Adventist Community Services (ACS) is a ministry and channel through which local Seventh-day Adventist churches minister to neighborhoods and cities. Inspired by the work of Dorcas in Acts 9, ACS began in 1874 as the Dorcas and Benevolent Association, comprised of women who provided clothes, food, money, and services to needy families. In 1972, the Dorcas Society was renamed Adventist Community Services.
However, in some parts of the world the name Dorcas is still used. The Adventist Men Organization also does community services. ACS has expanded to include all church members, men and women, young and old, who serve with a holistic approach to physical, social, and spiritual needs in the community, developing a trust relationship and seeking opportunities to share Jesus.
Because every community is unique, it is important to conduct community needs assessments. ACS can assist elders in engaging all church departments to meet these needs by providing education on subjects such as family, marriage, and parenting; financial seminars; health screenings, nutrition, and cooking schools; home nursing; community development and improvement; and homemaking.
ACS Centers distribute food and clothing and offer services such as tutoring and mentoring; counseling; English as a Second Language; elder care and childcare; and homeless ministries and soup kitchens. ACS encourages young people to participate in ACS activities and learn the joy of helping others.
For comprehensive community service articles and resources go to www.sabbathschoolpersonalministries.org/acsi.
Click on “resources” for an ACS Handbook and a community services certification program (ACSI Certification Program) that includes details on completing community needs assessments. Additional resources may be found at www.communityservices.org.