A Christian Ministry in National Parks (ACMNP) extends the ministry of Jesus Christ to the people who live, work and vacation in national parks by offering interdenominational Sunday worship services in the parks’ natural sanctuaries. ACMNP brings Christian teaching and community to people who are often isolated from contact with local churches and to millions of visitors who come to relish in God’s creation.
Every year from October to April, ACMNP recruits at colleges, universities and seminaries across the country to be a part of the Ministry Staff. ACMNP has 25 national parks across the country, from Alaska to the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The experience of ACMNP is best described in three words: work, wilderness and worship.
Each ministry staff member is employed by a concessionaire in the park and works as a desk clerk, housekeeper, bellhop, store clerk, wait staff or other job typical of seasonal employment and lives with co-workers in employee housing in the park. As a regular employee, each staff member earns a wage. Room and board is usually provided by the employer at minimal cost and is automatically deducted from each paycheck.
When not working or engaged in a ministry activity, ministry staff members may use their free time to explore the park. Each park has its own beautiful scenery that can be explored by hiking, white water rafting, running, fishing, canoeing and kayaking, rock climbing, camping, etc.
As employees of private businesses inside the parks, staff members often get discounts on boat or bus rides, tours and equipment rentals. ACMNP expects each staff member to explore the park only with the proper equipment and preparation.
The ministry of ACMNP is both formal and informal. Sunday worship services are held in amphitheaters and lodges located across the parks. Ministry Team members are expected to participate in preparing and leading worship services which consist of short sermons, prayers, responsive readings and music. All staff members have the chance to preach during some point in their time of serving at the National Park.
ACMNP provides Regional Training Conferences each spring to prepare Staff Members for park ministry and individual responsibilities. Staff members actually start working sometime between Memorial Day and Labor Day and work for a period of 90 days or longer. Preferences for the different parks and locations may be indicated on the application form.
Melody Kennell, an ACMNP representative, will be coming to NW on Tuesday, Dec. 7, to share more about the ministry. Additional information and applications can be found online at www.acmnp.com.