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ACC International Missions Ltd: their impact

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This is a review of the charity ACC International Missions Ltd (ACCIM). It uses the information they have put on the charity regulator’s website (the ACNC Register) and the information on their own website. (We also sent them a draft of this review – see their response below.)   On their website they say that they are ‘the missionary sending and support agency for the Australian Christian Churches movement’.   ACCIM don’t define what they mean by a ‘missionary’, but the range of things that they do can be seen on the page where the 47 current ‘field workers’ are listed[1]:   A charity’s activities should be chosen to advance the mission. This is ACCIM’s mission:   This is not normally how one would express a mission that included most of the activities above. That it may be a mistake is confirmed by the fact that another ‘Australian Christian Churches movement’ charity, ACC International Relief Inc (ACCIR), a charity that definitely doesn’t proselytise, has exactly the same mission.   So ACCIM’s mission remains unclear. It is not surprising then that ACCIM do not explain its thinking about the links between the activities it has chosen and what it is trying to achieve (a ‘theory of change’).   As Christians, we are required to be good stewards of the resources God has provided us (e.g. 1 Corinthians 4:2)[2]. To do this, we need to have discernment (e.g. Proverbs 1:5[3]). Therefore, unless we are giving just to make ourselves feel better, we should have an interest in seeing that the money we are giving is likely to be used both properly and effectively.   Everything that ACCIM is doing may be being done ‘properly’[4], but unless the money is producing the change in people that ACCIM intends, that is, an impact[5], the money would be better used elsewhere. And the same applies if the impact is less than is being achieved by another charity.   Impact   This (a page on the website) is ACCIM’s only explanation of what it means by impact, and the only information on impact:

  • What is reported here confirms that ACCIM is a missionary organisation, not a combined missionary and disaster relief organisation.
  • Although the impact that it seeks is unspecified, it is reasonable to think that as a missionary organisation, ACCIM is about ‘the work of the Lord’ (1 Corinthians 15:58: 16:10).
    • Most commentators interpret this as ‘what believers do to advance the gospel and to establish believers in the gospel’.
    • Therefore, although the church planting and the training should contribute to ‘the work of the Lord’ in the future, in this list of figures only the salvations are the impact that is being sought.
      • We do not know whether
        • all these churches were ‘self-governing, self-supporting, and self-propagating’ (the aim); and
        • the relationship between the training and the church planting.
  • This impact is spread across 29 countries (the same page).
  • Resources worth $3.20 million were expended to achieve an impact.

ACCIM’s responseNo comment” [Chad Irons, General Manager, ACCI Missions & Relief].

  1. This is how ACCIM summarises its activities in its ACNC Register entry (and in its Annual Information Statement (AIS) 2019 on the Register): Notice that, in addition to sharing the gospel (and all that goes with that activity), ACCIM says that it responds ‘to disasters within Australia and abroad and’ supports ‘the people and communities affected’. Or is it the case that ACCIM funds projects in addition to missionaries? The expenses (Financial Report 2019) provide some support for this:
  2. And holds us accountable for their use (Luke 16:1-9).
  3. See also Proverbs 14:15 and Prov 19:2.
  4. The behaviour of its people, its use of money, and how it goes about its business. Here is our 2018 review that addresses some important things in this area.
  5. The ACNC has previously – the Fact Sheet is no longer on the site – explained impact this way:“Every charity has a mission that is associated with producing a public benefit. As this mission is pursued, the changes produced in individuals and their communities can be referred to as the charity’s ‘impact.’ If you are donating to a charity, you may wish to make sure that your donation is creating the greatest impact possible.’ There is no reason why this wouldn’t still be their view.