- “For the missionaries, by the missionaries”
- “An event, not an organization (no officers, no budget, no place. It just is!)”
- “A ‘Promise Keepers’ for techies”
- “No ties allowed!”
- “What’s Hot and What’s Not”
- “Worship and fellowship time”
- “Late night dorm lounge chats”
- “Technology For Missions contest”
- “Ivanhoe’s ice cream”
- “Key note speaker, tracks, prayer pals, post-conference workshops and BOFs”
“The International Conference on Computing and Mission is an annual informal (no ties allowed!) gathering of women and men who have a common interest in computers and mission. We share a vision of cooperation for effective use of technology bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ to every nation.”
ICCM is an incredible time of Christian fellowship and professional training and networking among people with technical or technical management responsibilities and interest in missions! How did it start? Who’s kept it going since 1989?
Paul Sturgis writes:
In the late 1970’s and early ’80’s there was a group called CCU (Christian Computer Users) that met for several years… These gatherings were quite technical, but had lots of good fellowship, exchange of ideas, etc. I attended these and always looked forward to these meetings.
Also existing at that time was the CMMA (Christian Ministries Management Association now Christian Management Association). In the early 1980’s the CMMA wanted to have a Computer track along with the other tracks and they merged the CCU functions into the CMMA to be a part of their annual conference. I attended and spoke at several sessions of the Computer track within the CMMA. The conferences attracted around 1000-1500 attendees and were held in first class hotels and were rather expensive.
…I recall meeting together with Bob Hodge (Taylor University), Norm Ducharme (SIM International), Ron Tenney (Operation Mobilization), Dave Sironi (Intervarsity Christian Fellowship), and several others during one of these annual conferences in Los Angeles and our general thoughts were “We need more than what is being offered as it relates to computers and missions. What can we do to make that happen?”
Norm Ducharme takes it from there:
In the spring of 1988 I was invited to come and visit Taylor University. TU had a new President that year, and Jay Kesler wanted to investigate ways of getting students more involved in missions. First he installed a Missionary-in-Residence. That was a great idea and a good first move. Next idea was to start a conference of technical people from various mission agencies, and have the students serve them. He invited representatives from two IFMA agencies: Bill Jack was the IT Director for TEAM at the time, and I was the IT Director for SIM.
And Bob Hodge adds:
…One other fellow and I started ICCM at Taylor, upon request from Bill Jack from TEAM and Norm Ducharme of SIM. …The movement started sometime before ICCM. But, ICCM itself was first hosted at Taylor, and Dale Sloat and I were the local dudes that made it work.
Thus the event for missionaries and by missionaries was born and continues to encourage the spiritual and technical lives of those who attend.
Hayne Baucom, Pete Holzmann and other Christian businessmen arrived that first year and added a “Kingdom Business” flavor to the event. Currently vendors like Global Resources for Computing, Compass Technology, and International Christian Technologists Association continue the Kingdom Business influence while participating in ICCM as part of the community.
Locations and Attendance
ICCM has been hosted at Taylor University in Indiana, Abilene Christian University in Texas, JAARS (Wycliffe technical headquarters) in North Carolina, Child Evangelism Fellowship in St. Louis, Lancaster Bible College in Pennsylvania, YWAM in Colorado, and (upcoming) Hannibal-LaGrange University in Missouri. The meetings have been web-cast and people from around the world have attended through the years. The lowest attendance was in 1990 with 63 attending. There was no meeting in 1991 and 2014. The highest attendance was 205 at JAARS in 2001. Over the years we have had representation from more than 130 missions, colleges and businesses.
What Makes ICCM Unique Amongst Conferences?
Who makes ICCM happen year after year? Early on anyone who wished to help was part of a “Monday night meeting” to plan the next year’s ICCM. Each year an “ICCM leadership team” meets to decide who is the next year’s Program Coordinator. Volunteers with past ICCM experience create each of the program elements.
The mailing lists and social media sites provide a year-round forum for technical help. But, it is the participants who make ICCM the edifying event that it is each year – contributing talents in music, technology, management, creativity, encouragement and worship.
As a participant in ICCM, you are part of this history of taking the gospel of Jesus Christ to the nations through technology.