ACS History and Mission

ACS Adventist® Community Services has more than 1,300 localities and upholds the beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist® World Church organization.

ACS Mission

Adventist Community Services is the official community outreach ministry of the Seventh-day Adventist church in the North American Division territories which comprises of the United States, Canada, Guam and Micronesia, and Bermuda. ACS serves the whole person, a concept known as holistic ministry whose mission is “Serving Communities in Christ’s Name.”

ACS Vision

  • Expanding the scope of community services
  • Building collaborative partnerships
  • Integrating education in leadership development

ACS Core Values

  • SHARING – We proclaim the good news of salvation by actively demonstrating the love of God.
  • CONNECTING – We build relationships by connecting people with their community family and to God.
  • MINISTERING – We minister to the communities we serve by focusing on their physical, mental, social, and spiritual well-being.
  • DISCIPLESHIP – We empower and engage members to serve their communities by teaching, mentoring, and equipping in holistic ministry.

ACS Philosophy

The mission of ACS is “Serving Communities in Christ’s Name,” which means serving the whole person, a concept known as holistic ministry.  The word holistic comes from the Greek word “holos” which implies that all dimensions of our life (physical, mental, social, and spiritual) are equally important to our functioning and well-being.

Therefore, the purpose of holistic ministry is to proclaim the Good News, the word of salvation, and demonstrate the love of God to people in need.  Throughout Jesus’ ministry, there is evidence of a genuinely holistic approach toward humanity, especially people who were marginalized, disadvantaged, and disenfranchised from society.  Jesus expanded the Kingdom of God to places, people, and cultures that the society had never considered God to be interested in and has thus set these examples for many (Matt 9:10, 21:31, Rom 14:14).

ACS History

In 1874, ACS began as the “Dorcas and Benevolent Association” composed of women providing clothes, food, financial support and services to needy families in churches and in their communities.  This is why until the World War II era, the humanitarian work of local Seventh-day Adventist churches was known as the Dorcas Society. Dorcas was a disciple in the early Christian church in the city of Joppa who was well regarded as a person who was always doing good and helping those in need (Acts 9:36-43).
In 1879, the Dorcas Societies wanted to involve their husbands so the Good Samaritan Society was organized.
In 1953, the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church broadened the concept of service to urban ministry. This new organization was named Seventh-day Adventist Health and Welfare Services (SAWS).
In 1972, the name was changed to Adventist Community Services (ACS).
In 1983, the church organized the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) International to serve societies outside of North America more effectively. ADRA is a church owned non-governmental organization (NGO) that works at a global level sponsored by the Seventh-day Adventist Church to provide international relief and development.
In 2005, ACS expanded its ministry with ACS International under the General Conference Sabbath School and Personal Ministry Department to focus on Adventists in community services and outreach ministries at the local church level.

Code of Conduct and Ethics

1. Caring in the Spirit of Christ. Adventist Community Services (ACS) volunteers are committed to care for persons in need in the spirit of Christ who came not to be ministered to, but to care for others. In support of the mission of ACS to “serve communities in Christ’s name”, ACS volunteers will represent Jesus Christ in all they do.

2. Prepared for Competent Service. ACS volunteers are committed to obtaining appropriate training and certification, as applicable, for the work they undertake. They will never misrepresent their qualifications and will work within the limits of their training and expertise. When needed, clients will be referred to competent specialists for further services or care.

3. Organizational Respect. ACS volunteers understand that they are accountable within a system where there is oversight, supervision, and a chain of command. They are ready to mentor and support colleagues as appropriate. They observe the rules and protocols of ACS and others with whom they collaborate.

4. Privilege of Serving Others. ACS volunteers remember that it is a privilege and honor to serve in a ministry of care for persons in need. They do not serve for financial reward or any other personal gain. They never intimidate, abuse, harass, or take advantage of colleagues or those they assist. They never make demands or ask for special favors when providing care and services.

5. Confidentiality. ACS volunteers hold in confidence personal information shared with them. When appropriate they will transmit only necessary information with the permission of the client in accordance with ACS policies. Legally required reporting will also be done in confidence and with discretion.

6. Respect for All Individuals. ACS volunteers will not take advantage of individuals or impose their faith and values upon them, especially while they are vulnerable. Care will never be conditioned upon another person’s religion or their response to faith issues. All individuals will be treated with respect and served without discrimination of any kind.

7. Collaboration with Others. ACS volunteers will collaborate and cooperate with other faith based, nonprofit, governmental, public and private entities when needed in order to serve the needs of the broader community.

8. Stewardship and Accountability. ACS volunteers will be good stewards of ACS funds and goods. They will ensure that all donations, financial or in-kind, are used expressly for the purpose intended by the donor. Records will be kept to document the source and recipients of ACS resources. ACS volunteers will refrain from any activity which is inappropriate, unethical, or illegal.

9. Self Care. ACS volunteers recognize they must care for themselves before they can effectively care for others. They will abide by the safety and security protocols of ACS or any other agency that may have jurisdiction.

10. Attitude of Joyful and Solemn Responsibility. ACS volunteers joyfully accept their calling, while maintaining an attitude of solemn responsibility. They remember that they are asked to care for people during trying times, to serve in the spirit of Christ, and to act to benefit the entire community.