Sunday, March 1, 2015

ACMNP | Ministry of the Month (03.15)

ACMNP (A Christian Ministry in the National Parks) has been around for a long time. It is the only opportunity that I know of which brings people from all different Christian backgrounds to worship together on government land. By focusing on Jesus and worshiping Him, the interdenominational ministry is able to bypass the denominational battles. It is a way to witness and worship in God's creation that cannot be done elsewhere.

This ministry is based in Denver, Colorado. But, it sends out teams of college students and seminarians through-out the country. In this way, the ministry is also able to form Christian leaders, both towards a vocation in church-work and apart from it. I love the fact that a biology, psychology, astro-physics, any-sort-of major can come and serve the Lord in this ministry for the summer.

As you can imagine both the struggle and the reward are great. The participants in this program are thrown into a life-changing crucible. They meet all sorts of people from all around the world. They have a variety of backgrounds, strengths, weaknesses, but they learn to work together as a team in each park. Their faith-life is challenged and strengthened. They may often feel alone, but they know they are held in Christ's presence.

 This journey of a lifetime begins with a training conference. The first one is next month in Denver, Colorado while a back-up conference (for the later applicants) will be in May in either Atlanta or Indianapolis. Then, the students finish their semester of school and head out to their park for the summer.

There is an additional Advanced Leadership Program which meets in Denver later this month. In the advanced program, seminarians are chosen (mainly alumni) who can undertake more responsibilities above and beyond leading worship on the weekends and evangelizing on the park grounds. They will be placed in parks that may not have had a team in the past or with other opportunities to build a more permanent outreach program within the park community.

I had the opportunity to serve in this ministry last summer at Glacier National Park in Montana and I have been accepted as a participant in the Advanced Leadership Program for this upcoming summer somewhere in northern California (the specifics are still being addressed). At the end of the summer, my spendings and earnings came out pretty even (if I would have stayed home, I would have been able to make a bonus towards tuition). Still, the privilege of serving in this ministry was priceless. And, only God knows what a difference we made in the lives who were able to worship at the park because of our ministry there.

The costs for the conferences are considerable as well as traveling to and from the parks. If you would like to assist me personally, contact The Raven. Otherwise, the ministry could really use your support (I think there are even ways to personalize your gift such as buying T-Shirts for certain teams or Bibles for a certain parks!!!). If you have any questions, I can get you in touch with the ministry's leadership, they're really great to work with and will probably be open to suggested gifts. If you know anyone who would be interested, make sure they apply.

More ways to assist:

  • Follow along on their blog.
  • Sign up for updates.
  • Pray.

***The ministry of the month encourages an annual donation of approximately $25 for its ministries (that seems the most reasonable way to help without hurting yourself too much). If there is a charity you are called to fall in love with and give the most to, that's a blessing. There is no obligation and this blog has no sort of compensation or really affiliation with the ministry that it is supporting (in general.. I am currently involved with this month's ministry).

*****Please, give me feedback on what you think of the charities/your experiences/charity suggestions... I'd extremely appreciate your input.

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