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This is a review of the charity CityLife Church Inc (CityLife). 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.)
A charity’s activities should be chosen to advance the mission. This is CityLife’s mission:
There is no description of what CityLife does under the main menu item ‘About’. Implicitly, its activities are one of more of the items in the main menu. Of these, the following seem to be about ‘raising up fervent followers’:
Presumably, some of these followers are involved in one or more of the activities under another of the items, ‘Get Involved’.
If we equate ‘ministries’ with activities, this is a list of CityLife’s activities:
CityLife does 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). To do this, we need to have discernment (e.g. Proverbs 1:5). 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 CityLife is doing may be being done ‘properly’, but unless the money is producing the change in people that CityLife intends, that is, an impact, the money would be better used elsewhere. And the same applies if the impact is less than is being achieved by another charity.
In posting ‘Stories of Transformation’ on its website, CityLife implicitly acknowledges that the impact of its activities is a relevant question for donors. Some of these stories may contain evidence that CityLife has produced followers ‘who will reach out and impact communities, cities and nations for the kingdom of God.’
But beyond these anecdotes there is no information on impact. Nor is any offered.
They did not respond to a draft of this review.
- And holds us accountable for their use (Luke 16:1-9). ↑
- See also Proverbs 14:15 and Prov 19:2. ↑
- The behaviour of its people, its use of money, and how it goes about its business. Here is our latest review that addresses some important things in this area. ↑
- 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. ↑