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This is a review of the organisation ‘Southside Bible Church’, principally for those who are existing ‘partners’ or who are considering becoming a ‘partner’. There is an online invitation to these ‘partners’ to give.
I sent a draft of this review to the church. They did not respond.
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 name ‘Southside Bible Church’ on the ACNC Register of charities leads to a registered charity in the name Southside Bible Church Incorporated (Southside). The website link given on the Register entry for that charity shows that it is the same organisation.
2. It would be unusual for a church to use third party collectors, and there is nothing to indicate that Southside does.
3. The website is not secure, but as there is no facility to give online, this is not an issue.
4. The Australian Business Register (linked from Southside’s ACNC Register record), says that the charity is not entitled to receive tax deductible gifts. It is, however, a legitimate charity.
This is covered by what they what they call their ‘vision’.
And, from the Annual Information Statement (AIS) 2018, here’s what they say they did in 2017-18:
Sharing the Gospel?
Southside operates in Australia, per the ACNC Register, only at 141 O’Halloran Cct, Kambah in the ACT.
Although not shown on the Register, Southside also, by virtue of its ‘Grants and donations made for use outside Australia’ [AIS 2018], operates in one or more overseas countries.
How the mission and activities translated into dollars spent
Southside’s size for reporting purposes, ‘Medium’, means that a Financial Report, complying with the ACNC legislation, is required. Southside did not comply with this, submitting only a single statement, a Profit & Loss. And this statement itself does not comply with the requirements.
With the above limitations in mind, here are the principal things that consumed the donations of $279K (with last year in the second column):
Pastor’s Stipend 205,894
Camp Expenses 15,213
(Camp Income 14,910)
Mission & Gospel 15,510
Facility Rental 10,636
Molongo Bible Church 8,409
Youth Group Camp Expense 7,543
(Youth Group Camp Income 5,514)
Office Expenses 5,570
Special Giving passed on 5,510
Although it is Pastor’s Stipend, singular, there are actually three full-time (AIS 2018) pastors. Three pastors for 50 volunteers [AIS 2018] and a Total Income of $282K.
Nothing systematic on outcomes or impact was found.
- 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?
- As associations may either be incorporated or unincorporated, Southside’s enabling legislation provides that it must use its full name when dealing with the public:The website contravenes this. (Southside does not have a business name registered.) ↑
- “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. ↑
- These are the people, from the ACNC Register, who are responsible for the accounts: Adam Chessum, Chris Davis, Dom Fiocco, Hannah Cho, Jayan Parry, Joseph Ting, Rowan Winsemius, and Shayne Weston. ↑