1. The Association of Human Service Ministries (AHSM) Membership Agreement clearly establishes the identity of any social service organization as being wholeheartedly Free Methodist. Any member agency must agree to operate under the tenets and beliefs outlined in the Free Methodist Church USA (FMC-USA) Book of Discipline. This offers any agency the ability to serve in a Christ-centered manner despite laws and regulations that continue to promulgate acceptance and adoption of secular ideas and practices.
2. Member agencies have access to Bishops during annual meetings. This permits each organization the opportunity to provide updates and ask questions. AHSM will be represented on the FMC-USA website: www.fmcusa.org.
3. Member agencies enjoy a partnership with the Free Methodist Foundation (FMF). The FMF offers a variety of financial services to help individuals as well as organizations practice stewardship. For more information, go to their website: www.fmfoundation.org.
4. Member agencies also benefit from having access to Butterfield Memorial Foundation (BMF). BMF is a granting organization that works in Oklahoma, nationally and internationally to expand charitable whole person health care, advance spiritual care and be a voice for the unborn.
5. AHSM also seeks ways to empower organizations to hone skills, increase funds, and expand mission. Working together advances the Kingdom of God on earth. The following quote captures this idea well: “The focus of collective impact is on the relationships between the organizations and their progress toward shared objectives. The point is that organizations aiming to solve some of the complex problems facing our world shouldn’t dwell only on scaling up or spreading any single social innovation; the best organizations are networked nonprofits that drive collective impact and thus are able to achieve greater results than any one player could achieve alone.”
From Leslie R. Crutchfield and Heather McLeod Grant, Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits.
6. Members are also empowered through connection with each other. Collaboration leads to increased creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, more learning possibilities, expanded problem-solving, enhanced stakeholder relationships and greater geographical spread.
The following criteria for membership were approved on April 14, 2012, by the Board of Administration for the Free Methodist Church – USA.
- Prior to approval of membership, an agency must be recommended to the Free Methodist Church – USA by the annual conference in which it is located.
- An agency must clearly state in their articles of incorporation their affiliation and identity to the Free Methodist Church – USA, and must not make formal affiliations with any other denomination.
- An agency must commit to standards that are consistent with the principles and practices of the Book of Discipline of the Free Methodist Church – USA.
- An agency must hold non-profit status with the Internal Revenue Service.
- An agency must focus on meeting human service needs as its main purpose.
- The chair of the board and/or the senior executive of the agency shall hold membership in the Free Methodist Church. They shall actively seek to create a Free Methodist presence in the life and leadership of the agency.
- All members of the agency’s governing board shall be committed Christians of whom no less than fifty-one percent shall be members of the Free Methodist Church.
- An agency’s governing board shall be subject to the rules, regulations, and Book of Discipline of the Free Methodist Church – USA in any decisions the board may establish regarding theological and social issues, as permitted by law.
- An agency shall demonstrate both a significant involvement in the Free Methodist Church and the participation of the Free Methodist Church in its ministry.
- An agency shall conduct an annual external financial audit. For organizations with budgets of less than $300,000, an external review, signed off by two officers of the board, will suffice.
- Other criteria as may be recommended by AHSM and approved by the Board of Administration.
- Agencies applying for membership shall submit articles of incorporation and by-laws that show parameters for theology, governance, mission statement, plan of operation, personnel policies, and an annual budget for review by the Board of Administration. Agencies shall supply information that document their fulfilling the criteria for membership as listed above. The Board of Administration may consult with the officers of AHSM regarding new applicants.
- An agency seeking membership shall be approved by the Board of Administration in consultation with the president of AHSM.
- Membership is renewed annually.
- A member agency relates to the Free Methodist Church USA through the AHSM and maintains active membership through participation, reports, and payment of dues.
- A member agency shall provide two copies of its most recent external audit or review to the Board of Administration in September of each year.
- A member agency may terminate its membership in AHSM, and its recognition by the denomination, at any time. Termination will become effective upon receipt of notice by the chair of the Board of Administration. Reinstatement may be pursued through the regular application process.
Adopted at the October 21, 2005 meeting of the Free Methodist Church of North America Board of Administration, with an updated criteria for membership approved on April 14, 2012. Updated November 2020.