AGRM Publications

Please enjoy AGRM's many publications. If you have questions or would like to submit information to one of our publications, please email Director of Communications Brad Lewis.

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Street Smart

Street Smart: July 1, 2014

Posted: 07/01/2014
U.S. Supreme Court upholds business owners’ religious freedom; Ashmen represents AGRM in Malaysia; fine could change how fundraisers operate; coming soon: An amazon-like shopping experience for social services; homeless most at risk of poor oral health

Street Smart: June 16, 2014

Posted: 06/16/2014
AGRM convention wraps up in St. Louis; Ashmen invited to speak at NAEH Conference; AGRM’s District Connect Groups go live; increase in minors left at border called ‘crisis’; child poverty in U.S. higher than most developed nations

Street Smart: June 2, 2014

Posted: 06/02/2014
Updates from AGRM’s 2014 Annual Convention; Strategic Initiatives Architect to focus on partnerships; door-to-door mail delivery could end for 15 million people; older Americans threatened by hunger; Millennials want products with a mission

Street Smart: May 15, 2014

Posted: 05/15/2014
Almost everyone is headed to St. Louis; task force gathers to form position on Housing First; camera on homeless man documents life on the streets; study looks at charitable-giving and volunteering rates; budget cuts result in less care for mentally ill Americans

Street Smart: May 1, 2014

Posted: 05/01/2014
Register by May 9 to avoid convention price increase; “Show Me” Sessions to help put ideas into practice; Mission executive directors: Save the dates for CEO Summit; powdered alcohol could hit stores this fall; economic recovery creates more low-wage jobs

Street Smart: April 15, 2014

Posted: 04/15/2014
Prayer will be key focus at AGRM’s annual convention; convention exhibit hall sells out; international city-mission leaders gather in Philadelphia next week; once-homeless pianist performs at Carnegie Hall; homeless people are 10 times more likely to be problem gamblers

Street Smart: April 1, 2014

Posted: 04/01/2014
Show me—what’s new at this year’s convention; additional funds available for convention scholarships; homeless man runs international business from his car; ‘God consciousness’ keeps people off drugs and alcohol; millions of American kids rely on food stamp benefits

Street Smart: March 17, 2014

Posted: 03/17/2014
Get a peek at the latest convention brochure; enter your mission’s media in the 2014 Media Innovation Competition; Invisible Neighbors heading for second printing; former rivals join in campaign to end childhood hunger; one billion worldwide at risk of extreme poverty

Street Smart: March 3, 2014

Posted: 03/03/2014
Register for convention today before rates increase; AGRM’s board of directors meets in California; ‘Homeless Jesus’ sculpture sparks controversy; nearly 4 million with mental illness to lose Medicaid coverage; working homeless people compete to increase savings

Street Smart: February 17, 2014

Posted: 02/17/2014
Last call to register for DC Forum; new speaker added to convention lineup; Seattle middle schoolers experience homelessness; childhood events tied to slow recovery from adulthood depression; many uninsured live in just 116 U.S. counties

Rescue Magazine

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Housing First Data

Rescue Magazine
Publish Date:

Rescue - Mar/Apr 2011 (Volume 25, Number 2)

Rescue Magazine
Publish Date: 7/9/2013
A Healthy Approach: How People?s City Mission?s free health clinic is closing the gap for those who can?t afford health care by Sue Rosenfeld + Caught the Vision?(pg.4) Steps of Promise: People City?s clinic helps one woman find help, hope, and healing by Sue Rosenfeld (pg.10) Breaking Chains of Destruction: A complete approach to addiction recovery combines clinical methods with the gospel message by Terri Leveton (pg.20) Urging a Shift of Power: Recovery programs must focus solely on spiritual...

Rescue - Jan/Feb 2011 (Volume 25, Number 1)

Rescue Magazine
Publish Date: 7/9/2013
Features- Fighting for Hope: How Boise Rescue Mission is helping veterans discover true freedom. by Sue Rosenfeld + Caring for Warriors (pg.4) Winning the Battle: Boise?s veterans program helps one man find hope and healing by Sue Rosenfeld (pg.10) Maturity Versus Youth: 20 Tried and True: Seeing the value of tradition and experience in mission ministry. by Herb Opalek (pg. 20) Power and Passion: Understanding the importance of enthusiasm and energy in mission work. by Sabrina Burkiewicz (pg.2...

Rescue - Nov/Dec 2010 (Volume 24, Number 6)

Rescue Magazine
Publish Date: 7/3/2011
Features: A New Chapter Addicted for 40 years, a man is now penning lines of liberty. By Sue Rosenfeld (pg.4) Hope for the Holidays- Warm and creative ways to celebrate the season. By Natalee Roth (pg.14) A Soul Fill-Up Caring for yourself so you can care for others. By Kevin Houk (pg.20) Cultivating Commitment- Smart strategies to find effective volunteers. By Jon McKee and Tom McKee (pg.32) The Heart of the Donor- Why donors choose to give to specific organizations. By Lyric Murphy (pg.39) A G...

Rescue - Sept/Oct 2010 (Volume 24, Number 5)

Rescue Magazine
Publish Date: 7/3/2011
Features: A Journey to Unity How two former addicts grew toward freedom and lasting love. By Natalee Roth (pg.4) High-Speed Contributor Connections- Use these eight strategies to reach donors via the Internet. By Dave Raley (pg.12) Building Board Bonds- Principles to help CEOs strengthen a relationship with the mission board. By John R. Frank (pg. 18) Human Resources 101- Important ways to care for ministry staff members. By Angie Braio West (pg.22) Helping the Potentially Homeless- Effective pr...

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Executive Session Blog


August 2013 

The Next Big Thing (Part 2)
By John Ashmen

Earlier this month, in Part 1, I pointed out that homelessness has worked its way into the everyday vocabulary of rescue mission leaders. It’s front and center on the stage we’re viewing. But as history has shown us, at some point, we are going to rotate past homelessness to the next big thing.

To be clear, helping people find temporary or permanent accommodations—as well as helping people who are addicted find release from bondage—will always be part of what rescue missions do (even though many of the regulations coming at us today seem to be saying that the government doesn’t want rescue missions in the crisis-sheltering business). But missions that build their future primarily around the cause of ending homelessness could be limiting their options when life starts to move on.

So what might we be moving toward?

Dr. Ray Bakke’s general session remarks at our Orlando convention play on an infinite loop in my head: The world is migrating. Those in the southern hemisphere are moving north; those in the eastern hemisphere are moving west. More than half of all mankind now lives in cities. “World cities”—those made up of hundreds of ethnic groups (i.e., countries within cities)—are increasing in number. The planet’s major metropolitan areas are becoming the catch basins for the problems plaguing humanity. The foreign mission field is no longer overseas only; it is also in our own cities.

Ever since the Orlando event, it seems that confirmations of these occurrences are continually coming across my desk. A recent NPR report told about the more than 45.2 million people who were in situations of displacement around the world as of last year. A Breitbart headline less than two weeks ago read: “Middle Eastern and North African refugees are streaming into European Union countries fleeing widespread unrest, and many may soon try to come to America.”  I saw in the New York Times one week ago that America now has about 1.5 million immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa, who differ vastly from African-Americans whose ancestors were enslaved. And if Roy Beck’s controversial immigration projections are correct, given current policies, another 300 million people will come to live in the United States in this century, doubling our current population.

With that in mind, consider what sociologists call the ethnic succession theory. It says that ethnic and racial groups moving to a new destination will likely settle in urban areas until achieving financial parity with certain economic classes already in those cities. In other words, cities are where the sojourners settle until they are stable and able to move into more desired residential areas. Then the next new ethnic group will settle in where the previous group was. The bottom line is that cities are ground zero for immigrant acclimation. And as I pointed out in the epilogue of Invisible Neighbors, most rescue missions today are not thinking about the already morphing makeup of cities in the twenty-first century, and what they might consider doing to play a major part in welcoming strangers—something else that makes the radical hospitality list in the parable of the sheep and goats in Matthew 25.

I recently came across a book by Nathanael Wolf titled The Gatekeepers (Faith Library, 2005). It further piqued my fascination with the concept of city gates. Wolf writes: “In the land of the Bible, where cities were walled for their defense, the gates were marketplaces. Because so many people had to pass through them, they were the most pro?table places to conduct business. [While visiting] the gates of old Jerusalem, I was impacted with so many powerful images. It was like taking a journey back in time. You could see resources and commodities of every imaginable sort being transported through the city gates. Flour for the bakers and leather for the cobblers were being conveyed on old wooden carts, much as they would have been thousands of years ago.

“In the Bible, city gates refer to the physical entry points where the resources and supplies ?owed into a city. When the book of Proverbs says that, ‘beside the gates leading into the city, at the entrances, [wisdom] cries aloud’ (Prov. 8:3, NIV), it now meant to me that wisdom could be found in the marketplace, the places where the resources ?owed.”

What if the missions as we know them today were to become city gate ministries of tomorrow? God has certainly placed us in the right locations to cry aloud with wisdom— to give direction to refugees and sojourners, to offer services for the poor and powerless, and to provide fellowship for the lonely and abandoned.

Maybe you are thinking that rescue missions already do this. My responses is that more and more missions are broadening their perspectives when it comes to their growing cities, but across the board, the majority have not fully embraced the idea of being their cities’ welcome centers for the strangers and strugglers who are coming and going.

Overseas, Berlin City Mission has welcome centers in all of the major train stations. When those who are lost (in every sense of the word) arrive, the mission outpost is where they can go to get their bearings and a cup of cold water. It is also where they will be encouraged and embraced with the love of Jesus.

Lighthouse Mission in Bellingham, Washington, is a progressive ministry that seems to serve with eyes wide open in this regard. Instead of having a day shelter that is just a place for street wanders to watch television, there’s is a hub of activity where 15 different agencies have set up shop. When you come in, there are no TVs drowning out conversation. You’ll find something of a U.S.O. atmosphere. Multiple board games are going on at various tables. In corners of the room, young and old have their stuffed chairs arranged in small circles, and they are engaged in conversations. Laughter sounds frequently. Children play nearby with age-appropriate toys. At the far end of the room, several traveling musicians are learning each other’s tunes on their guitars and harmonicas.

The always-staffed information counter at Lighthouse is more like a concierge desk. People are welcomed and their questions are answered. Maps and pamphlets are handed out freely. Those just arriving can learn what door or staircase to take for an eye exams or an AIDS test, to get fitted for a coat or a pair of shoes, to sign up for an English course or driver’s ed class, or to talk with a job recruiter or spiritual counselor. Radical hospitality abounds. Wisdom cries aloud. Leviticus 19:34—"The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God."—is exemplified.

Are others talking about immigration being the next big thing? World Relief recently formed a task force that has brought together 25 different Christian denominations and several nonprofit organizations to begin to instruct followers of Jesus about how to welcome strangers in a biblical manner. They are also exploring how to offer DHS training and legal services to undocumented workers. AGRM has been asked to jump into this task force. I’ve said yes.

Please do not hear me saying that you need to start moving your mission’s focus away from helping the homeless (and/or the addicted) in your community. Stay at it, but remembering my statement from Part 1: Rescue missions are not about connecting people to houses so their physical poverty can start to come to an end. We are about connecting people to a pursuing personal Savior so their spiritual and relational poverty can start to come to an end. And once that happens, the path to sustainable, self-supported living is more clearly marked and more brightly lit.

What I am saying here in Part 2 is that God may have an even bigger role for missions to play in our cities in the days ahead. We have to be attuned to the times and ready to rotate.


We Still Have a Chair for You at the CEO Summit

There is still time for you to join the crowd of CEOs registered to be in Panama City Beach for the CEO Summit, September 10–12. So far we have 60 people who will be on hand for this time of dialogue about deep issues.

Learn more about this important event, and register today!

Worldwide Forum Program Is Now in Place

April 22–24, 2014, will the first Global City Mission Network Worldwide Forum on the campus of Cairn University, near Philadelphia. Approximately 40 city mission leaders from around the world are being invited to participate and discuss what God is doing in their cities. Every delegate will be able to share his or her mission’s accomplishment, concerns, and opportunities, and participate in a universal idea exchange.

A limited number of seats—18, to be exact—are available at the table for AGRM-member CEOs. If you would like to be considered, contact Christine Matos. Invitations will go out in early September.

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Executive Session: The Next Big Thing (Part 2)

Posted: 08/15/2013
Earlier this month, in Part 1, I pointed out that homelessness has worked its way into the everyday vocabulary of rescue mission leaders. It’s front and center on the stage we’re viewing. But as history has shown us, at some point, we are going to rotate past homelessness to the next big thing. So what might we be moving toward?

Executive Session: The Next Big Thing (Part 1)

Posted: 08/01/2013
The primary assignment of an association is to be prophetic. Unquestionably, producing relevant resources and advocating on members’ behalf are essential tasks. And setting a spiritual tone for everyone connected is a fundamental charge. But prophecy is job one.

Executive Session: Coming to a Church Near You

Posted: 04/01/2013
It’s a typical suburban church building in a typical suburban neighborhood. It sits on a sometimes-busy street lined with ranch-style houses. But what’s going on these days at Redemption Church in Olathe, Kansas, is far from typical.

Executive Session: Dust in the Wind

Posted: 01/01/2013
My brother traveled to Schopfloch, Germany, to explore the hamlet of our ancestors. His tour of the medieval town brought him to the Lutheran church cemetery. When he couldn’t find any headstones for Eshelman—our family name before colonial relatives Americanized it—he asked the vicar where they might be. Gesturing like a song leader with fidgety fingers, he said, “Sie sind pulver in der brise.” Translation: They are powder in the breeze.

Executive Session: A Christmas Gift for Your Board

Posted: 12/01/2012
For this last Executive Session of the year, I decided to give you a present you can re-gift and stick under your board chair’s Christmas tree. It’s something I hope is not needed anytime soon (especially for your sake). And unfortunately, it’s something he or she might not want to accept from you at the time it is needed. My present is six “don’ts” wrapped in advice gleaned from 30 years of experience in association management.

Executive Session: Righteous or Obnoxious?

Posted: 11/01/2012
The midday sun was intense and the midtown sidewalks were crowded. Smartly dressed office workers wove their way through the onslaught of oncoming humanity in search of a quick sandwich and a brief respite from daily duties. Atop a milk crate near a crosswalk, head and shoulders above all the passersby, stood a wild-haired man in a dark wool blazer, dress shirt, and clashing tie. Sweat poured down his face as he waved a closed Bible.

Executive Session: A Sprinkling of Notes

Posted: 08/01/2012
Earlier this month, Willow Creek Association held its annual Global Leadership Summit. An estimated 160,000 church and ministry leaders attended via satellite linkup in various cities. Several antidotes and one-liners from keynote speakers hit their mark with me.

Executive Session: A Burning Passion to Serve

Posted: 07/01/2012
This issue of "Executive Session" is coming to you from a Starbucks located on Alpine Shadows View in Colorado Springs. The landscape outside the window is as black as the Grande Americano I’m sipping. Just a few blocks away, the recent Waldo Canyon fire did some of its heaviest neighborhood damage.

Executive Session: Meanwhile, in Another Part of the World

Posted: 03/01/2012
The month of March has been a blur of distant airline terminals, littered city streets, and a whole lot of unfamiliar faces. I’ve been gone more than I’ve been home. That’s never fun, but it comes with the job. But the lessons I learn on the road are particularly powerful. For this issue of Executive Session, I thought I would take a different course and share two special experiences from my March travels abroad—and the thoughts God impressed upon me.

Executive Session: They Found Dave Dead

Posted: 11/01/2011
Every night on my homeward commute, I notice more and more houses adorned with colorful blinking bulbs. With Thanksgiving now a memory but Christmas looming large, there seems to be a scramble in the neighborhoods to illuminate lawns and brighten spirits. Despite the lights and the abundance of public festivities, psychologists tell us that the end-of-year holidays yield the most depressing days of the year for far too many people.

Executive Session: Praising from the Proper Position

Posted: 09/01/2011
Nebuchadnezzar II excelled at grandiose expressions of anger, beauty, and pride. He was the unassailable king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire who destroyed Israel’s first majestic temple, built the wondrous Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and set up a nine-story image of gold on the Plain of Dura, commanding everyone to worship it.

Have You Met Your New Director?

Posted: 07/29/2011
No one can deny that we live in changing (and contentious) times. In this issue of Executive Session, I discuss the need for leaders to change with the times, or face the possibility of being replaced. Incidentally, this topic is something that will be on the table during the AGRM CEO Summit, held next month in Colorado Springs. Also in this issue of the newsletter is a list of the CEOs who have already signed up for this important event

Executive Session: Looking Global

Posted: 06/30/2011
North America is not the rest of the world, and when we compare our missions to those in other countries, it is obvious that there are many differences. But this doesn't mean we can't learn from other nations---especially from places that have already experienced cultural shifts that are most certainly coming our way...

Executive Session - One’s the Limit

Posted: 02/28/2011
With millions of people across North America falling victim to abuse, getting caught in the grip of addiction, and finding themselves on the streets, the problems of those in need can be overwhelming. Fortunately, God—knowing our energy and our empathy have limits—called us to a specific community to reach out to certain individuals.

Executive Session: Words That Wound

Posted: 01/31/2011
The Scriptures speak of the untamable tongue, which some use to praise God and others to spread corruption. This is a truth we experience every day in a continent saturated by strong and loudly voiced opinions.

Executive Session - A Gift of Words

Posted: 12/08/2010
Meaningful giving at Christmastime sometimes gets lost in frantic shopping trips, stressful schedules, and commercial holiday hype.With so great a need and so many people demanding of your time and energy, it may be extra challenging to experience this aspect of holiday joy.

Soap Box Blog

5 Worst Cities to Find Employment

Yuma, Arizona, tops list with
unemployment rate of 26.5 percent

The job market affects an individual’s ability to find a job in a chosen field. During the recession, people across the country had to accept lower-paying positions in areas outside of their niche when unemployment reached a high of 10 percent in 2009. Unemployment rates are constantly changing. From January to June of this year, the rate improved by a half of a percentage point.

According to a USA Today report, the job market in a specific city also has a direct impact on finding employment. If unemployment is high where you live, more applicants are applying for each position and competition for jobs increases. High rates of unemployment make it all the more essential for you to make yourself stand out from the pool of applicants. 

This list of some of the worst jobs markets contains markets that have consistently seen high unemployment rates and job opportunities are limited in these areas.

1. Yuma, Arizona
Yuma is Arizona's eleventh largest city and it has a population of around 94,000. The Colorado River city holds the Guinness world record for the sunniest city on earth, being sunny 91 percent of the time during daytime hours. The city has a rich history and it receives some tourism. Yuma's job market, however, is one of the worst.

In Yuma, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the unemployment rate at 26.5 percent (as of May 2014). Unemployment has seen a slight increase in Yuma, as it was slightly lower earlier in the year at 24% in April and 22.9 percent in February. The most recent Census data also indicates the median pay at $41,156, around $9,000 under the median pay for all Arizona households.

Some of the more common jobs in Yuma are farming occupations, employing around 8,500 Yuma workers, and also office and administrative support occupations, employing close to 8,700 Yuma workers.

2. El Centro, California
El Centro covers only about 11 square miles and is located about 115 miles east of San Diego. Incorporated just over 100 years ago, the city is appears to be a small community. Unemployment in the El Centro is 21.1 percent, as of May 2014. Unemployment has remained fairly stagnant at this high rate in El Centro. In January and February, unemployment rates were at 21.8 percent and 21 percent, respectively. In April, however, the rate rose to 22.8 percent.

The median household income is $41,418—around $20,000 less than the median income for all of California. Some of the highest levels of employment in El Centro are in farming occupations, sales and related occupations, education, and office and administrative support positions. Computer technology and healthcare support occupations are among the fields that employ the fewest El Centro workers.

3. Merced, California
This Central Valley city is home to around 80,000 California residents. The city indicates in publication that it has traditionally relied on the Castle Air Force Base and agribusiness for economic growth. It also houses industries like printing, fiberglass boat building, warehousing, distribution and packaging.

Education, food service, sales, office and administrative support, farming, production, and transportation occupations are among the fields with the highest levels of employment. There are fewer workers in fields like social sciences, life sciences, and computer technology.

At $38,253, Merced has a relatively low median household income when you consider the median income of all California households is $61,400. Unemployment is 12.5 percent, as of the most recent reports, which exceeds the national unemployment rate by nearly 6.5 percentage points. Unemployment in Merced was much higher during the beginning of 2014, exceeding 16 percent for the first quarter of the year. The job market does seem to be seeing some improvement, and hopefully it will continue along this road.

4. Yuba City, California
A Northern California City, Yuba's population is around 65,000. The city is also rich in history and is right near the site of the B-52 airplane crash of the 1960s. In Yuba City, the unemployment rate is 13 percent, which is lower than during the beginning of the year. In February and March, Yuba City's unemployment rate surpassed the 16 percent mark. This improvement may be short lived, however, as Yuba's unemployment fell below 14 percent in late 2013 and rose again in early 2014.

With a median household income of around $50,000, income in Yuba City is around $11,400 under the California median household income. Education, food service, sales, and office and administrative support occupations employ many of Yuba City's workers. While occupations like construction, personal care, computer technology, life and social sciences, and architecture and engineering employ smaller percentages of Yuba City workers.

5. Porterville-Visalia, California
With a population of just over 55,000, this San Joaquin Valley city has a variable climate and a lot of beauty. Unemployment in the Porterville area is 11.6 percent, as of May 2014. This is much lower than in January, when unemployment was at 15.2 percent. Porterville's unemployment rate fluctuates a great deal from month-to-month, dropping 4 whole percentage points in two short months, and rising by nearly 2 percentage points in one month.

The median household income is $42,628 in Porterville and in nearby Visalia, median income is a bit higher at $53,718. Farming, transportation, office and administrative support, sales, healthcare, and education occupations employ the largest percentages of workers in Porterville-Visalia. On the other hand, fields such as architecture, engineering, and computer technology employ only a small% of workers in this area.


5 Worst Cities to Find Employment

Posted: 07/17/2014
This list of some of the worst jobs markets contains markets that have consistently seen high unemployment rates and job opportunities are limited in these areas.

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Business Owners’ Religious Freedom

Posted: 06/30/2014
In a 5–4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 30 that owners of closely held corporations (such as family owned businesses) can object to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) controversial “contraception mandate” (Burwell v. Hobby Lobby).

Veterans with PTSD Not Receiving Therapy

Posted: 06/23/2014
Only about half of the veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder last year after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan received the recommended therapy, despite efforts by the Department of Veterans Affairs to beef up its mental health staffing.

AGRM releases position paper on HUD-driven Housing

Posted: 06/12/2014
The Association of Gospel Rescue Missions (AGRM) presents the attached perspective to help decision-makers and influencers outside the rescue mission community better understand these vital organizations. AGRM desires to clearly communicate that rescue missions are not at odds with the government’s end goal regarding homelessness.

Study highlights link between homelessness and trauma

Posted: 06/10/2014
Mothers and children currently account for a higher percentage of the nation's homeless population than at any time since the Great Depression. According to a study released last week, these families overwhelmingly share one pervasive link: homeless mothers having been physically or sexually abused.