CMA (Christian Ministry Advancement Ltd) is an Australian charity, formed in 2001 with two purposes:
We have found that the spiritual gifts of administration (think governance, HR, fundraising, financial management, legal compliance, risk management) have been neglected in much of the Christian sector, and that therefore, the front-line mission of the church was weakened. We often encounter explanations like, “We’re a church, not a business – so don’t talk to me about [strategy, or risk, or HR, or performance, or governance]”.
But an effective Christian organisation needs to function well both spiritually, and organisationally. A prayerful, God-centred ministry that is governed well, manages finances prudently, is diligent about its legal & civic obligations, and treats staff both lovingly and professionally, will produce more fruit than a prayerful, God-centred ministry that is poorly governed, financially irresponsible, legally naive, and who treats staff lovingly but without proper process.
CMA is not tied to any church, denomination or other organisation. We are completely interdenominational, and our community of 1700+ members represents the wide spread of the Christian faith in Australia. We are not underwritten by any business, foundation or organisation – we earn our income from membership fees, donations, sponsorship, event revenue, and resource sales. We have been around for over 20 years, and each year thousands of church, ministry and business leaders attend CMA events, or request CMA resources, or engage with us in some manner.
Advancing ministry by maximising the effectiveness of governance, leadership and management in Christian churches and organisations.
Australian society transformed by the effective ministry of well-governed, well-led, well-managed Christian churches and organisations.
Stephen joined as the Executive Director of the CMA Standards Council in February 2016, in a part time role. The remainder of his work week is spent in his role as a lawyer. With a career starting in commercial litigation, and then for the last 20 years in general corporate and commercial law, he was previously a Senior Partner at Freehills, before taking his current position as a Senior Partner at HWL Ebsworth. He has helped establish and advise many not-for-profit organisations and has considerable professional experience in governance and compliance matters. He, his wife Kate and three adult children are actively involved in church life at St Hilary’s Anglican Church in Kew, Victoria, and he has served on a variety of church and ministry boards and committees, including his current role, of almost ten years, on the board of Overseas Council Australia.
Paul Arnott grew up in the Baptist church in Hobart. He has worked in tourism; as an ABC current affairs journalist; is an ordained Anglican minister having served in five different parishes in Tasmania; was Victorian State Director of the Church Missionary Society for 11 years; was most recently Executive Director of Churches of Christ Community Care in Victoria and Tasmania, and became CMA’s Executive Director Q4 in 2016.
Paul is the author of the bereaved parents guide, No Time To Say Goodbye, is married to Rosanne and has three adult daughters. He has a passion to enable Australian Christians to use their talents and experiences to serve the kingdom of God in daily life.
Ina Sanders was born in Russia, grew up in Germany and also spent some time in South America. After completing her business degree, she worked in a variety of senior management roles in corporations in Germany, France and Switzerland, before migrating to Australia in 2002.
In Australia she obtained her masters degree in theological studies and decided to use her corporate expertise in the non-profit industry. She joined CMA part-time in 2017, runs her own consultancy firm specialising in data analytics and strategy, and has a passion to see non-profits become the best stewards they can be! Ina is married to Mark and she loves playing tennis.
Debbie is the wife of Gary, the National Director. In the years before children came along, her life included serving in several clerical positions, a two-year term on the Doulos with OM, and a youth ministry internship with Scripture Union.
Debbie left the full time workforce when Abby and then Landon were born, and now she provides some part time assistance for Gary in the CMA Office in QLD.
Gary has spent his life in Christian ministry. After time at Cornerstone Community, Youth for Christ, and university, he spent eight years as Associate Pastor (Administration & Community Care) at Southport Church of Christ in QLD, where the idea for CMA took shape. In 2001 he left the church to establish CMA, and has been CMA’s National Director since its inception. He has a Bachelor of Education, and a Master of Business (Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies) from QUT in Brisbane. He lives on Tamborine Mountain with his wife Debbie and has two adult children, Abby and Landon. He attends his local Presbyterian church.
James is a messy Jesus follower and passionate disciple maker. James is currently the CEO and Creative Director of xp. ltd which creates digital resources to help young Aussies authentically explore life and faith. James is also an Endeavour Executive Fellow, recognised by the Australian Government for his strategic thinking and leadership in ministry, and brings his insight into emerging Christian churches to our board.
Prior to ministry, James pursued a career in international law and social policy, and his work on disability rights was recognised by a prestigious Prime Minister’s Australia Asia Award.
James joined the CMA Board in 2022.
Deb has a Bachelor of Business with a major in Human Resource Management from the University of Newcastle, and has spent much of the last 20+ years coaching and advising managers on how to build and sustain healthy and high performing teams. She has a passion for seeing organisations and their people flourish as they work together to achieve mission.
Deb is currently the Director of Administrative Services at St Philip’s Christian College, Newcastle and also mentors leaders in her spare time.
Prior to this Deb served in senior leadership at Compassion Australia for 15 years. As a member of the Executive team she had responsibility for the leadership of a range of functions throughout her time including: People and Culture, Internal Communications, Strategy, Project Management, IT, Finance, Risk and Compliance, and Field Experience.
Deb lives in Newcastle NSW with her husband Duncan and son Jack, and together they love hanging out, being active and working in their garden.
Coming from a background in ministry and performing arts, Cheryl is passionate about empowering others to use their vocations to transform the world. She is an ordained minister of the Churches of Christ, holding master’s degrees in business administration, practical theology and education.
Cheryl is currently the Executive Director of Operations at Eastern College Australia, and an elder at Discovery Church in Melbourne. She joined the CMA Board in 2018.
Jame holds degrees in law and commerce from the University of Melbourne. He has been a lawyer for more than 40 years with experience in all areas of business law. He has been on numerous Boards and Committees for the last 40 years including Chair of an NGO for more than 10 years and being retained as Company Secretary for an Australian charity and its subsidiary.
He is currently Chair of Hillcrest Christian College Limited. He operates through the legal practice of BSA Lawyers and his governance work is undertaken through Lewis Counsel and works mainly in the area of governance including advice and conducting training for Boards of Christian agencies in Australia and around the world.
With his wife Leanne they conduct training and provide materials for the Train the Trainers course on governance for Board members with Boards in Africa Asia and Latin America.
Judy is the Founding Principal of CREDENCE Executive Search & Selection, an executive search and selection firm which began in 1999, building on her significant history in the HR field. From the selection of entire new teams through to guiding in many ‘C-suite’ selections, Judy’s genuine interest in the Christian Not-For-Profit sector has shaped and sharpened her ability to assist with critical appointments of its Christian leadership, raising benchmarks and providing clarity of its mission and values.
In addition to Credence, Judy engages with social enterprises and micro finance projects, particularly around entrepreneurial women living in poverty. She served on the board of African Enterprise for ten years to 2019, and joined the CMA board in 2022.
With over 25 years in executive, accounting and governance roles in Australasia and Europe, Steve is currently the Managing Director of a private equity management and consulting firm.
For 10 years until 2017, Steve was the General Secretary of one of the largest church and community movements in Australia. He has served on numerous corporate and charitable Boards in Australia and overseas. He joined the CMA Board in May 2018, has served as Chair since 2021, and is also currently a Board member of C4M Childcare Ltd and the Churches of Christ in Queensland.
Steve is inspired by other faith-driven Aussies, and their positive, faith-filled message of hope in their communities.
CMA is now into the third phase of its existence.
When CMA (originally called ‘Christian Management Australia’) first began in 2001, it was seeded significantly by one-off gifts of $1000 or more from ‘Founding Members’. The founding period was officially closed on 30 June 2010, and it is fair to say that CMA would not exist without the vision and support of those initial Founding Members. We wish to continue to acknowledge their initial support of our vision, and you can view the original Founding Members list here.
Phase two began in 2012, when CMA departed from the corporate umbrella of the Evangelical Alliance family, and formed a new charity, Christian Ministry Advancement Ltd. The organisation was sustainable, although very small, and began to get wider recognition as it published some important booklets, launched a national series of Board Training Days each year, and increased its activity to around 40 events per year. This period also saw the launch of the CMA Standards Council – modeled on ECFA in the USA – and Q4.
The COVID-19 pandemic signalled a new, third phase for CMA. By God’s grace and because of goodwill extended to us by members, sponsors and supporters, we navigated the pandemic in good shape, and used the lull in public activities to make some refinements and adjustments to our strategy. Our mission is as central – and needed – as ever, our staff and board teams are in good shape, and we have a clear vision of where we need to go from here. Our various income streams, though fairly small, are nicely diverse, and allow us to sustain the organisation at its current size, but they won’t fund the next phase of expansion. We aren’t satisfied just being stable, when we believe God is calling us to a whole new level of expanding the ways we serve the Christian sector in Australia.
In this post-COVID expansion period, we are again seeking the support of organisations and individuals to help us move to the next level, beyond merely sustaining the present. If you believe God may be prompting you to strengthen the ministry of CMA, please contact us, or consider making a donation now here. In 2023 we are forming a new ‘Founders Network’ for supporters who make a contribution of $1000 or more per year, either by a one-off gift, or by a monthly contribution of $100 or more. If you really want to invest in building well-governed, well-led, well-managed churches and ministries, we would love to welcome you to our new Founders Network!
If you would like to discuss opportunities to gain some visibility for your product, service or ministry, while at the same time supporting CMA’s mission, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
We are deeply grateful for the partnership with our sponsors!