Crossway Baptist Church Inc.: mini-charity review

Mini-charity review of Crossway Baptist Church Inc. (CBC), an organisation that

  1. is connected, through its director John Peberdy, to the CMA Standards C0uncil, Christian Management Australia’smajor new initiative, accrediting Christian organisations against a set of standards of good governance, financial oversight, and fundraising ethics.’
  2. seeks donations online.

Is it responsive to feedback?

  • When sent, on 24 April 2017, a draft of the review written before they lodged their 2016 Annual Information Statement 2016 (AIS 2016), they…did not respond.

Is it registered?

  • Yes, as a charity.
  • CBC is a Victorian incorporated association (A0045459U).
  • It controls three other charities:
  • CBC has not registered the name it uses, Crossway.
  • As a religious body that has authority to marry people, it does not need a fundraising licence in Victoria, the only state in which it operates.

What does CBC do?

  • There isn’t one page that gives this on the website, but the ‘Senior Pastor’s Report’ in the 2016 Annual Report will give you a good idea of what CBC and its controlled entities does.

Do they share the Gospel[1]?

  • Yes

What impact are they having?

  • Nothing systematic found.
  • CBC’s mission is ‘Loving God, Loving People, Disciples that Multiply’. The 2016 Annual Report, a report on CBC and its arms, reports
    • ‘502 first time commitments’
    • ‘145 baptisms’
    • ‘Net increase in lifegroups 23’
    • ‘3 new missional community (sic)’
    • 300 pre-Christians discipled through Discovery Bible Study’
    • ’79 New Disciplers’
    • ‘794 people struggling in our community were transformed through hope, healing and care’

What do they spend outside the costs directly incurred in delivering the above impact, that is, on administration?

  • Although there is an item ‘Administration & Facility expenses’ in the profit and loss statement, ‘Depreciation’ is shown separately, and the composition of the program expenses is not given.
    • The 2016 Annual Report says that it is 23%.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • Not to CBC itself.
  • But you could if CBC sought donations for its two funds, Crossway Baptist Fellowship Fund, and Crossway CRE Fund, but it doesn’t.
  • It does however offer, on its website, tax-deductible donations to two of its charities, Crossway Kingdom Fund, and Crossway Lifecare Ltd.

Is their online giving secure?

What choices do you have in how your donation is used?

  • If you give online:
    • ‘Crossway Tithes and Offerings’
    • ‘Crossway Kingdom Fund (Tax Deductible)
    • ‘Crossway Lifecare (Tax Deductible)’
  • If you give by direct debit:
    • The last two above, plus
    • ‘General Fund (Tithes/Missions)’
    • ‘Crossway Property Fund (Refurbishment)

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (four months after their year-end)

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • Annual Information Statement 2016 (AIS 2016): No
    • Over half the figures in the ‘Comprehensive Income Statement summary’ are incorrect.
    • The activities do not relate specifically to 2016.
    • No outcomes are reported.
    • Zero for ‘Grants and donations made…’ does not match the Financial Report information.
  • Financial Report 2016: No
    • The Report excludes the entities that CBC controls. It is difficult to see how this gives a true and fair view.
    • It stretches credulity to say, as the directors do, that an organisation with $7.46 m of income and 82 employees [AIS 2016], and 1881 members and 1669 volunteers [2016 Annual Report], has ‘no users dependent on its general purpose financial statements.’ This allows them to produce the lower standard special purpose statements.
    • No explanation is given for why all the figures in the last year column for expenses are different from what was shown last year.

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • With the understanding that the Report only covers part of the church’s operations,
    • The surplus as a percentage of income has decreased from 1% to negative 8%.
    • Short-term cash assets are equal to about five months’ income.
    • Both short-term and long-term financial structure appear sound.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • He gave a ‘clean’ opinion[2].
    • But he agreed with CBC excluding the entities they control, and he agreed with them saying, effectively, that anybody needing financial information about CBC would be able to get a report tailored to their needs.

If a charity, is their page on the ACNC Register complete?

  • ‘Phone’ and ‘Email’ are blank, but this is not compulsory information.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Not shown on the website.
  • On the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’):
    • Mark Churchward
    • Edward Harrison
    • Francis Hoe
    • Kok Looi
    • Scott Pilgrim
    • Margaret Spicer
    • Dale Stephenson
    • Beth Strybosch
    • Timothy Wilson
    • John Peberdy
      • John is a director of Christian Management Advancement Ltd, an organisation that believes that
        • Christian organisations should be the standard-setters in terms of impeccable corporate behaviour.
          • The mission of their committee, the CMA Standards Council, is to ‘help build faith and trust in Christian organisations’, including by allowing organisations who are compliant with a set of standards, formed by the Council, to display the Council’s seal of approval.
    • There are 14 directorships recorded for the name ‘John Peberdy’, and 8 for ‘Timothy Wilson’.  And the register only covers charities, not all not-for-profits, and no for-profit organisations.  Therefore, if after eliminating the charities that don’t belong to the CBC director, you are left with their total being more than a handful, it would be legitimate for you to question whether their ability to discharge his fiduciary responsibilities is threatened.

To whom is CBC accountable?

  • To the ACNC.
  • And to the Victorian associations regulator.

 

 

  1. Good living and social concern are important [to the cause of evangelism], but they are not uniquely Christian graces…I’ve met a lot of fine Hindus, Muslims and atheists. Just living the life is not going to bring someone to Christ. There is much more to it than that. We must help people, certainly, but we must also share with them why we are motivated to do so. We must stand against injustice, poverty and need, but we must at the same time point to the One who brings justice and who can meet the deepest need. Until they know our reasons, how can they come to know our Lord?” [Dan Armstrong, the Fifth Gospel: The Gospel According to You, Anzea Books, pp. 13-14.
  2. To take the right amount of comfort from a ‘clean opinion’, please read here and here.

Citylife Community Care Inc: mini-charity review

Mini-charity review of Citylife Community Care Inc (CCC) an organisation that invites the public to donate to it. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

Is it responsive to feedback?

  • When sent a draft of this review, on 30 March 2017, they…did not respond.

Is it registered?

What does CCC do?

Do they share the Gospel?

  • No.
    • It describes itself as a ‘faith-based organisation’, not Christian, or Christ-centred.
      • It does say, though, that ‘Our counsellors are competent in using various trusted and proven therapeutic approaches informed by Christian principles.

What impact are they having?

  • Nothing systematic found.

What do they spend outside the costs directly incurred in delivering the above impact, that is, on administration?

  • The way the expenses are classified does not allow this calculation.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • Yes

Is their online giving secure?

  • If security is mentioned, it is after you enter your personal details.

What choices do you have in how your donation is used?

  • None.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (five and a half months after their year-end).

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • Annual Information Statement 2015 (AIS 2015): Almost – no outcomes are reported.
  • Financial Report 2015: Only if
    • You agree with the directors that CCC has no users, present or prospective who need general purpose financial statements for their decisions about CCC.
      • The directors don’t give a reason for saying that CCC is not a reporting entity, and therefore able to produce the lower standard special purpose financial statements.
    • There is no Note on related parties (an ACNC expectation).

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • Surplus as a percentage of revenue declined from 2% to 1%.
  • Working capital declined marginally, but is still strongly positive (440%).
  • Long term capital structure is sound.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • He gave a ‘clean’ opinion[2].

If a charity, is their page on the ACNC Register complete?

  • Yes

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Not shown on the website.
  • ‘Responsible Persons’ on the ACNC Register:
  • Assuming the ‘Position’ shown is correct, this number of directors is two short by the constitution.

To whom is CCC accountable?

  • To the ACNC.
  • And to the Victorian regulator of associations.
  • To Citylife Church (as a wholly-owned subsidiary).
  1. Opinions vary on whether an internet invitation qualifies as ‘fundraising’.
  2. To take the right amount of comfort from a ‘clean opinion’, please read here and here.

Gateway Baptist Church: mini-charity review

Mini charity review of Gateway Baptist Church (GBC) as an organisation that seeks donations online. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

Is it responsive to feedback?

  • They did not respond to the draft I sent on 16 February.

Is GBC registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
    • But Gateway Baptist Church Ltd is not its correct name; immediately upon registration its name was changed to Gateway Baptist Church.
    • To add to the confusion, GBC is still registered as the charity it was before the company took over its activities: Gateway Baptist Church (GBC-old)
    • Not to be confused with Gateway Baptist Church And Community Centre.
      • Especially as GBC has a fund called the Gateway Community Fund (see below).
  • GBC has two Australian wholly-owned subsidiaries
    • the charity Bloom Asia Inc. (BAInc) (registered in 2012)
    • the charity Bloom Asia Ltd (BALtd) (registered in June 2016)
      • Because GBC has not taken advantage of the ACNC’s group reporting concessions, these charities, and GBC-old, must report separately.
  • Other registrations:
    • As a public company, a company limited by guarantee.
    • GBC does not have a fundraising licence in the state, per the ACNC Register, in which it operates[1].
      • BALtd: licensed to fundraise only in Queensland.
      • BAInc: no fundraising licences.
      • GBC-old: no fundraising licences.

What does it do?

  • GBC: other than obviously being a church, there’s no direct statement saying what it does; its activities are shown here.
  • GBC-old: replaced by GBC.
  • BAInc: no website; Annual Information Statement 2015 (AIS 2015) says ‘As a Christian ministry aligned with Gateway Baptist Church, raised funds and awareness of charity work in Cambodia’. (There are no countries listed under ‘Where the Charity Operates’ on the ACNC Register.)
  • BALtd: See here.

Do they share the Gospel?

  • GBC: Yes
  • GBC-old: NA (replaced by GBC).
  • BAInc: No information available.
  • BALtd: No mention of the Gospel, Jesus or Christ on the website; tax deductibility (see below) would suggests not.

What impact are they having?

  • GBC: No information found.
  • GBC-old: No information found.
  • BAInc: No information found.
  • BALtd: No information found.

What do they spend outside the costs directly incurred in delivering the above impact, that is, on administration?

  • GBC: Even though they have been going since August 2015, the ACNC does not require any information until 30 June 2017; no financial information on the website.
  • GBC-old: Because it is a ‘basic religious charity’, no financial information has to be submitted to the ACNC.
  • BAInc: All expenses were classified as ‘Other expenses/payments’ in the AIS 2015 (no Financial Report 2015 required because of its size).
  • BALtd: Even though they have completed their first year, the ACNC does not require any information until 30 June 2017; no financial information on the website.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • GBC: No
  • GBC-old: NA (replaced by GBC).
  • BAInc: No
  • BALtd: No
  • Both GBC and BAL are able to offer tax-deductibility for ‘Bloom’ because they are collecting for a project run by Global Development Group, a secular overseas aid and development organisation.
  • But nowhere is there an explanation for their ability to offer tax-deductibility for an unregistered entity called Gateway Community Fund.

Is their online giving secure?

  • GBC: Online giving is offered for five of the six choices. All five use PayPal, so yes, giving is secure.
  • GBC-old: NA
  • BAInc: NA – not offered.
  • BALtd: For the options other than BAL, PayPal is used, so yes. The BAL option transfers to the Global Development Group site, and the page says ‘Make a secure donation now’.

What choices do you have in how your donation is used?

  • GBC:
    • General giving – Mackenzie campus
    • ‘General giving – Ormeau Campus’
    • Gateway Beyond’
    • ‘Bloom (tax-deductible)’
    • ‘Gateway Community Fund (tax-deductible)’
    • ‘Call to Build Giving’ (not an online option)
  • GBC-old: NA
  • BAInc: No website
  • BALtd:
    • Donate (Without a Tax Receipt)’
    • ‘Donate (With Tax Receipt AUS)’
    • ‘Donate (With Tax Receipt USA)’

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • GBC: Yes (none has been required yet).
  • GBC-old: Yes (five and a half months after their year-end).
  • BAInc: Yes (five and a half months after their year-end).
  • BALtd: Yes (none has been required yet).

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • GBC:
    • AIS 2015: NA – none required yet.
    • Financial Report 2015: NA – none required yet.
      • But their membership of Missions Interlink requires them to have one available, so just ask.
  • GBC-old:
    • AIS 2015: Apart from the absence of outcomes, yes.
    • Financial Report 2015: As a ‘basic religious charity’, they weren’t required to submit one. Nor financial information in the AIS.
  • BAInc:
    • AIS 2015: Not quite – no outcomes are given and the business name is missing.
    • Financial Report 2015: NA – none required (because of their small size).
  • BALtd:
    • AIS 2015: NA – because they only started in June 2016, not required yet.
    • Financial Report 2015: NA – as for the AIS.

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • GBC: NA
  • GBC-old: NA
  • BAInc: NA
  • BALtd: ‘Other Income/Receipts’ $24K, ‘Other expenses/payments’ $19K, ‘Net surplus/deficit’ $5K, ‘Net assets/liabilities’ $13K.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • GBC: NA
  • GBC-old: NA
  • BAInc: NA
  • BALtd: NA

If a charity, is their page on the ACNC Register complete?

  • GBC: No countries shown under ‘Where the Charity Operates’.
  • GBC-old: No countries shown under ‘Where the Charity Operates’, and ‘Phone’ and ‘Website’ are blank.
  • BAInc: ‘Email’, ‘Phone’, ‘Website’, and ‘Other Name(s)’ are blank.
  • BALtd: Yes

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • GBC:
    • The ‘Board of Elders’ is not shown on the website, but
    • These are the people declared to be ‘responsible persons’ (on the ACNC Register):
      • David Angell
      • Paul Bakes
        • Is it this Paul Bakes?
      • Luke Campbell
      • Anne Cock
      • David Eames
      • Jason Elsmore
      • Josha Hanna
      • Derek Peters
      • Andrew Ross
      • Trevor Shinners
        • Is it this Trevor Shinners?
  • GBC-old:
    • Not shown on the GBC website.
    • These are the people declared to be ‘responsible persons’ (on the ACNC Register):
      • All the above except the last two.
  • BAInc: From the ACNC Register:
    • David Angell (see above)
    • Derek Peters (see above)
    • Glenn Valentine
      • Is it this Glenn Valentine?
  • BALtd:
    • The ‘team’ is shown on the website, but are these the directors?
    • These are the people declared to be ‘responsible persons’ (on the ACNC Register):

To whom is the charity accountable?

  • GBC:
    • To Missions Interlink[2] via their Associate membership.
    • They are also accountable to the ACNC, and ASIC as the companies’ regulator.
  • GBC-old: To the Queensland associations regulator.
  • BAInc: To the ACNC and the Queensland associations regulator.
  • BALtd: To the ACNC, and to the companies’ regulator.

 

 

  1. The law in this area is not straightforward – is an internet invitation ‘fundraising’ for instance? – and advice varies, so check with the charity before drawing any conclusions.
  2. For one opinion on the strength of that accountability, see the section Activities in this review.

Crossculture Church of Christ Inc: mini-charity review

Mini charity review of Crossculture Church of Christ Inc (CCC) as an organisation that seeks donations online. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

Is it responsive to feedback?

  • When sent a draft of this review, they…did not respond.

Is CCC registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • Other registrations:
    • As a Victorian incorporated association (VIC A0050619R).
    • They routinely use less than their full name, thus contravening the business names legislation and, most likely, sometimes also their enabling (associations) legislation.

What do they do?

Do they share the Gospel?

  • Yes

What impact are they having?

  • No information found.
    • If they produce an annual report or review, it is not published.

What do they spend outside the costs directly incurred in delivering the above impact, that is, on administration?

  • There is no ‘Statement of Comprehensive Income’ or similar included in the Financial Report, just a ‘Statement of Income and Expenditure’ for two of the five ‘segments’ of CCC.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No

Is their online giving secure?

  • PayPal is used, so yes.
    • Online giving is only offered for the General Fund.

What choices do you have in how your donation is used?

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes. (Five months after year end.)

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2015: No
    • The financial statements are not ‘general purpose financial statements’, as stated here, but the ones produced to a lower standard, ‘special purpose financial statements’.
    • The figures for the ‘Income Statement’ are not the figures for CCC, but one of its ‘segments’.
    • There are no outcomes given.
  • Financial Report 2015: No
    • There is no mention of the two charities that they control (Crossculture School Building Fund and Crossculture Development Foundation Ltd).
    • There is no ‘Statement of Comprehensive Income’, or similar.
    • There is no ‘Statement of Changes in Equity’, or similar.
    • ‘Property, Plant & Equipment’ is not divided into classes, and buildings are not depreciated.
    • There is no ‘Responsible Persons’ Declaration’.
    • There is no audit report.
    • The Notes to the Financial statements are incomplete.
    • By any reasonable interpretation, a church with a multi-million-dollar turnover and that controls two other charities is a reporting entity, and should therefore produce financial statements that comply with all the Accounting Standards.

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • Because of the issues with the Financial Report (see above), I make no comment.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • No audit report is included in the Financial Report.

If a charity, is their page on the ACNC Register complete?

  • No.
    • Only one ‘responsible person’ is shown.
    • No constitution has been lodged.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • ‘Responsible Persons’ on the ACNC Register shows only one person, Chuang, Kong.
  • The pastors are shown here, but to what extent these people are also the committee required by the associations legislation cannot be checked because CCC has not lodged its constitution. The one ‘responsible person’ is not a pastor.

To whom is CCC accountable?

  • To Missions Interlink[1] via their Associate membership.
  • They are also accountable to the ACNC, and the Victorian associations regulator.

 

 

  1. For one opinion on the strength of that accountability, see the section Activities in this review.

Has the institutional church learnt its lesson?

You have to wonder whether the institutional church has learnt anything from its recent very public troubles when a ‘safe ministry’ office is sited off the foyer where people wait for the lift, the table at which one sits is just inside the door of their office, the door is left open in an interview, the Bishop feels free to wander in and speak to the interviewer, and the outcome is a letter that finishes by telling you that, whatever you think of the contents, the matter is closed.

What do you think?