Care: At least some of the information about this charity is no longer current. Use the ‘Search charity names’ box to see if there is a later review. If the latest review has a message like this, you are welcome to make your case for an updated review via email to email@example.com.
This is review in the series ‘Organisations accredited by the CMA Standards Council’. The CMA Standards Council is ‘a ministry of Christian Ministry Advancement’, with a mission “to help build faith and trust in Christian organisations, be they churches, charities, schools or otherwise, to enable them to achieve more effective outcomes” ‘Gateway Baptist Church’ is one of these accredited organisations.
An organisation with the same name is also an Associate of Missions Interlink, Missions Interlink being ‘the Australian network for global mission’. The review is therefore simultaneously a review in the series ‘Members of Missions Interlink.’
The ‘Gateway Baptist Church’ in the Standards Council list is an organisation that seeks donations online.
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 organisation’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 of the Register of charities shows two charities with that exact name, and another with ‘Ltd’ at the end:
2. As a church, one would not expect Gateway to use third party fundraisers. And there is nothing to suggest that they do.
3. Gateway’s web address has a ‘closed padlock symbol next to the website’s URL in the address bar’, so the website is secure [the first ACNC article above].
Pushpay is used, so your information should be secure.
4. It is a legitimate charity (or two), even though its ABN record confirms that, as a church, it does not have deductible gift recipient status.
But it’s still able to offer a tax-deductible giving option:
The link provided by Gateway goes to the website of ‘Bloom Asia’.
5. The use of your donations
Objectives / Mission / Activities
For the detail, see ‘Next Steps’ and ‘Care’ in the main menu.
Two thirds the way down here.
Sharing the Gospel?
Gateway operates in Australia, per the ACNC Register, only in Queensland.
From the Financial Report 2019 (but see below for cautions), donations were at least $4.41 million, 83% of the revenue. Plus what Bloom collected (amount unknown because they have yet to lodge their AIS 2019, but $1.38 million revenue last year).
The audited account of how donations are used is the Financial Report 2019. Do you depend on a regulator to ensure that you are provided with suitable Gateway financial statements (called general purpose financial statements)? In other words, can you ring Gateway’s office and request that they prepare financial statements that answer the question or questions you have about the charity? For an organisation that has 53 employees and 1282 volunteers (AIS 2019], runs on multiple sites, and controls another large charity, it’s highly unlikely. Yet the directors, by choosing to produce special purpose financial statements, which implicitly says that Gateway is not a ‘reporting entity’, effectively say you can.
So, the financial statements have not been drawn up to suit you. Why, then, would you rely on them?
The directors’ choice of financial statements that do not have to comply with all the Accounting Standards (special purpose statements), means that they do not need to include the balances and transactions of Bloom (that is, consolidate) in the financial statements. The statements are therefore an incomplete picture of the resources and activities controlled by the leaders of the church.
The use of special purposes statements is not a valid reason for the directors’ decision to not even mention the existence of, and their relationship with, the other two charities.
You are entitled to expect more of any organisation in which you are investing (time or money), but even more so an organisation that is held up as a standard-setter ‘in terms of impeccable corporate behaviour’, a leading light in transparency and accountability.
Since that time the ACNC Register shows that there has been no change; however, the Gateway website (the ‘Board of Elders’) show that Jason Elsmore, Nathan Manning, and Derek Peters are no longer directors.
Back to ‘Donations used’
Should you choose to rely on the statements, here is where the donations went:
This, plus $15,169 ‘Interest paid’ is the only information about where the cash went on operating activities:
Resources consumed (i.e. accrual)
The accrual section of the Report is more helpful, (with the last year’s figures in the second column):
Communication is not helped by the list being in (a) no obvious order, and (b) a mixed classification (by nature and by function).
Other than the two expenses that have Notes, no further explanation is given on the expenses:
- ‘Ministry expenses’ is unhelpful as a descriptor: the entire charity is a ‘ministry’, and the expenses of those ‘in ministry’ are shown in the first item.
- What is ‘Missions support expenses’? Donations handed on to Gateway missionaries? Travel and accommodation?
- Gateway describe their ‘Revenue’ less the expenses as ‘Results from operating activities’, meaning that all those expenses are ‘operating expenses’. Labelling $522K of those expenses as ‘Operating expenses’ is therefore unhelpful.
‘Missions expenses’ and ‘Ministry expenses’
There is no disclosure of the geographical destination of donors’ funds. Nor anything on how they ensured that money sent overseas was (a) received, and (b) used for the purpose for which it was given.
Nothing systematic found.
Number 8 of the CMA Standards Council’s ‘Nine Principles of Ministry Accountability‘ is ‘The organisation must be transparent and accountable to its stakeholders’. One of the nine ‘Standards’ that ‘fall under’ that principle is about openness and responsiveness to feedback:
There is a ‘Feedback Policy’ in the Redlands campus’ part of the website, but we presume it applies to all Gateway.
With Missions Interlink, both Members and Associates have to accept a set of standards, the introduction to which includes this statement:
We sent a draft of this review to Gateway. As usual, they did not respond.
- See here for the previous review. ↑
- Emphasis in original. ↑
- https://missionsinterlink.org.au/about/ ↑
- 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? Is the charity being transparent about its activities? [A section in the article, Donating and Volunteering]. ↑
- Because it is a registered charity and its constitution (a) prohibits the payment of directors’ fees, and (b) requires all payments to directors to be approved by the Board, Gateway is permitted to trade without the ‘Ltd/Limited’ on the end of its name. ↑
- The giving page says that ‘Unless otherwise shown, all giving goes to Gateway Baptist Church ABN 68 607 195 522.’ ↑
- From the Gateway constitution: ↑
- An annual report can be lodged on the ACNC Register, but Gateway chose not to do this. We couldn’t find an annual report via the main menu, and there is no search function, but a Google site search it under the Redlands site. ↑
- “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. ↑
- But it matches the information on the ACNC Register entry for their other charity, Bloom Asia Ltd. And why does the Gateway Annual Information Statement 2019 say that they didn’t operate overseas that year, and that no money was sent overseas? ↑
- From Objective of General Purpose Financial Reporting (SAC2), www.aasb.gov.au: ↑ ↑
- Defined in AASB 1053, www.aasb.gov.au, Appendix A:Included in their Directors’ declaration, part of the Financial Report (contradicted, I think just through carelessness, by Note 1). Note 2 is missing a similar statement, and nowhere do the directors’ say why they have decided that the normal financial statements for an entity such as this as not required. ↑
- Although this level of disclosure may be compliant with the letter of the applicable Accounting Standard ( AASB 107), it is not consistent with either the intent of the Standard and paragraphs 14 and 19, or what is reasonable to expect from a major Christ-led charity that is reporting a true and fair view. ↑