The Association of Christian Thrift Stores (ACTS) started as the Association of Rescue Mission Stores (ARMS) in 1990. Its formation was in response to an opportunity given by the group now known as City Gate Network, for special interest groups to form a Track. It allowed these groups to meet and present seminars at their annual convention.
After just a couple of years the leadership of the Track, a need to expand past ministering to rescue mission stores began to include other Christian ministries. The name was changed, and a non-profit was formed which is now The Association of Christian Thrift Stores (ACTS).
ACTS has been meeting annually and is still a Track of City Gate Network.
Dr. Ed Gray and his son Leo Gray are the founders of ACTS and have worked to provide Workshops for people in the thrift store business with quality training and an encouraging time together.
Dr. Gray became a consultant when he retired and helped start open 100 thrift stores. He helped encourage countless others in their work and in their spiritual walk. Dr. Gray passed away in 2018. Leo and a small team of volunteers are working to continue the annual Association Workshop as a place for learning and encouragement.
ACTS is a volunteer organization with no paid staff.
Our purpose according to our articles of incorporation is as follows:
The corporation is organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, and educational purposes, to whit: to provide services to local ministries that operate Christian Thrift stores; promote the establishment of new Christian thrift stores; to coordinate national cooperation and communication among Christian thrift stores; to provide information, education, and training as it relates to Christian thrift stores; to develop programs which will help Christian thrift stores and their ministries advance the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Over the past almost forty years we have been inviting Christian ministries to send their thrift store personnel to attend our Annual Workshops for training, fellowship, and renewal. Our three day Workshops, usually held in January, average between 100-125 people. Included in our Workshops are vendors from the thrift store industry with products and services to sell. They help to improve many aspects of managing a thrift store.
Our workshop sessions provide training in leading and managing thrift stores and includes a tour of a local thrift store. Our speakers are practical hands on people who work and minister in their thrift stores. A typical Workshop has three morning devotionals, eight Workshop sessions, a tour, and a banquet. Also included are three breakfasts and two lunches. Check in is on Sunday and we end at noon on Wednesday.
Additionally, we provide six sessions at the annual City Gate Convention.
This year (2019) we are having an additional Workshop in September in Pontiac Michigan. We also have a Facebook page for communication between members.