AGPIM was founded in 1987 to create a forum for graduate program directors and administrators to participate in collegial conversations about the education of ministers. Member institutions are currently training numerous students for roles as lay and ordained ministers of the Catholic Church. Members share common experiences and challenges, offer mutual support and dialogue, and work together to improve the state of training for ministers in the Catholic Church. Members are also able to participate in the annual member meeting, which occurs in various retreat centers throughout the United States.
Initially the vision for the organization focused on the 1986 report, Preparing Laity for Ministry: a Report on the Progress in Catholic Diocese throughout the United States. Since this first gathering at the Julie Penrose Retreat Center in Colorado Springs, CO, annual meetings have taken up a variety of topics. Several significant studies were conducted by AGPIM including A Same and Different Future: A Study of Graduate Ministry Education in Catholic Institutions of Higher Learning in the United States.
More recently AGPIM has continued to develop relationships with the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), Emerging Models of Pastoral Leadership Projectand others who are studying the shifting sands of ministry formation. AGPIM cosponsored the National Symposium on Lay Ecclesial Ministry at St. John’s School of Theology, July 31-August 3, 2007. Sixteen AGPIM-member schools were represented. One result of this important gathering was the call for national dialogue in four strategic study areas: Pathways to Ministry, Formation for Lay Ecclesial Ministry, Authorization for Lay Ecclesial Ministry and Quality of Life in the Workplace.