Since 1989, ICCM has become an incredible time of Christian fellowship, professional training, and networking among people with a technical interest in missions!
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.
ICCM has been hosted a number of places in the USA, and has now spread to a number of other countries. The meetings have occasionally been web-cast and people from around the world have attended through the years. The lowest US attendance was in 1990 with 63 attending. There was no meeting in 1991. The highest attendance was 205 at JAARS in 2001. Over the years we have had representation from more than 110 missions, colleges and businesses.
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. Every year this “ICCM leadership team” meets to decide who is the next year’s Program Chair. Volunteers with past ICCM experience create each of the program elements. The mailing lists 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 His-story of taking the gospel of Jesus Christ to the nations through technology.
The attendees have realized that ICCM should be available to people around the world in a cultural and technological sensitive way. Because ICCM is not an official organization, various ICCM leaders have voluntarily branched out to start the conference in the various locations around the world.