This is review in the series ‘Christ-led charities in the news’.
Here’s the news:
As well as having its supporters, there were a number of commentators who issued warnings about the event. For instance The Gospel Coalition, The Church of Brisbane, and Murray Campbell. And Eternity magazine reported on the dispute about the theology of one of the main speakers.
They say that ‘it’s Not a Bethel church Event’, but the connections are very strong. Bethel church divides opinions. Here’s one canvass of the issues. And something on Bill Johnson, the ‘Senior Pastor’, by a well-known discernment ministry.
You can read Awakening Australia’s own post-event reports on their Facebook page.
You make up your own mind on why they did and said. I’m here to give you some information to help with your giving decision.
Awakening Australia called for donations on its website, and, post-event, even though they said that all donations would go to ‘the event’, there is still an invitation. The only way that this might be valid is if they borrowed to stage the event and donations were needed to repay those borrowings. If this is the case, one would expect an explanation.
They said it wasn’t a Bethel Church event, but they have a page on that church’s site, and donations for the event in the US go to that church:
Those attending were invited to make a pledge:
Where’s this money go?
The information on the website leaves little doubt that Awakening Australia is a charity.
The charities’ regulator, the ACNC, in their article, Donating to Legitimate Charities, gives “some things to consider to help you make sure your donation is going where it is intended”:
- Check the charity’s name
- Ask for identification from anyone seeking a donation.
- Be careful of online requests for donations.
- No tax deduction doesn’t mean the charity is not a legitimate one.
- Find out more about how the charity says it uses donations.
1. A search on the ACNC Register of charities gives no results. What this means is that ‘Awakening Australia’ is not a registered charity, and is therefore not exempted from paying income tax and is not subject to Australia’s regulatory regime for charities.
Last Wednesday I sent them a private message on Facebook. I rejoiced at the reports of sinners repenting as a result of their work and then asked them why they weren’t a registered charity. I got an immediate – no doubt automated – response but have heard nothing since.
ABN Lookup (Australian Business Register) gives an ‘Other Incorporated Entity’ in the name ‘Awakening Australia’, which is not in the format for such an entity. This organisation holds the business name ‘Awakening Australia’ though.
ASIC’s register of organisations and business names shows that the name is ‘Awakening Australia Ministries Incorporated’.
3. The “web address begins with ‘https’” and there is a “closed padlock symbol next to the web address in the address bar”, so the website is secure [the first ACNC article above]. Online donations are via PushPay, and you can read about the security of your information via the small print at the bottom of the page where you enter that information.
4. The ABN record above says that ‘Awakening Australia’ is not entitled to receive tax deductible gifts.
5. ‘Awakening Australia’ says that your donation will be used for ‘this event and its outreaches’:
There is no information on the website about reporting, financial statements, audit, accountability or transparency.
- Focus on the nature of the charity’s work, its beneficiaries and the impact the charity is having in the community.Is it clear what the charity is trying to achieve and how its activities work towards its objectives?
Would you like to spend your money, or time if volunteering, to support these objectives?