History

Strong coffee and conversations around kitchen tables can be used by God to change our world! In 1971 a small group of Christian friends sat at a kitchen table, discussing the importance of military Christian fellowship in their own lives and their desire to share that kind of fellowship and encouragement with members of the world’s armed forces. As a result of this conversation, the Association for Christian Conferences, Teaching and Service (ACCTS) was incorporated in 1972.

Cleo ("Buck") and Louisa Buxton were part of the original discussion, and spearheaded the founding of ACCTS. Buck's personal military experience as an infantry officer in World War II, and his years with the U.S. Officers' Christian Fellowship (of which Buck was the first general secretary), had persuaded the Buxtons of the importance of Christian fellowship for military personnel. They understood the difficulties of serving  as a U.S. soldier without any spiritual encouragement, and knew that the need for spiritual assistance was much stronger in other nations. As the first executive director of the newly-incorporated ACCTS, Buck wrote: "Just as the Lord called me to the OCF in 1952...he directed my sights to other areas of the world where young officers need encouragement. [ACCTS] has felt the need to encourage and uphold people who are, or potentially will be, involved in the decisions and development of their own country."

With known military Christians in only 12 countries, several ACCTS volunteers began traveling around the world, establishing new contacts with Christians who served in their nations’ armed forces. In addition, ACCTS sponsored the travel of Major General Sir Robert Ewbank of the United Kingdom, who was the president of the newly-invigorated Association of Military Christian Fellowships (AMCF), and his wife Lady Ewbank. ACCTS also began organizing and hosting AMCF conferences during this time as a way to provide training and encouragement for indigenous military believers. General Ewbank's involvement opened many additional doors around the world, as well as cementing the cooperative relationship between ACCTS and AMCF.

ACCTS' ministry operated out of the Buxton's basement from 1972 until 1981, when it outgrew those quarters. In 1981 staff member LtCol Dell McDonald (USAF, Ret.) accepted the position of executive director, and other staff members began to join the team.

Under Dell's leadership of ACCTS, the number of military Christian fellowships around the world expanded greatly. Dell and Bette traveled tirelessly to encourage international MCF leaders and members, and were the catalyst for the formation of many of those MCFs. Increased opportunities for outreach brought corresponding growth in ACCTS' ministry and in the number of dedicated people on our staff. Following Dell's retirement as executive director in 1994, Dell and Bette remained on staff as coordinators of ACCTS' Ukraine ministry. Bette went to be with the Lord in 1997. Today, Dell is still an ACCTS staff member and disciples military believers in nations around the globe.

During LCDR (USN, Ret.) Cal Dunlap’s tenure as executive director (1994-2011), ACCTS continued to be blessed with expanding ministry opportunities and staff. Cal and his wife Linda were  instrumental in developing military Christian fellowships and leaders around the world. The Dunlaps had a deep love for the nation of China and its people, and pioneered ACCTS’ outreach in that vast nation. Linda went to be with Christ in 2012. Cal has remarried, and his wife Michelle joins him in his love for, and work in, China.

In 2011, Col. (USMC, Ret.) Phil Exner became ACCTS’ executive director. Phil, along with his wife and fellow staff member LtCol, USMC (Ret.) Sue Exner, focus strongly on building the next generation of military Christian leaders worldwide. They have emphasized cadet ministries, and helped pioneer leadership training programs for young military personnel in nations around the globe.

Founders of ACCTS Buck and Louisa Buxton in Africa 1970 Dell and Betty McDonald,  Buck and Louisa Buxton and Goeff Skippage Dell and Betty McDonald and Cal and Linda Dunlap Bob Reifsynder and Dell McDonald on a mission trip in Latin America Buck Buxton in Flims

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PO Box 27239
Denver, CO 80227
Phone: (800) 487-8108
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accts@accts.org
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