Atchley named 2014 Outstanding AlumnusPosted January 10, 2014
Rick Atchley, who preaches a message of hope and reconciliation to thousands of congregants each week at The Hills Church of Christ in North Richland Hills, has been named the 2014 Abilene Christian University Outstanding Alumnus of the Year.
Atchley, born in Waco and raised in Dallas, took over the pulpit at North Richland Hills Church of Christ in 1989 and has seen the congregation grow to become the largest Church of Christ in the United States, with roughly 5,000 members.
“I don’t feel deserving,” Atchley said of winning ACU’s highest alumni award. “I love what I do, and I feel called to do what I do, and I feel it’s important — but I don’t feel I do what I do any more faithfully than hundreds of graduates from ACU. I’m thankful my alma mater feels that what people like me do is successful, too.”
Atchley will be honored with an Alumni Day luncheon on the ACU campus, Sunday, Feb. 16. Also to be honored are Fort Worth ministry couple Randy and Anda Brown, ACU’s 2014 Young Alumni of the Year.
A 1978 graduate in communication, Atchley began his preaching career in Abilene at Southern Hills Church of Christ. In his 35 years of ministry, Atchley has drawn on lessons learned during his childhood, in which he witnessed firsthand the racial tension of post-segregation Dallas in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
North Richland Hills Church of Christ changed its name to The Hills Church of Christ in 2010, in part reflecting the unity and diversity Atchley has made a focus of his ministry. The congregation’s 2020 vision calls for planting new churches, supporting more missionary families and sending thousands of people on short-term missions trips around the globe. It also has reached out to congregations from other streams of the same Stone-Campbell Movement from which Churches of Christ arose.
ACU has recognized an outstanding alumnus or alumna for lifetime achievement bringing honor to the university each year since 1958. Previous winners have included Pulitzer Prize-winning Dallas Morning News photographer David Leeson and international best-selling author and preacher Max Lucado, who also was Atchley’s college roommate.
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