Athens College of Ministry stays true to calling in face of challenges

Athens College of Ministry is moving forward to transform the world for good through Jesus' name using one's identity in Christ to unite theology and life.

Marcia Wilbur may be President of the Athens College of Ministry(, but she receives no divine exemptions from the constraints of a 24-hour day. Most days find her spreading the word about ACMin, which has been steadily leaping hurdles in its quest to develop a campus on a former golf course.

ACMin teaches classes in rented space at Watkinsville First United Methodist Church, but the goal is to build a 114-acre campus on the edge of Oconee County that was once the site of Green Hills Country Club.

“Our site is important for a dual purpose,” says Dr. Wilbur. “Not only will it serve as a community resource, but will also provide the backdrop for our students to engage in real life-on-life ministry through the various planned ministry centers as an essential part of their training.”

God’s providence was substantially evident when a donor made a $1 million pledge as the college’s board was considering the purchase of its campus property. The pledge came with a promissory note and an attorney endorsement. But after the property transaction was completed, the pledge never materialized.

To complicate matters, a nearby landowner filed a lawsuit against the college, Oconee County, and the owner who sold the property, protesting that Oconee County Commissioners acted without authority in approving a special-use rezoning. Early decisions have favored the college, but appeals have the case sitting on the docket of the State Court of Appeals, casting a long shadow over the college’s ability to secure new donations and grants.

In August 2017, ACMin held a 5-year celebration in conjunction with a graduation ceremony. Two students fulfilled the requirements for a certificate in prayer leadership, one of the college’s most popular programs. Since the celebration, the college has experienced a strong influx of student enrollment, bringing new vigor and diversity. The property rezoning and acquisition has led to new, unprecedented levels of donor support, surpassing all giving since the college’s inception.

“I’ve served on a lot of boards. Most of the time it’s a pretty standard review and sign off,” says Board Chair Jeff Snowden. “Here, we stop and pray for $5,240 dollars to pay for a site survey for the new campus and within a few days, out of the blue, a person calls to say God told them to give us $5,240. The first few times that happened, I joked that while we prayed for it, we didn’t actually expect it to happen. I don’t joke about that anymore. God is blessing this place.

“We tell people who are interested in this institution to take a look at the long list of generous blessings and shocking miracles,” says Snowden. “We then ask them if they believe God is present and at work in ACMin. If they answer, ‘Yes,’ we have a simple follow up. ‘So what part is God asking you to play?’”

ACMin is not a Bible college, although all its teachings are founded in the Scriptures. It is not a seminary, though its students do include clergy and church staff.

Snowden said, “Those who look at ACMin and expect a simple little Bible college are going to be shocked. The academic rigor is intense thanks to Dr. Wilbur, the expert faculty, and the college’s Academic Dean Committee, a panel of interdenominational evangelical experts who keep a close eye on the theological correctness of every course taught.”

ACMin trains graduate students, undergrads, and any lifelong learners determined to live and lead according to biblical principles.

“The key component is helping our students unlearn all the falsehoods they have accepted about themselves, God, the world, and their life events thus far, and building a new paradigm for each one that is founded and grounded in nothing less than Jesus,” explains President Wilbur. “ACMin equips those who will reach, teach, lead, and minister to others in Christ because together we are on a relentless pursuit to transform the world for good in Jesus’ name, regardless of the presenting challenges. Moving forward is our only possible direction.”

For more information

Dr. Marcia Wilbur, President, 706-769-1472

Jeff Snowden, Chair, Board of Trustees, 706-543-9037

Release ID: 396402