ACCM was designed to meet the needs of our transforming fellowship. It was particularly designed for those who have not had previous theological or pastoral education – lay pastors, pastoral team members, ministry leaders, and church members who want to develop their theological education. As such, it provides a unifying and denominationally recognized basic ministry qualification. We recognize the vital, ongoing importance of quality pastoral and theological education and training for the health of our fellowship and our shared mission participating in the ministry of Christ.
ACCM's Diploma Program is created and maintained by Ambassador College of Christian Ministry, which is owned and operated by Grace Communion International in Australia. It is the church's primary focus for equipping its members through education for their contribution in the ministry of all believers.
ACCM exists for the following purposes:
- Equipping for Ministry (Ephesians 4:12: “equip his people for works of service”)
- Providing a unifying and clarifying educational experience, reflecting GCI’s doctrinal understanding (v 13); teaching the Triune nature of God and the life of the New Creation
- Intentionally focusing on the God revealed in Jesus; keeping Jesus the center of the center
- Building up the body of Christ (v 12: “so that the body of Christ may be built up”)
- Growing and maturing into Jesus Christ (v13); spiritual formation of individuals and communities
- Building relationships, connections and shared learning experiences
- Equipping members for our mission of “Living and Sharing the Gospel”
- Communion with God
Hence our motto, “Equipping for Ministry”. Since our focus is on equipping, we have a balance of cognition and action, of theology and practice (Christian living). So we don’t require academically perfect papers, for example. Rather, most of the assessments are designed to be practically usable in your congregational settings. Our desire is not to add to students’ burdens, but to help and equip them for their ministry and mission.
There are no entry requirements for ACCM. Anyone can take the courses. Not everyone wants to do advanced academic work – although those who would like to are most definitely encouraged to do so, specifically through our GCS Seminary designed for advanced education. But those without any formal training in ministry, and without a Bachelor’s degree, may find ACCM ideally suited to their needs. Members, lay pastors, pastoral team members, interns and pastors without prior formal training will all profit from ACCM.
Our focus on equipping also means that we try to be more flexible with class and assignment schedules, rather than strict adherence to time lines. Generally, students are encouraged to finish any one course within six months, but if life or ministry circumstances require longer, we are happy to grant extensions to anyone who wants and requests them.
More information can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions of the ACCM web site.
We were asked to use the name ACCM (Ambassador College of Christian Ministry) by our denomination. The term of course comes from 2 Corinthians 5 – that magnificent passage about the New Creation of the New Covenant. Because of the love of Christ, we are a new creation in him. His love transforms us and compels us to love others. We no longer see God the way we used to – in the revelation of God in Jesus, we see the love and communion of the Triune God. Because we no longer see God the way we used to, we now no longer see ourselves or others the way we used to. We see ourselves as much loved children of God, adopted by him in Jesus through the Spirit. We call God “Abba, Father”, as Jesus does. And we now see others as made in God’s image – created by God in love to share in the same loving relationship. This means evangelism is about introducing people to Jesus; it is about sharing with them who they are (their real identity) in Christ.
Paul says that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. And we are given this mission – to share in Christ’s reconciliation of the world to the Father. To be an “ambassador for Christ” is to be an ambassador of the love of God, an ambassador for reconciliation and communion.
As Andrew Purves says, the goal of all Christian education is communion. That is our goal too: at ACCM, we are committed to the role of quality theological education and training in the development and growth of healthy communion. We see ACCM as part of loving God with all our “minds”, as well as our hearts and souls, developing individuals, congregations, and our denomination and beyond. The good news of the gospel contributes to the common good of all humanity. As James Torrance writes, we are together participating in the Father’s mission to the Son through the Spirit, the creation and sharing of communion. We are delighted to have you sharing in our journey, and in our communion in Christ.