Newsdesk this month is devoted to the five-year retrospectives from the specialized ministries through which Adventist members in the Pacific Union are nurturing discipleship and spiritual growth and reaching out to the communities of the Pacific Southwest.
The 2009 North American Division Congregations Study conducted by the Institute of Church Ministry estimated that there were approximately 100,000 Adventist students from the North American Division attending non-Adventist colleges and universities. Of those, a conservative estimate puts approximately 12,000 as being from the Pacific Union territory.
Founded in 2005, Adventist Christian Fellowship (ACF) is the official association of Adventist students attending non-Adventist college and university campuses, a ministry dedicated to supporting Adventist college students in those institutions. The ACF Pacific Union Conference chapter (ACF PUC) helps support students in the Pacific Union territory.
Heading the ACF PUC chapter is Ronald Pickell, pastor of Life Adventist Church of Berkley. Pickell has been with ACF since it was founded in 2005, serving as ACF PUC coordinator since approximately 2016.
College campuses are the places where many students often find their faith tested for the first time. Adventist students attending public and non-Adventist private higher education institutions are often regarded as modern-day Josephs, Daniels, and Esthers, and they are both the mission focus and potential missionaries on the more than 300 public and private college campuses across the Pacific Union.
There are 17 ACF chapters across the seven PUC conferences, with new chapters launched yearly. Serving students in several ways, AFC PUC:
• was created by and for students.
• is a “home away from home” for Adventist students attending public universities, providing friendship, fellowship, and outreach opportunities.
• helps students, who might otherwise feel disconnected, find connection to their church community.
• is operated primarily by volunteers, including local church leaders, students, pastors, and local conferences.
• provides training to help launch new ACF chapters and grow and sustain established chapters.
Through the COVID pandemic, ACF PUC has stayed connected with many students and other ACF chapters via online platforms. In spite of the pandemic, students remain faithful, devoted to God, and committed to academic excellence.
With the support of ACF PUC, many Adventist students are embracing Jesus’ command to “go into all the world” during their college years. Many of these students have testified that their faith was ignited or strengthened through this ministry and their involvement on a public campus.