Watchdog for ministry in Australia

One set of standards will now cover Christian organisations

A key gap in Australian Christianity has been filled with the creation of a Standards Council by Christian Ministry Advancement. It provides a set of standards regarding governance, financial oversight and fundraising for Christian churches, schools, charities and their ilk. An “Accredited Seal” will identify ministries that meet the standards.

Last month the government regulator, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), issued a note that says: “If you are accredited by the CMA Standards Council as meeting the CMA Standards Council Principles and Standards, in particular the following principles and underlying obligations, you will meet the [ACNC] governance standards.”

Ministries can meet government requirements for charities and be accredited by the CMA Standards Council (CMASC), by following one set of principles and standards.

“The ACNC standards are a solid start, but we believe ministries should go even further, to make every effort to ensure that the contributions of donors, board members and volunteers are treated with the utmost respect and diligence,” states CMASC Executive Director, Stephen Kerr.

CMASC’s standards were developed by an independent Standards Panel, whose members represent a mix of legal, accounting, business and not-for-profit expertise, in consultation with the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) in the USA.

ECFA has had a big role in keeping ministries up to scratch, and recently struck off a large mission agency for lacking financial controls. A pilot group of ministries is using the CMASC standards and a formal launch of CMASC is planned for early 2017.

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