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A Short History

Gary Williams was an Administration Pastor at Southport Church of Christ. He was on the lookout for training and resources related to church administration, and couldn't find much. He attended meetings of the Institute of Management, and Fundraising Institute, but these completely missed some of the specialised aspects of a local church - and provided nothing by way of spiritual inspiration!

He formed a small group of church administrators, and stumbled across several US organisations - Christian Management Association, the National Centre for Nonprofit Boards, and the National Association of Church Business Administrators. He joined all three, and in 1997 made a visit to the CMA Conference in Nashville. At the conference, he discovered a world of resources that Australians were missing out on. At his next 'show and tell' with the other church administrators, they expressed a desire to see something similar in Australia.

Gary wrote to relevant US organisations, inquiring whether any other interest from Australia had been expressed. He heard back that previously, inquiries had come from the Evangelical Alliance (EA), in Melbourne, and Wesley Mission in Sydney. Gary approached both EA and Wesley Mission, and asked if they would be involved in starting something in Australia.

Neither organisation was prepared to underwrite the exercise, but both expressed a desire to support the establishment of a Christian Management Association in Australia. Gary attended several meetings of EA, and a decision was made to form an exploratory board to test the concept. Wesley Mission and EA both proposed key personnel to sit on this board, three additional board members were recruited, and the inaugural, exploratory meetings of the CMA board took place in 2001.

The board soon decided that the idea had merit, and It was resolved to form CMA (Christian Management Australia) initially as a commission of EA, thereby simplifying incorporation, reducing risk, and benefiting from shared networks. So CMA became a part of the EA family. Right from the start, it was agreed by both boards that should either party feel the time had come for CMA to incorporate separately, both parties would cooperate in a spirit of mutual support.

Gary was offered the position of National Director, initially part-time, based on a seed funding grant from EA and from Evangelical Christian Credit Union in the USA. After considerable prayer, Gary tendered a resignation to the church, and took up the position of the CMA National Director. Mark Holbrook, CEO of ECCU in USA, came out in 2002 to speak at some launch events around the country, and CMA's first national conference was held in Sydney in 2003, drawing over 300 ministry leaders and managers. CMA grew slowly and steadily from that point, with additional support from a collection of Founding Members.

In 2011, EA was looking at some structural changes, and decided it was time to invite CMA, and other members of the EA family, to consider whether they would like to exit the EA structure and incorporate separately. CMA decided the time was right, and thus a process of separation commenced. In 2012, a new charitable entity, Christian Ministry Advancement Ltd was created, and the operations of Christian Management Australia transfered from the EA parent to this new entity. The separation was completed amicably, in the spirit of the initial 2001 agreement, and CMA now exists separately from EA, but still in fellowship via a covenant-style agreement between the former EA family members.

The purpose of the original CMA is retained in the 'new' CMA - to see Christian organisations and individuals, who are driven by a Gospel mission, become more effective.

(C) 2015. Christian Ministry Advancement Ltd. is a registered charity, incorporating the ministry of Christian Management Australia. ABN 63 157 713 534
CMA can be contacted on 07 5545 2004, or 03 9890 1237, or at PO Box 459 North Tamborine QLD 4272. Full contact details here
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