AGRM Certification ProgramToday, as all Christian ministries are subject to increasing scrutiny by the public and governmental bodies, rescue missions must be especially committed to a standard of excellence in all aspects of their ministries. Through this AGRM program, a ministry’s leaders and staff participate in a very comprehensive management and organizational review. At the same time, it is an educational experience involving the director and staff members in an organized evaluation of the following vital components of their ministry:
• Federal, state/provincial, and local regulations affecting facilities and operations
• Buildings, equipment, and fixed assets
• Procedures and policies that relate to a safe and efficient operation
• Philosophies, goals, and objectives for all ongoing programs
• Staff training and educational needs
• Accounting and fund-raising practices
• Relationships with supporters, clients, and community
In the first level of this program, member organizations meeting the acceptable industry standards for well-run rescue ministries are recognized as Certified Missions. In the second and highest level of certification, the Certificate of Excellence, AGRM recognizes member ministries that are models of effective programming and operations, exemplifying the best of what rescue ministries can be in their service to God and to those in need.
Benefits of AGRM Certification1. Demonstrate the Ministry’s Commitment to Excellence
Organizations that rely on donated income to fund their operations are responsible to God and their contributors for what has been entrusted to them. By fulfilling the requirements of this certification program, a ministry demonstrates its commitment to accountability and to excellence in all its activities.
2. Confirm That the Ministry Is Well-Managed
Churches, pastors, donors, and the local community expect the ministry’s board and staff to provide a healthy environment for those it serves. Through the in-depth self-analysis of the certification program, a definite effort is made to investigate the concerns of the ministry’s total operation. Ministries involved in the certification process evaluate their operations using established industry standards for a well-managed rescue ministry.
3. Ensure Good Stewardship of the Ministry’s Resources
The certification process involves a ministry in an in-depth review of its operations. In a very real sense, the certification program serves the same function as the management audit in the business world. Ineffective operational policies, duplicated efforts, and other time- and energy- wasting procedures are often identified. Areas of weakness that demand upgrading are often uncovered. This review can also provide confirmation for areas that are operating correctly. The outcome of this process is better stewardship of the ministry’s assets and resources, often leading to substantial savings of time and money.
4. Gain the Input and Support of a Trusted Rescue Ministry Leader
Upon a ministry’s enrollment, AGRM assigns a certification program consultant to assist it in fulfilling the program’s requirements. AGRM consultants have extensive experience in rescue mission leadership. This dialogue with a trusted ministry professional provides mission leaders the opportunity to confidently raise questions, explore possibilities, and discuss problems that may not normally be addressed.
5. Promote Trust among the Ministry’s Donors and Potential Supporters
Today, many donors seek credentials or evidence of quality, such as the ECFA membership symbol. Certification is AGRM’s “seal of approval” that adds extra credibility to a local ministry. This can be extremely important when approaching donors, foundations, corporations, and government agencies that may potentially provide resources or services to the ministry.
6. Promote a Sense of Ownership among All Involved with the Ministry
The process of certification is a collaborative effort, involving, ideally, all of the ministry’s staff members, as well as its board of directors and volunteers. The result will be an increased awareness of the ministry’s operations as a whole and the unique role each individual plays. This process can promote a healthy sense of ownership, increasing staff unity and giving those involved a greater vision for all that God can accomplish through their efforts.
7. Confirm That the Ministry Is Properly Accountable to Authorities
All nonprofit organizations are accountable to the Internal Revenue Service/Revenue Canada and to various state/provincial and local governmental agencies and inspectors. To be certified, a ministry must thoroughly review its compliance with the regulations, laws, and ordinances to which it must adhere. Failure to comply with these could cost a ministry its reputation and the support of its community. It could also result in a loss of tax-exempt status and could cause it to be subject to various fines and penalties.
8. Reduce Exposure to Potential Legal and Liability Problems
Insurance companies look favorably on missions that have established programs for self- monitoring and documented safety procedures as required by the AGRM Certification Program. A significant difference exists in the quality of operations and facilities of certified missions compared to others. AGRM certification is an effective risk-management program that significantly decreases a ministry’s exposure to potential legal and liability problems.