A Christian Ministry in the National Parks (ACMNP) is a grassroots, student-led ministry that began in Yellowstone National Park in 1951 with the dream of providing Christian community for the people working in, living in, and visiting the first national park in the world.
Since then — for more than 70 years — ACMNP has given a Christian interpretation to the awe and grandeur of God’s creation in the nation’s national parks. ACMNP has always been a ministry in rather than to the national parks, serving employees, residents, and visitors through interdenominational worship services on Sundays.
Today, ACMNP lives its mission by sending roughly 200 ministry team members into 75 locations in 45 national parks from Alaska to the Virgin Islands. Over 30,000 people worship together in ACMNP services every year, experiencing the glory of God by seeing it first-hand — nothing compares to the inspiration that comes from worshipping God the Creator in the beautiful outdoors!
A Christian Ministry in the National Parks embodies and extends the ministry of Jesus Christ through worship, witness, and the development of Christian leaders.Read our doctrinal statement
A Christian Ministry in the National Parks originated in 1951 when founder Warren Ost, a Princeton Seminary student, worked in Yellowstone for the summer and noticed the various faith-based needs of park visitors, residents, and his own co-workers. One Sunday, he led an interdenominational service of worship in the bar area of the Old Faithful Inn, and thus ACMNP was born. We like to say we were doing bar ministry long before it was in style!
Rev. Ost continued to rally seminarians and college students to the parks as the Executive Director of ACMNP for 45 years. While originally guided and supported by the National Council of Churches, ACMNP was formally recognized as an independent, interdenominational movement and a registered 501(c)(3) organization in 1971. In 1996, Richard P. Camp became the second Executive Director after a distinguished career as chaplain of the United States Military Academy. ACMNP alumnus Spencer Lundgaard became the ministry’s third Executive Director in 2008. In 2018, the organization adopted a co-leadership model by selecting Amy Kennedy and David Degler to lead the organization into the future.
ACMNP values and appreciates the breadth and diversity of the Catholic and Protestant church. Our National Board represents a variety of denominations and consists of people from diverse walks of life including the National Park Service, park concession companies, alumni, denominational representatives, and seminary and undergraduate leaders along with other interested friends. Learn more about ACMNP’s National Board of Directors and Trustees.
As an interdenominational ministry, ACMNP upholds the integrity of the doctrines of each participating denomination and is comfortable with the expressions of the Apostles’ Creed. This ensures each ACMNP ministry team accurately represents the Gospel of Christ to the ecumenical community it serves.
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Maker of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;
He descended into hell.
The third day He arose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost;
the holy catholic church;
the communion of saints;
the forgiveness of sins;
the resurrection of the body;
and the life everlasting.
1,400 Sunday services are offered each summer - with over 30,000 people attending!
Our volunteers come from over 100 college campuses and 30 seminaries, in 35 states, representing more than 30 Christian denominations.
25-35% of seasonal park employees are internationals, so our teams also minister to the larger global community.
The Lord said, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”