PROFESSIONAL BODY SERVICES
AFFILIATION AND DESIGNATION
ACRP was formed through a merger between two related organisations, namely the Association for Ministry Training Practitioners and the Southern African Association for Pastoral Work.
The Association for Ministry Training Practitioners (AMTP) was established in 2014 by a representative group of ministry practitioners, representing churches and church networks, other ministry institutions, faculties of theology, seminaries and other training institutions, and chaplaincies. The initiative to bring the parties together went out from the Centre for Contextual Ministry at the University of Pretoria and Bible Media in Wellington.
The establishment of the organisation was in response to challenges related to ministry standards and ministry training, as experienced by many Christian churches and ministries in South and sub-Saharan Africa. The needs experienced by churches and ministries in the “independent” or “informal” church environment received special attention. The reality is that a very low percentage, even less than 10%, of Christian ministry leaders in South and sub-Saharan Africa have access to formal ministry training. There are currently more than an estimated 200,000 pastors in South Africa, and more than a million in sub-Saharan Africa, who did not have access to formal training for the work they do. Many informal (non-accredited) training institutions and programmes exist, but the work of these training centres are not strategically aligned, not comprehensive in nature and in some cases not of appropriate standard.
Southern African Association for Pastoral Work (SAAP) was founded in 1991 to attend to the professionalisation of, and quality assurance in, pastoral counselling in Southern Africa. SAAP developed a registration and accreditation system which included the setting of counselling standards and the application of a code of ethics and a disciplinary code for counselling practitioners. The counselling practitioners it represents range from lay pastoral workers and counsellors, to pastors, chaplains and specialist counsellors. Specialist counsellors include private practitioners, family and marriage counsellors, trauma counsellors and mediators. Areas of work include congregations, hospitals, counselling centres and help lines, and uniformed services (the military, police service and correctional services). ACRP will in future also be a vehicle for the functions formerly performed by SAAP.
Upon the suggestion of the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), AMTP and SAAP were merged early in 2016 into one organisation, with different “ministry councils” dealing with the different professional groups represented in the organisation. Currently there are three Councils within ACRP, namely the Council for General Ministry Practitioners (CGMP), the Council for Pastoral and Spiritual Counsellors (CPSC), and the Council for Ministry Training Practitioners (CMTP).
Another addition to the ACRP group is now also in process: the 2016 AGM of the Association of Christian Counselling (ACC) expressed the request to be merged with SAAP/CPSC and through this to become part of ACRP. ACC comprises of professional, pastoral and lay counsellors. They represent diversity in practice and training, but share a commitment to Biblical truth and psychological excellence. Their goals and ethos fits in well with that of ACRP/CPSC, and the inclusion of ACC into the ACRP will strengthen the process of professionalisation.
ACRP provides two kinds of services, namely professional body services and training support services. These two groups of services are closely related: to be a professional assumes that the persons was trained for the profession. With this in mind, ACRP’s mission statement (strategic focus) brings training and professionalisation together. The mission is: