Conference Electives

Throughout the conference there will be seven elective time-slots, each containing six electives running at the same time, in one of six streams:

Ministry Governance Stream – sponsored by ACOM – www.acom.edu.au
HR Stream – sponsored by AIFC – www.aifc.com.au
Finance & Legal Stream  – sponsored by Benkorp – www.benkorp.com
Fundraising & Communications Stream
General Stream
CEO Forum* – sponsored by Reventure – www.reventure.ltd

*CEO Forum electives are only for CEOs, Senior Ministers, School / College Principals, and you will need a special ‘CEO’ name-tag to enter the room. If you are a CEO and wish to have access to the CEO Forum sessions, please contact CMA and request a CEO invitation. By CEO, we mean the most senior staff leader, who reports directly to the board, and who leads a team of more than two full-time-equivalent (FTE) staff.


Use the drop-down box below to filter electives by stream.

Tuesday 6th June 11.35am – 12.30pm

Options in church governance structures – making the most of what you have

With heightened scrutiny of church and religious institution governance structures, now is the time to learn more about options available and appropriate structures. Join Anne Robinson as she unpacks the options in church governance and equip yourself with greater understanding. 

Anne Robinson (Founder and Partner, Prolegis Lawyers)

Faith Based Work Arrangements: How the ground is shifting and what you need to know

The same principles relied upon by Courts to change the way that employment relationships are understood may have a wider application for a range of faith-based work arrangements. This session will consider what this means for:

  • non-contractual work arrangements;
  • work contracts that are not employment; and
  • setting inherent requirements for a role.

Anyone with responsibility for appointing ministers, engaging contractors, paying honorariums to volunteers or employees in faith-based organisations must understand how the ground is shifting and what they must do to remain ahead of developments in the law.

Chris Mills (Neumann & Turnour Lawyers)

Compelling Storytelling

Testimonies are powerful. Whether you are sharing the Gospel or telling of the great work that God is doing in your organisation, the ability to clearly articulate this through compelling storytelling is invaluable. Good storytelling can build relationships, unlock partnerships and engage donors and sponsors.

This session will help you learn how you can tell your story of Kingdom impact effectively, as well as how you can then get this message in front of the right people to make a real impact.

Michael Dogger (CEO, R6 Digital)

Navigating from the Now to the Future

(CEOs only – special name tag required for entry)

How CEOs take the initiative to look outwards for innovative ways to improve, and how they experiment and take risks by constantly generating small wins and learning from experience.

Tim Hanna

Financial reporting update – A practical workshop on the implementation of AASB 124: Related Party Disclosures

The ACNC financial reporting regulations have been amended to included AASB 124: Related Party Disclosures charities preparing special purpose financial statements. Most charities are going to have to identify, assess and report related party transaction and balances in their financial statements for 30 June 2023.

This session with be an opportunity to hear about the key requirements of AASB 124 and understand what action needs to be taken by governance and management. We will also discuss the disclosure of donations from directors and senior management, the disclosure of remuneration paid to key management personnel and their family members.

This session will be suitable for management responsible for the finances and board members seeking an overview of the key issues.

Helen Boucher and Jeff Tulk (Saward Dawson)

Apply Lean Thinking in Christian Organisations

Lean thinking is fundamental to removing wastes (i.e., non-value-added activities) within an organization by creating more value and minimizing resources, time, energy and effort. Effectively applying lean principles and practices can significantly improve ministry efficiency by understanding what is really going on at the place where value is created and improving the processes by which value is delivered. Lean thinking enables leaders in Christian organizations to streamline processes as a mean to improve ministry effectiveness which is vital for the sustainability of ministry post COVID-19.

Jessen Yeoh (Church Consultant, Baptist Union of Victoria)

Tuesday 6th June 1.20pm – 2.15pm

Mission Sustainability through Improved Risk Management

In the past, risk management had one focus: what might go wrong.

However, faith organisations rightly are looking for a change in risk management – to also help with the things that must go right!

This is a positive step. Organisations that can reshape their risk management are more likely to thrive (rather than just trying to survive).

Our experience is that taking a more strategic approach helps to achieve your mission and purpose, improve governance, provide safe environments and helps you become a more resilient organisation.

This session shares our deep experience with supporting Australia’s faith communities as a long time trusted Insurer and Risk specialist.

How can this session help your organisation to thrive:

  • Learn about new approach to risk management that is making a difference.
  • Assess your organisation against six common gaps in risk management and get tips to improve.
  • How to get improvement started: key achievable steps.
  • Tools and Resources: have access to a range of useful and tailored guidance.
Anthony Black (General Manager – Risk Solutions, Ansvar Insurance Australia)

Kingdom Culture – How Ministries are Changing Staffing Strategies.

In this increasingly secularised employee market, learn how local and national ministries, including some of the of the biggest employers in the Christian for Purpose sector, are reinforcing their culture by changing their staffing strategies.

Leila Halawe (Partner, Chifley Global Group)

Integrity in the Face of Caution: Confidence In Unpredictable Times

Research commissioned by Dunham+Company over the last decade shows that donors are becoming more cautious in their giving particularly in this last year. And they express a degree of pessimism about their giving in the future. It is clear the economy and inflation has had an impact on giving, and the intention to give. We expect as things settle and that this will change, so let’s explore the latest 2023 data together, and discuss how we act with integrity as ministries committed to seeing more of God’s Kingdom come.

Joshua Crowther (Executive Director, Dunham+Company)

Keeping Faith: The CEO’s role in Preventing Mission Drift

(CEOs only – special name tag required for entry)

We all know of once-Christian organisations that are no longer faithful to their former Christ-centred identity and purpose. So how does that happen? (And let’s not make the fatal mistake of kidding ourselves that it can’t happen to us!)

This workshop will explore:

  • what can be done pro-actively to maintain organisational faithfulness;
  • What are some danger signs of slippage; and, particularly,
  • What is the CEO’s role in both preventing mission drift and actively promoting organisational faithfulness to the mind of Christ?

Stephen Judd (Former CEO of HammondCare, now a Critical Friend)

The Law on Collaborations – Mergers, Acquisitions and Collaboration

NFPs and charities are experiencing mounting pressure to remain viable and continue to achieve their purposes. They are contending with donor fatigue, cuts to government funding, pandemics, increased demands for charitable services and increased expectations from members for measurable social impact.

In order to survive and thrive in the current landscape, NFPs and charities are increasingly having to be more creative with how they deliver services. A key way for NFPs and charities to do this is to collaborate with other likeminded NFPs and charities, including by way of mergers, acquisitions, forming consortiums, auspicing and joint ventures, amongst other things.

Jonathan Green and Vera Visevic (MILLS OAKLEY)

Godly delegation – timeless advice

Some 3000 years ago Jethro observed Moses at work and gave him advice that is just as relevant for you and me today. as it was for Moses then. Jethro recognised God at work, but he saw Moses nearing burn out, and he saw people getting increasingly frustrated as the queues of unresolved problems grew longer by the day. Jethro’s advice together with Moses’ response saved the day. What can we learn from this encounter?

John Reed (Managing Director, Reposition)

Tuesday 6th June 2.25pm – 3.20pm

The Big Questions on Governance

Exploring the big questions of governance, and how systems and structures support good governance. Delving into managing the dialogue within governance meetings. How do tools like risk appetite statements support good governance.

Diann Feldman (Managing Director, Feldman and Associates)

Employment Update – staying ahead of the changes

An essential session for all organisations to attend wanting to stay ahead of the ongoing changes in the employment and industrial landscape that will effect your organisation’s workforces

Adam Foster (Partner – Employment and Safety, Colin Biggers & Paisley)

How Creative thinkers and Data thinkers should be best friends!

“Unleash Your Inner Little Red Riding Hood: Mastering the Art of Storytelling for Thriving Organisations!” – Join Luke Holt from Gracify in this captivating session that reveals the secret sauce of storytelling for success in fundraising and culture management. Get ready for a brutally honest reality check as we dive into “Who Cares?” Learn simple techniques to shift your perspective and captivate your audience, whether it’s clients, customers, or donors. And hold onto your hats for “Are we kidding ourselves?” as we challenge the obsession with profit and loss reports over true impact and outcome measures. Get the tools, insights, and laughs you need to make a real difference and amp up your funding and communication game!

Luke Holt (Director, Gracify)

How to recruit Board members and a CEO to support and drive your fundraising better. 

New Australian research will provide guidance in seeking and securing CEOs and Board members to support and drive your fundraising better.  Models will outline skills, experiences, and abilities to look for in CEOs, Board members and a Board member focussed on fundraising for consideration by current leaders and aspirational fundraisers.

Margaret Scott (Margaret Scott & Associates)

10 Legal issues for churches and ministries – a cornucopia of church compliance considerations

Murray Baird will wrangle a herd of Prolegis lawyers as we cover current and emerging legal issues to update churches and ministries on their legal obligations. There will be ample time for questions and commentary from our experienced panel. Come armed with your queries and conundrums.

Murray Baird & panelists (Consultant, Prolegis Lawyers)

Anxiety in the System: Cultivating a Spiritually, Mentally and Emotionally Healthy Organisation in a New Context

The current context of Mental and Emotional Health and what the new Psychosocial Hazard Legislation means for your ministry and organisation and the steps you need to take (including a Christian Workplace guide) Understanding how systemic anxiety operates in organisations to undermine and team effectiveness and ministry impact and what you can do about it The integration imperative – spiritual formation, mental and emotional health How boards and leaders can help their people, build healthy teams and a healthy organisation

Nicholas Marks (CEO, AIFC)

Tuesday 6th June 4.00pm – 5.00pm

The Rise of Technology in Charity and NFP Governance

COVID 19 significantly accelerated the uptake of technology, forcing NFPs and charities to embrace technology and innovate. In many ways these changes have made life easier and save valuable time and resources.

General meetings by Zoom, voting on board resolutions electronically and digital signing of contracts are all sensible uptakes of technology. However, NFPs and charities must ensure that such adoptions do not breach their governance requirements. Likewise, as use of technology evolves within NFPs and charities, their directors must ensure that they remain informed and are able to exercise due care and diligence in exercising their duties.

Jonathan Green and Vera Visevic (MILLS OAKLEY)

Avoiding the Seven Most Common Hiring Mistakes

Hiring the right people for your organisation is crucial for your success, It’s also difficult to do consistently well. This presentation outlines the Seven Most Common Hiring Mistakes based on many years screening job and promotional applicants . These are described in detail. Practical solutions for avoiding each of these errors are outlined. Numerous research studies have proven that better hiring decisions lead to less stress for you. You will have increased control of your time, improved staff morale, and an increased ability to extend God’s grace in word and deed.

Ken Morgan (Arrow Leadership)

Next Step Fundraising Essentials to Support Your Ministry

Beyond bake sales and trivia nights, Fundraising Essentials takes you on an interactive journey to kickstart and grow your fundraising efforts now. Find out what it takes to create a sustainable fundraising program. Gain insight into building quality donor relationships that last. Walk away with a framework and tools to guide your fundraising plans and activities – to spark generosity, build community and realise God’s vision for your organisation.

Sharyn Tidswell (Founder / Professional Fundraiser, Opal Fundraising)

The buck stops with you: A CEO’s guide to stopping moral injury in the workplace

(CEOs only – special name tag required for entry)

In “The Buck Stops With You: A CEO’s Guide to Stopping Moral Injury in the Workplace,” Karen explores the crucial role that leaders play in preventing moral injury and promoting ethical behaviour in their organisations. As the Harvard Business Review puts it, “The CEO is the ultimate arbiter of what the company stands for, what it values, and how it behaves.” We discuss the causes and consequences of moral injury in the Christian workplace, and provide practical strategies for CEOs to create a culture of integrity and accountability. By taking a proactive stance on moral injury, CEOs can build trust with employees, and stakeholders, and ensure the long-term success of their organisations.

Karen McComiskey (CEO, Reventure)

A Faithful Diligence Framework for Avoiding Distraction and Focussing on Ministry

Staying true to authentic faith based ministry matters. The challenge is existential. If what you do most of on most days is other than that which sits comfortably as authentic faith based ministry; the “mere administration” of excellent but faithless market services, are you really the authentic faith based ministry you hope to be? In this session Arkhart Advisory will present our faithful diligence framework for analysing current ministry activities and assets to enable fully informed decision making and action, and refocus if necessary, to ensure continuous focus on ministry.

Peter Pearce (Principal Consultant, Bickerton Masters – Arkhart Advisory)

Project Management – Not Just for Infrastructure

Project Management is typically thought of as a skill set that applies mostly to infrastructure projects. This session will have a brief look at what Project Management is and then delve into three of the Knowledge Areas that can help everyone in their day to day work and life.

Brenda Newland (General Manager, CrossLife Property)

Wednesday 7th June 11.15am – 12.15pm

Hot spots – Financial and related Governance issues for NFPs

This session with be an opportunity to hear about a number of areas that management and boards should be discussing, as well as particular actions that can be taken now.

  • Financial reporting update – The things you need to know about proposed changes to financial reporting for charities and when they will apply.
  • Tax compliance risk – Tax concessions, fringe benefits reporting, new opportunities and obligations.
  • Cyber risks and frauds – Highlighting a few recent NPF examples and the questions governance need to ask.
  • Financial resilience in the current economic climate

This session will suitable for management responsible for the finances and board members seeking an overview of the key issues.

Jeff Tulk and Peter Shields (Saward Dawson Chartered Accountants)

How do we lead ‘with‘ the next generation better?

A highly interactive wrestle and respond session following Lucy Dessington’s plenary, collectively discussing and kick around the generational transition taking place. Think CMA Board Interns, Board members and CEOs all in the room problem solving together.

Lucy Dessington and James Baker (Graduate Board Interns, Cohort 1)

How to Make Strategic Fundraising Choices that Suit YOUR Charity

Grants? Peer to peer campaign? Direct mail appeal? Gala dinner? Corporates? If you’re overwhelmed with a bewildering array of fundraising options, come along to this session to find out how to strategically select the best fundraising options for your charity. Also find out what’s working for other charities according to the latest benchmarking data and explore how to stay true to your Christian roots and mission.

June Steward (Director, June’s Fundraising Letter)

How CEOs encourage excellent performance by working with the heart of individuals on their team

(CEOs only – special name tag required for entry)

The best CEOs recognise contributions by showing appreciation for individual excellence. They also celebrate alignment with values. This session will allow opportunities for attendees to hear from each other how they have fostered a spirit of unity with their team.

John Jeffries (Partners in Ministry)

Thinking about cyber? Where do you start?

We all know resources are limited. The need to have robust systems in place is essential but challenging without expertise and financial investment.

In this interactive workshop, we’ll discuss some of the fundamental risks and the responsibilities that organisations need to consider when thinking about cyber security. We’ll also look at some free resources and templates available to assist in strengthening cyber risk management policies and procedures.

*No IT expertise required.

Ash Sutale and Julianne Smith (EA Insurance)

Better digital experiences

Join us for a website bootcamp! An organisation’s website is its primary communications tool and anchor for other marketing and fundraising efforts. However, many organisations fail to articulate their value or provide their stakeholders with a relevant user experience. This has a detrimental effect on supporter engagement and a material impact on fundraising revenue. This practical workshop will draw on human centred design principles to provide participants with a framework for planning effective online content and experiences. Delegates will walk away with a Miro board template along with insights shared from our experienced facilitator.

Nick Dubé (Head of Digital, Heartburst)

Wednesday 7th June 1.00pm – 1.55pm

Strengthening the Cyber Shield: The Imperative of Board-Level IT Governance

In this talk, we’ll navigate the role of boards in cyber governance, drawing on the recently published AICD principles. We’ll explore existing obligations, role definitions, cyber strategy development, risk management, resilience culture, and incident planning. Case studies will illuminate successes and failures in these areas, providing actionable insights for enhancing cybersecurity within small to medium-sized enterprises.

Andrew Yager (Real World Technology Solutions)

WWJD? Managing staff performance and conduct in Christian organisations

The need for Christian organisations to act as ambassadors of Christ has never been greater. Yet, many organisations struggle with managing their employees, the very individuals tasked with representing the organisation and the faith. 

This session will explore how Christian organisations should approach employee performance and conduct issues with reference to Biblical principles. It will give you an understanding of your organisation’s key legal obligations, how to reduce the risk of problems arising, and practical guidance on how to address them. The session will also cover considerations when dealing with out-of-hours conduct, working from home arrangements and employee surveillance.

Natasha Sim (Senior Associate, Russell Kennedy Lawyers)

6 Challenges of a Christian Fundraiser

Begging letters. Tiny budgets. Too few donors. Get biblical perspectives on fundraising from two professional Christian fundraisers on the frontlines of asking for money for charities! Strategist Sharyn Tidswell will inspire you with insights on the perennial issues of the fear of fundraising, scarcity mindset and how to raise funds ethically. Consultant and copywriter June Steward will tackle hot topics of how to fundraise through the current cost of living crisis, who owns the right to tell your beneficiary’s story and what ChatGPT means for your donor relationships. Between them, they have nearly half a century of fundraising experience and will also share why they love serving God through fundraising.

Sharyn Tidswell (Founder / Professional Fundraiser, Opal Fundraising) & June Steward (Director, June’s Fundraising Letter)

Fresh off the Bench – Building Deeper and Broader Bench Strength

(CEOs only – special name tag required for entry)

This session will explore the priority for leaders to develop leaders around them, at every level of the organisation. This developmental culture establishes a readiness for what God might do next for, in and through you, your organisation and those your organisation serves.

Liam Glover (Executive Director, Arrow Leadership Australia)

Identity, faith and the law           

In a rapidly changing society, Christian organisations must navigate a complex legal and social environment when considering matters including:

  • whether and how faith can be taken into account in hiring decisions;
  • to what extent they can ensure employee conduct is consistent with organisational values;
  • the provision of services to the community; and
  • how beliefs are communicated in public and pastoral settings.

Using practical case studies and tips, we’ll help you understand the legal framework in which Christian organisations operate.

Rebecca Lambert-Smith (Practice Leader, Moores)

Putting your faith in governance

We focus so much on “good” governance and what that means, borrowing structures and outlines from secular bodies. But what does it mean to have a Christian distinctiveness that goes beyond the fiduciary and seeks to lead and govern for renewal and health of the whole organisation.

Simon Barrington (Founder and Director Forge Leadership Consultancy)

Wednesday 7th June 2.00pm – 3.00pm

Developing a Theology of Risk

Jesus instruction to “carry our cross and follow him” (Luke 14.27)runs counter to current risk management practice. What does the Bible say about risk? What might a theology of risk look like and how can our theology inform our practice. This seminar will explore these questions, particularly from the perspective of a mission sending organisation.

Peter Rodgers (International Director, CMS Australia (2011-2022))

A Christian Approach to Mediation as a tool to manage conflict and restore peace in your workplace

Unresolved workplace conflict eats away at the heart of a workplace, but a skilled Christian mediator can help employers resolve disputes and restore peace. Fran will guide us through the mediation process and how a Christian approach to mediation can restore trust, courtesy and respect, and also validate and empower parties involved in workplace conflict.

Fran Keyes (Practice Leader – Employment and Discrimination, Corney & Lind Lawyers)

Are your leaders leading fundraising?

New research findings about the CEO and Board Chair relationship that can support and drive fundraising in your organisation will be presented and discussed. Leaders and aspiring leaders will learn

Margaret Scott (Margaret Scott & Associates)

Rhythms of renewal

(CEOs only – special name tag required for entry)

As CEOs how can we lead in a way that sets effective rhythms for personal and organisational health and growth? Drawing on monastic thinking and personal experience of applying this at organisational and personal level as a CEO, Simon explores the factors involved in setting an effective pace for ourselves and others.

Simon Barrington (Founder and Director Forge Leadership Consultancy)

Tailoring your internal financial reporting to manage strategic risks

Many ministries wrestle with financial sustainability, and how to best present data so the board and management are best equipped with insights to enable them to navigate times of financial blessing and challenge.

In this session, we explore ways in which internal reporting can be designed and delivered to enable deeper insights, earlier warnings, and a clearer picture.

David Shaw and Jonathan Karanikas (WSC Group)

Fostering Fearless Teams: The Power of Psychological Safety to Unleash your Team’s Potential

Did you know that less than 10% of teams rate themselves as high-performing? Now, more than ever, teams are being expected to produce more with less. How do we navigate this unrelenting pressure?

In this highly interactive session, you will:

  • Learn why psychological safety is the most important factor in creating healthy and high-performing teams
  • Discover the role of the Holy Spirit in creating a culture of trust, vulnerability and courageous conversations
  • Harness the power of Relationship Systems Intelligence™ to tap into collective intelligence and creative powers
  • Learn simple and effective strategies to transform your team’s performance and unleash their potential
Candice Hung (Director and Leadership Coach, LUCID LEADERSHIP)

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