INVESTING – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why is there no offering at LifeSwitch?
We intentionally design our experiences with unchurched people in mind. We want people with no church background to find them comfortable, helpful and fun. Given that the biggest complaint most people have about churches ’they are just after your money,’ we wanted to remove this from becoming an obstacle for those who are exploring christianity.
Yet this decision has created the most significant conversations because something so special, so powerful, so impacting happens when people approach us and ask questions like “why is there no bucket passed?”, “how does LifeSwitch generate the income required to do all it does?”, “who pays for all this?” Because when people do, and everyone with half a brain does, we can look them in the eye and say “the people around here love God and they love you so much that they are willing to give sacrificially, to invest regularly without being asked, reminded or prompted. And they do so, because they want to see people like you experience the rich, vibrant, life giving relationship with God they have. In fact they want to see other experience it so much, they are willing to carry the financial cost of it.” Then as the power of this reality hits home, as the amazement of other people living so selflessly starts to stir within them, we then add “before these people ever knew your name, before they ever saw your face, they prayed for you, they gave for you, they invested in you because they care for you and want the best for you. They have come to understand that just as Jesus was willing to lay down his life for the sake of others, true happiness, true fulfilment, true purpose comes when we too are wiling to do the same. They discovered that because they were first loved so selflessly, loved just as they were, they can now love others that same way.”
Who pays for everything?
The people of LifeSwitch do. All of our income comes from individuals and families investing financially in what we do. When you look around LifeSwitch you will see some of the most generous people in our country. This isn’t simply based on the dollar value they invest but because they intentionally invest week in, week out to honour God, to build His kingdom, to see lives changed without being asked, begged or guilted into doing so on a consistent basis.
The fact that you are even reading this now, is because people who never knew your name, you had never seen your face decided to be part of church who believed to their core that it is not about them and that there generosity coupled with Gods grace really will make a difference.
Why should I Invest?
What God desires above anything else is a relationship with people. As all relationships are built on a foundation of trust, the primary reason people are encouraged to invest is it is a clear demonstration (to themselves, to God, and to others) that their trust is in God.
A lot of people assume that investing financially is a financial decision, yet what it really is, is a trust decision. Do I trust God enough to give something so valuable, something so sort after, something so highly regarded, something so relied on in our world to God? Do I trust that God actually knows my needs? Do I trust that God will provide for my needs? Do I trust that God will values me more than the birds of the air and the flowers in the ground?
It is natural for people to place there trust in money. Because money promises everything that only God can deliver. Money promises security, peace, joy, value, hope, significance, yet only God can really deliver these things.
Rather then placing our trust in money, God wants us to be people who say “no no no no no, my trust is in God. My security, my peace, my joy, my value, my hope, my significance comes from God, not from my money.”
There are a number of reasons why people invest financially:
- People Invest to be Obedient to God -The bible makes it clear, that every christian should tithe. The practice was established well before the law was given to Moses, it was then reinforced by the law and was later endorsed by Jesus.
- People Invest because they have a Heart for People – Some people invest because they have such a heart to see other people connect with God that they are willing to invest financially to help make it happen. Nothing we do as a church would be possible without the finances available to make it happen.
- People Invest to Contribute not just Consume – Culture encourages people to always desire the benefits of things, while doing all they can to avoid the burden that comes with them. It drives people towards a consumeristic mindset rather than a contributor mindset. yet this is the opposite of what Jesus taught and Gods design for biblical community. One of the most powerful mindset shifts a person can experience is when they stop looking for what they can get and start looking at how they can give. When that shift occurs, people really do experience the truth in Jesus’s words that it is better to give than to receive.
- People Invest to Guard Themselves from Greed – A reason investing is so beneficial is because it is our strongest weapon in our fight against greed. We are told to be on guard against all types of greed, that the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Each of us has a greedy nature and a propensity towards it. In order to overcome it, to change our nature, to live free of its power over our lives, we need to apply the only known antidote – generosity. It is near on impossible to remain greedy when you live with an open hand and are continuously being generous. Generosity really does kill the stranglehold greed has on our lives and is the only way to work it out of our internal system.
- People Invest to Lead their heart – Jesus taught that it is actually possible to lead our hearts. To change the relationship we have with what is around us. In one profound sentence, Jesus highlights the strong relationship that exists between our money and our hearts. Jesus did so by simply saying “where your money is there you heart will be also.” He points out that where our money goes, our hearts will soon follow. This is seen when someone first invests financially in the stock market. They may not have ever paid any attention to it there whole life, yet once they invest financially in share they find themselves checking the financial pages of the paper daily. Or how when we all buy something new, we take such good care of it, at least initially. If you want to be more passionate about your faith, if you want to increase your heart for God and His church, invest financially, because where your money goes, your heart will soon follow.
Where does the money go?
The money is used to do all that LifeSwitch does. Like any organisation LifeSwitch pays the day to day operational costs of power, rent, insurance, staff wages, office equipment etc… Then there are the costs of everything you experience on Sunday mornings, or at Youth events on Friday nights and at other times such as – the inviting environments, vans for transport, resources for the children, music and audio visual equipment and so much more.
We are also strongly committed to practicing what we preach so we ensure that at least 10% of all our income is spent on local and international missions – including our long term commitment to the local community via Camp Survivor.
What financial checks and balances are in place?
LifeSwitch’s annual Financial Statements are professionally prepared and audited annually. This ensures we adhere to best practices concerning controls around cash handling, fraud prevention and reporting.
Is LifeSwitch a registered charity?
Yes LifeSwitch is a registered charity, accredited via the New Zealand Charities Commission. This means that when you invest in LifeSwitch you are entitled to claim tax credits from the IRD giving you a rebate of 33% of all money invested.
In order for people to do so, LifeSwitch sends out official receipts every April (as the tax year finishes 31 March) that you can attach to an IRD Tax Rebate form to claim your rebate back.
How do I invest?
Most donors make contributions via internet banking or regular Automatic Payment. The details for this are:
Bank Account Number : 06 – 0545-0014111-00
Account name: LifeSwitch Community Trust Inc
Please use your name and ‘donation’ or ‘tithe’ as the reference.
Alternatively you can give by cash at the desk in the Hub on Sundays. Or via eftpos or credit card at the cafe.