The Role of Parachurch
Doing church badly?
The Role of Parachurch
Definitions and origins of Parachurch
 Identify lessons learned from your own
experience of Parachurch
 Explore real-life dilemmas between Church
and Para-church in mission
 Implications for growth and development
of your own ministry situations
Definitions of Parachurch
New Shorter Oxford
‘A non-institutional church such
as a house church’
How would YOU describe it?
Definitions of Parachurch
Para (Gk) ‘Beside’ or ‘alongside church’
‘Arm of the local church’
May worship, disciple, do outreach BUT don’t practice the
traditional marks of church e.g. sacraments
Work beyond boundaries of local church/denomination.
 Local and international missions
 Minister to groups inaccessible to average congregation
 Children and Students
 Prison Ministries
 Relief Agencies
Origins of Parachurch
Viewed as recent phenomenon –
Dimension of Post WW2
Evangelicalism (see Mark Noll’s A History
of Christianity in the United States and Canada,
1992 )
USA, Canada, UK, Scandinavia and
the Continent
Born out of necessity
Initiative of those who spotted ‘gaps’
in church ministry
Often evangelistic – proclamation
by teaching
 Narrow focus – children, students,
relief work, TV/Radio
Learning from Experience:
List the kind of parachurch organisations
you have been involved in
 As a child or adult participant
 As a church or parachurch leader
In your experience, what were the
their approach to mission and discipleship?
Church/Parachurch Tensions
 Experimental practices
 Entrepreneurial leadership
which often lacks
accountability outside the
 Competition for donors
 Clash of commitment
dilemmas for volunteers
P/C Contribution to Creative Mission
Access ‘inaccessible fields’
Train leaders for the church
Creative training resources
Catalyst for vision, creativity
and motivation in mission
 Wycliffe Bible
 Jesus Film
 Tear Fund and World
Biblical Foundations?
Ralph Winter: 2 dimensions
 Synagogue-type
 Male/Female; Young/Old
 Self-perpetuating
 Missionary ‘band’ (Acts
 Mobile, experienced
 Sent out by local church
 Limited by sex/age
Creative Tension?
A Practitioner Perspective
So what????
What practical implications might the issues raised
in this discussion today have
 For
creative approaches to adult
evangelism and discipleship in your
ministry context
 For your own response to tensions
between church and parachurch
approaches to mission.
Winter, R.D., ‘The Two Structures of God’s Redemptive
Mission’ in Winter, R.D., and Hawthorne S., (eds.), Perspective on
the World Christian Movement, (Pasadena: Wm. Carey Library,
1992),pp. 45- 57. (See also Charles Kraft in ‘Dynamic
Equivalence Churches’ Missiology: An International Review, 1
No.1, (1973), p.39ff.).
Jerry White, The Church and the Parachurch: An Uneasy Marriage,
(Portland: Multnomah Press, 1983).
David, E. Fitch, The Great Giveaway: Reclaiming the Mission of the
Church from Big Business, Parachurch Organisations, Psychotherapy,
Consumer Capitalism, and other Modern Maladies. (Grand Rapids:
Baker Books, 2005.)
WK Wilner, JD Schmidt & M Smith, The Prospering Parachurch:
Enlarging the Boundaries of God’s Kingdom, (San Francisco: JosseyBass, 1998).
Nyquist, J.W., ‘Parachurch Agencies and Mission’ in Scott, A,
(Ed.) Evangelical Dictionary of World Mission, (Grand Rapids: Baker
Books, 2000).