East Tennessee State Univ., 2010 Past President

Today, the resourcing and encouraging happens predominantly through four mechanisms:

  1. A National Student Conference.  What used to be a student leadership conference, is now a general student conference that draws around 300 students each year to the campus of Southern Indiana University.  Though many great speakers have challenged students, and great bands have led in worship, the backbone of the conference is nearly 30 workshops led by experienced campus ministry staff from across the country.
  2. Campus Ministers’ Retreat.  The retreat is intended to be a retreat less than a conference.  Held the first week of June it has been a time to recover, recharge, refocus, and rekindle friendships and encouragement.
  3. In 2010 we are beginning the role of a National Representative to help elevate the conversations about college ministries at the gatherings of independent Christian churches around the country.  Like all other positions at with the ACM, it is unpaid.
  4. The Heart of Campus Ministry blog.  It is likely that today or tomorrow, this blog will have it’s 10,000 view since we launched in October.  Though it’s primary service is to those of the ACM ministries, staffers at other campus ministries like Campus Crusade, Intervarsity, Chi Alpha and others have provided helpful thoughts along the way as well.

    The ACM is like an extended family

In April we’ll be gathering, for the first time, with many of our veteran campus ministers of the ACM for the first 2020Summit, a gathering of campus ministers of the ACM with 20+ years of campus ministry experience to reflect forward about the next 10 years of campus ministry.

I think none of us live and die for the ACM or the independent Christian churches for that matter, we live and die to Christ.  But, we are grateful to those who have given shape to and pioneered the unique opportunity that we have to practice locally our passion to help college and university students find their life in Christ.

Non-denomination and independent do not have to mean disconnected and isolated.  We work independently in our local call with a collective view toward the kingdom, and identify ourselves with the name of our tradition, simply as Christian.



  1. Great job of capturing the vision of the ACM!

  2. Today NACSF has lot of participants. I am also a member of NACSF.

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