19 June, 2017

As Christians, our task is to be light in the darkest places. We do all that we do in service to our great God. We do it in His strength and we trust in His provision. We love people and we long to see them living full and purposeful lives.

If you saw the story aired last night on Channel 7’s Sunday Night program “Show Me the Money”, I hope you were as appalled by the culture of greed, shaming and hedonism promoted by the company featured as we were. It reeks of a cult-like worship of Mammon. The god of money. It is precisely the attitude and behaviour that we are warned about by Jesus in Matthew 6:24 when he says “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

We serve God. When we understand that everything we have is from God, we can put these resources to work to serve others instead of serving ourselves. At ADRA, we put money to use to teach women to read and write, to improve health and hygiene practices and prevent the spread of disease, to care for victims of violence, to train farmers in sustainable agricultural practices, and more. We invite people to contribute the resources God has given them – particularly during this crucial end-of-financial-year period – to seek justice and be merciful to people in need in Australia and around the world.

Our attitude toward money guides us in how we raise funds to conduct this work. ADRA Australia has never used contract fundraisers and does not engage in face-to-face regular giving donor acquisition. ADRA has never worked with any of the agencies mentioned in Channel 7’s Sunday Night program, or any other such agencies. Many years ago, we determined that such approaches did not align with our values.

We must acknowledge however that fundraising does have costs. It requires effort, diligence, wisdom and resourcefulness. At ADRA we invest around $3.50 from every $100 donated into raising more funds and we know that the more we invest, the more we are likely to raise. How we spend funds donated is outlined in our Annual Report. We explicitly reject deceitful, manipulative tactics and although we don’t always get it right, we strive to be precise, transparent and efficient as we balance the needs of donors and beneficiaries. We also only ever engage volunteer collectors for our annual ADRA ‘Knocktober’ Appeal, most of whom are members of the Adventist Church.

The truth is that the only way to make the world a better place is through love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. When we truly understand this and put it into practice, we will see that darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that[1].

[1] Martin Luther King Jr