ACCESS is a community of online Christian educators. We represent a diverse array of learning institutions and organizations, accessible education, and a commitment to making theological education distinctly Christian. Our commitment to online education to be more intentional about expanding our reach. One of our responsibilities as Christians is to be co-missioners with Christ in the mission of the church. We are also intentional about the formation of a community of learners. ACCESS is a unique organization that provides leadership in Christian distance education by collectively engaging a community of scholars, practitioners, and educators.

 The mission of ACCESS is to provide leadership in the field of Christian distance education.

ACCESS provides leadership through resources, online community development, and promotion of various forms of distance education. Some of the resources include research and scholarship in distance education (DE) and Christian distance education (CDE), consultation in the field, and establishing a repository of best practices of CDE. Ways in which we build community include a network of CDE professionals, a forum for collaboration, and establishing professional development opportunities through our annual conference. Finally, support of Christian distance education is achieved through promotion of accessible CDE, addressing a uniquely Christian component of distance education, and partnering with other organizations for the advancement of CDE.


ACCESS is the name for The Association of Christian Distance Education. In its earlier days, the name matched the acronym but over time, it was determined that the message of accessibility more accurately reflected our mission. It was decided to keep the acronym ACCESS but simply change the association’s name.

ACCESS is the leading network of Christian institutions, organizations and individuals characterized by a commitment to make education more accessible through online, mobile, and digital means.

ACCESS is made up of institutions of higher education, organizations that provide church-based and para-church training, and individuals involved in various forms of Christian distance education. Institutional members include seminaries and colleges with online education, programs that focus on adult learners, and other agencies that provide curriculum or support for leadership development and lay training.

ACCESS recognizes that the need to provide education extends beyond any single delivery system. Some members utilize the latest technology for online seminars, while others rely on more traditional forms of delivery methods. Individual members are leaders in the field of innovation and effectiveness in education.

ACCESS is poised to provide continued direction for this field. Our mission statement serves as a rationale for why we do what we do as a professional association. Our purpose is to provide leadership through resources, community, and promotion in Christian distance education.



ACCESS, the Association for Christian Distance Education, has been in existence since 1971. The association began at a conference in Chicago to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Moody Correspondence School. The twenty-six delegates present declared that they had enjoyed the fellowship, profited from the sessions, and requested that a committee be appointed which would provide another similar conference the following year. In the years that followed, similar conferences were convened in Fort Wayne, Nashville, and Chicago. ACCESS, formerly The Christian Correspondence School Association, adopted its constitution and bylaws in 1976. It was incorporated in 1977 and changed its name to the Association of Christian Continuing Education Schools and Seminaries (ACCESS).

The Executive Committee of ACCESS determined that the association needed to move forward in a way that would more definitively define the field of Christian distance education. They determined that an Executive Director should be hired that would continue to provide leadership across all levels. Dr. Mary Lowe has served in that position since August of 2007. The Committee determined that the association would maintain the acronym ACCESS but use the new name, Association of Christian Distance Education.

The leadership of ACCESS anticipates building on the foundation established to serve all levels of Christian distance education.