Parachurch vs Church: A False Dichotomy

The popular definition of a parachurch group is any non-church based Christian entity or ministry. The simple fact that we use such a defined term indicates a misunderstanding of the biblical concept of the church.

The biblical ekklesia always describes a people and never a building, place, denomination or specific group of Christians to the exclusion of other Christians. It doesn’t matter where people are gathered together for ministry or what corporate structure they take on, they are still “the church,” God’s called out people ministering in the name of Jesus.

I ask, how can a group like Campus Crusade or YWAM be a non-church ministry? If they are followers of Jesus, its impossible! They are part of the ekklesia as much as some ministry that is part of a local faith community. As long as we continue to make this false dichotomy, we will continue to hear divisive statements like:

  • Parachurch organizations should strengthen churches, not detract/distract from them. (Sorry, but God’s called out people can’t detract/distract from themselves in the way implied by such a statement. It is a contradiction.)
  • Parachurch organizations address needs not being met by the church. (Sorry, when a group of Christians come together to address a need or minister to a group, that IS the church meeting the need.)

Ralph Winter talks about how God has expanded his Kingdom through two basic structures, the church as “modality” and “sodality.” (For more on this, see “The Two Structures of God’s Redemptive Mission” by Ralph D. Winter.)

“Modality” is the continuing long-term nature and structure of the church expressed in the local congregations in which there is no distinction of sex or age. As Alec Hill observes, “Multi-generational and geographically limited, a congregation puts down its roots and makes a long-term commitment to its community.”

The second structure, “sodality,” concentrates on one or more specific aspects of the mission of God such as reaching one specific people group, translating the Bible into other languages, or working with youth. In this structure, “membership involves an adult second decision beyond modality membership” and is often limited by some criteria such as age or sex.

Another way of describing this might be to say that some expressions of the church have a narrow ministry focus (sodality) and others have a broad ministry focus (modality). Each needs the other and each is a part of the whole. We should honor and respect what God is doing through his people regardless of the label we put on it.

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67 Responses to “Parachurch vs Church: A False Dichotomy”

  1. Alan Knox says:

    This is a great post! I believe that you are corrent in that our understanding of church vs. para-church stems from a faulty definition of “ekklesia”. I think the term “ekklesia” is a term that should bring togehter the community of God, not a term to seperate God’s people into mutually exclusive groups. Thank you for this post!

    -Alan

    • Mark says:

      A believer or a group of believers functioning together for a common purpose or goal doesn’t make them a church. A Biblical Church sore authority is the Bible and the focus and end is Christ and His Will for it. The will and design for the Church is in the Bible and has filled volumes of books to describe. No para-church ever has said it is filling this focus and mission. A parachurch organization is similar to a ministry of a church with a specific focus on a ideal, goal, plan etc, but not willing to come under it’s authority. The question and problem is why don’t all parachurch organizations come under the Authoriy of a Local Bible Believing Church. Here are a couple reasons why parachurch organizations don’t 1.) The church doesn’t care for the vision of an individual and doesn’t support and encourage the desire he or she may have 2.) A church may have not have the resources to support a certain goal or mission etc. 3.) To much red tape involved, it takes to much to gather together all the decision makers before making a decision. 4,) Local churches become to independent, separate and do not desire any sense of working together for common goals. I’m sure there are others as well.

      • Rick Meigs says:

        Mark, thanks for posting and I understand your line of argument. But it relies on the English definition of church, not the NT definition. The church is not an institution or organization, it is the ekklesia — the people of God, wherever you find them.

  2. Well said! Thanks for the shout out.

    Peace,
    Jamie

  3. Jerry says:

    Excellent post rick!

  4. Rick Meigs says:

    Alan: I agree that the terms and definitions we use should bring unity and not separation. I believe a faulty definition of “church” is at the root of many issues we face.

  5. Rick Meigs says:

    Jamie and Jerry: Thanks guys.

  6. Shannon says:

    I love this post because if I may be honest, being a pastor of a group of people which meet in a “building” I had begun thinking that there was a hard line division between Para-churches and “fixed” churches. Fixed meaning those that meet in a said place every week. I’m glad to hear someone say that it doesn’t matter, we’re all part of the Church and should all be contributing to the overall work of the Kingdom. Thanks for this post Rick!

  7. Webb Kline says:

    Right-on, bro! As one who has found my church family with members of a ‘para” church organization (sheesh, I’ve always hated that term), I feel vindicated.

    I went back to an institutional church for a couple of years and served there until last August when my wife and I finally realized that our work there was an exercise in futility, and that it was distracting us from much more important things we were doing with our mission work. Not surprisingly, the first Sunday morning outside of traditional church, Stacey led someone to the Lord at the hospital.

    The ministry we work with is unquestionably our church family. I love those folks, and we have such a bond because of the passion we share for our mission work. Yet, people still look shocked when I tell them that we no longer attend a traditional church. They just don’t get it, and we always feel like they feel that we’ve backslidden or something.

    • Zemario sheppard says:

      what about your tithes? what about accountability, or things being done decent and in order? i don’t know what is up with this whole “para church” “church” thing, but reading these comments it seems like it’s defensive. yes the church is the body of Christ, but it is also the building where you commune with other believers known as a church.
      we need to have elders and everything that comes along with ” Institutional Church.”
      When Paul set up the churches he set them up WITH Elders, Bishops, church leaders etc. if the Lord didn’t intend it that way it would have been like that from the beginning. just because your a member of a church does not limit you geographically or other wise, Because we are the body of Christ. you can still take your ministry out different limitless places but not as loose cannons but attached to a body with a leading authority. yes God is THE leading authority, but He places A leading authority to lead & guide us. Submission is what we need.
      this seems like a way for satan to divide the church, and i see much prayer is needed.

  8. Rick Meigs says:

    Shannon: I always enjoy your insights. And let me tell you how much I bless you for being a pastor. It is a noble task!

  9. Rick Meigs says:

    Webb: Thanks for sharing your story. Is there anything within the traditional church that you miss or feel is missing in your current church experience? Just curious.

  10. Webb Kline says:

    Not a thing, Rick. Of course music plays a major role in our ministry, so if I wasn’t a musician, I might say that I missed the music. But we have everything else and much more really. This is really the first time in my 51 years I can honestly say that I feel as though I am doing my life’s work; that is, what God has created me for. If I died tomorrow, I know that others are already carrying out work that I have started and that what I’ve done would not be in vain. I may not have much in earthly treasures, but what more could I want? What could trad-church add to that? I’m blessed.

  11. Rick Meigs says:

    Thanks Webb!

  12. Rich Schmidt says:

    While the definition you give for parachurch is a lousy one (a “non-church” ministry), that doesn’t mean that church/parachurch distinctions are invalid or useless. Just that we need to define or describe the distinctions differently. That’s what you seem to be getting at with the modality/sodality language at the end.

    From my perspective, a better definition might be that a parachurch ministry is an entity or ministry that unites Christians from many different churches (congregations?) for a particular ministry purpose. Youth for Christ is an easy example. Volunteers and staff may come from and maintain connections with many different local churches, but they join together for the common cause of connecting with teens, helping them find Jesus, and helping them grow in the faith. This typically includes helping them find a “church home” beyond their involvement in YFC.

    So it’s the church working together beyond the typical boundaries of their local congregations for a particular ministry purpose.

    When I think “parachurch ministries” my brain doesn’t typically jump to individual-focused ministries (like traveling evangelists, music ministers, etc), though I guess that’s the category they tend to fall under, too…

    It’s all “the church” at work…

  13. Rich Schmidt says:

    I don’t mean to say that the lousy definition of “parachurch” originated with you… just that it was the one you shared at the beginning of the blog post. Sorry for any confusion my poor word choices may have caused. :)

  14. brad says:

    rick,

    thanks for this one. its going to create some conversations in my community:)

    brad

  15. Rick Meigs says:

    Thanks Rich for sharing. I’m not sure making the distinctions has much value and it is the basis for a lot of poor theology concerning the church. Yet I do understand the did man has for putting labels on things. Using the term Parachurch may be such a case.

  16. Rick Meigs says:

    Brad: Thanks for commenting and I hope it does create some healthy discussion.

  17. Webb Kline says:

    Actually, if you think about it, the terms would better be reversed if they are to exist. I won’t define. I’ll just throw that one out there. ;)

  18. John Lunt says:

    I never liked the whole “parachurch” thing. I’ve never accepted that a “parachurch” ministry is anything less than the church.

    Frankly, I’d rather hang with a bunch of YWAM folks who are doing something than a “local congregation” that spends most of their “spiritual time” sitting on a pew.

    One thing Jesus said was “On this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” The “parachurch” guys are rattling the gates of hell, while most local congregations aren’t even in the fight.

    Well that’s my experience anyway.

    I love the local congregation, I desire it to be what Jesus intended it to be. But a lot of guys, myself included get tired of waiting for things to changes.

    I agree with the assessment. There is no parachurch. What we call parachurch is the church, maybe with just a little different mind set and focus.

    • Tim says:

      I do believe Jesus’s apostles never created a “parachurch” (or the like terms). Christ is the head of the church, not the “parachurch”. That’s one difference.

      What we call “parachurch” is NOT EVEN CLOSE TO being a church. it’s just a ministry or movement. God gave apostles, prophets, and teachers to the CHURCH (Ephesians 4:28). There was NEVER an apostle in a parachurch. That’s another difference.

  19. Rich Schmidt says:

    We’re already sloppy with the way we use the word “church,” not just in this case. A parachurch ministry is certainly “the church” at work, but is it “a church”? Those are two different ways to use the word. Never mind the whole “going to church” or “clean the church” ways of thinking of church as a building or place.

    When Paul and his team traveled from city to city, were they “a church”? I don’t think the terms is ever used that way in the Bible. They were certainly part of “the church,” sent out by “a church” (in Antioch), but they weren’t “a church” in and of themselves, even if there were “two or three” of them gathered in Christ’s name, doing the mission together. At least, the Bible doesn’t seem to describe them as such.

    In our town, a group of us pastors have been working together and thinking of ways we can function as “the church of Valparaiso” instead of “the churches of Valparaiso.” It helps us think of “church” more broadly, though I’d say biblically and practically there’s still much value in applying the “church” label to particular gatherings (”the church that meets in her home”) and not just the broader whole.

    I’m not disagreeing with your main point here, Rick. At least, I don’t think I am. :) A parachurch ministry is part of the church. It’s not “non-church.” But most of them haven’t considered themselves “a church,” though I suppose they could function as churches if they wanted to, and many of them already do.

    • Tim says:

      Let’s just be clear with the fact that the word “parachurch” or the like does the work of a church–which God has not clearly instructed that group of people to do so…

  20. Ari says:

    good post rick :)

    Rich - let me give you an example and then ask a question - there’s a group of 20-somethings in a college student/young adult “ministry” who “do church” on Sundays in a pretty typical way (worship, teaching, discussion, etc) but their community is primarily externally focused so they do a lot in the community and for the causes of justice world wide. in fact, those things consume most of their resources. Would you say that they need to be part of “a church” that is more “a church” in the traditional sense - a church that is more defined by modality?

    this is where the rubber meets the road in my estimation. Many people would agree that a parachurch isn’t less of “the church” but most churches I know would frown upon a group of people who participate in a parachurch situation and don’t also attend a “regular church”.

    • Tim says:

      A church is not just a congregation or a group of people “doing church”. It is also a system. Read Ephesians 4:28

      And God hath set some in the church, first apostles , secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

      The church is a community of people saved by grace through faith in Christ, and is also a system with ELDERS.

      And the church gather not for evangelism, but for spiritual building up (Jude 1:20). “Parachurches” don’t do such a thing. They help churches–which Christ did not CLEARLY authorize.

  21. Rich Schmidt says:

    Ari,

    What makes that group a “parachurch” group at all? It just sounds like a church made up of young people to me. Being externally focused just means they’re doing a good job of it. :)

    There are plenty of church plants in the USA right now that are made up almost entirely of people in their 20’s, and they self-identify as churches. What makes this group you’re describing any different?

    I’m not really familiar with the modality/sodality language, so I hope I’ve answered your question.

  22. Christian says:

    Good thoughts from everyone. A couple of months I left my job doing what many people would consider church-based youth ministry, and went to a ministry that is not in a church building. At first I described it to people as a parachurch, but a couple of weeks ago I realized that the term doesn’t do us justice. In our neighborhood we are more “church” than most of the churches. Not that we are doing everything right or reinventing the wheel, but there is something to be said for a holistic youth ministry that is able to invest in kids in several different areas. I look forward to clarifying my definitions over the next couple of days.

    • Tim says:

      what makes you think yours is a church? Are you simply comparing your group from the others? or from the Bible?

  23. Rick Meigs says:

    Rich: I understand exactly what you are saying and agree that most groups that are labeled as parachurch (sodality) are not “a church” (modality). That is not always the case and I believe we are seeing a increasing number of groups that are blurring the lines, which personally I think is great!

  24. Webb Kline says:

    I think the worst part of the dichotomy is that it makes it too easy to throw money at a mission rather than a church getting involved with it personally. With no more passion involved than writing a check, even the checks will be small. I believe that all churches should determine the mission agency or “para-church” ministry that it feels God wants them to work with, and then the church should throw itself into the mission in every way that it can.

    Besides, what really does define church?

    I believe that our mission agency is clearly church. Even though it is widespread enough by now that I have not personally met everyone involved, I have talked with many on the internet and phone. We have a common purpose and vision and there is a kindred kind of bond that exists because of it. When we do have the opportunity to meet each other, there is a kindred sense of love and fellowship that has eluded me in many churches I’ve attended. Is this any different than attending a large church where you never get to meet everyone? It’s better in a way because you know that everyone in the mission is living his or her life serving God.

    I’m not saying this to deride the local church, but I do feel that the local church misses many opportunities to do great things for the Kingdom by limiting there involvement with specialized inter-church ministries to writing checks to them. The dichotomy depersonalizes these ministries and that diminishes not only their relevance to the local church, but their mission as well.

    Letting the blurring of the imaginary lines begin! ;-)

    • Tim says:

      I don’t think you have really defined what the church is, and what the church does when it gathers. Because this is what makes it different from a para-church

  25. Shannon says:

    Webb Kline,

    Well put!

  26. Rich Schmidt says:

    Webb, I don’t think the church/parachurch distinction is what limits people’s involvement in mission activity. I’m a pastor, so I see first-hand that people live out their Christian mission in different ways. Some are highly involved through service, through giving, or both. And this can be funneled into local-church-related ministries, parachurch/secular organizations, neither, or both.

    Maybe there are churches out there who are “limiting their involvement with specialized inter-church ministries to writing checks to them,” but we’re not one of them. In fact, I don’t think I know a church that doesn’t have people in it who are volunteering “outside the church.”

    Just responding from the other side… :)

  27. John Lunt says:

    Rich
    I don’t think the question is whether most churches have people volunteering in some capacity outside the church. I think the question is what percentage.

    In my local churches I would have been part of that group volunteering outside the local church and I suspect Webb was as well. Frankly, I quit worrying about working with the local church, it was a major waste of time and I don’t have the time or the energy to handle it or the frustration.

    This of course is not every local church. A few get it. But not many. If the local church is doing a good job, then why is the church losing ground in our society? We have failed to be salt and light.

    I love the church, I want it engaged. That’s not going to happen until Pastors get it and make it a priority.

    • Tim says:

      This still DOES NOT justify parachurches. What would the apostles have done if they were on your side?

  28. Webb Kline says:

    I echo John’s thoughts. When I was part of an organized church, including as a leader, there were tons of activity traps, but too many of them were mere aversions from doing real, purposeful ministry. I simply didn’t have the time to waste on unproductive ministry when there is so much need out there. When I assessed my pastoral duties and obligations, it was a real eye-opener. I knew it was time to get out. Man, am I glad I did!

    But, that’s just me…

    • Tim says:

      Zeal without knowledge is dangerous (Proverbs 19:2)
      (no offense)

      Why be involved in a “para-church” created by man MORE THAN a church created by Jesus Christ?

  29. Andrew says:

    Regarding comments relating to mission organisations - I think it is interesting how much more church-like short term mission teams can be than the local church. The sense of community that develops while on foreign ground (not to mention reliance upon God) can be amazing. I would love to be able to capture this same spirit of interdependance in the local church setting.

    Another way of I have heard of describing modality and sodality - Modality is like the General Practioner (family MD) while sodality is like the Specialist, dealing with special needs.

    Andrew

  30. Rick Meigs says:

    The individuals on the short-term teams I have been on are thrown together in an environment that doesn’t have the normal structures that we can count on, so we are forced to depend on each other and God far more than we would otherwise. A band of brothers if you would that has a great spirit of interdependence. At least that has been my experience.

    I like that description of modality and sodality Andrew.

  31. Shane says:

    Amen and Amen again. And this coming from a National Director in the US Campus Ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ in the US. The fact that we have not recognized this yet is tied to perception, donors and poor understanding of church. However, I think they had to invent this concept in 1950 in order for the church to figure out where to put Bill Bright and others. However, it is time for this to fade away. Thanks for this post.

  32. Rick Meigs says:

    Shane: Thanks for dropping in and leaving a comment. It has been a good conversation and your insight is most welcome. I do believe you are correct in the “church” struggling in the 50’s with what to do with people. Time to move on now though.

  33. If we are going to look at what ekklesia means, then it means congregation. The New Testament doesn’t envisage a church that doesn’t congregate.
    Thus, when the New testament uses the word ‘ekklesia’ it means either the local congregation, or the universal church (that will one day congregate eternally). Thus we do not want to talk about YWAM, Campus Crusade, the Southern Baptist Convention, or any other parachurch oragnisation as being a church.

    I’ve blogged about the relationship between Church & Parachurch (particularly on Campus) here:

  34. Rick Meigs says:

    Mike, thanks for stopping in and commenting. Your thoughts will always be welcome.

    So YWAM is not a group of Jesus followers coming together (congregate) to fulfill God’s purpose?

  35. [...] You can read my thoughts at Parachurch vs Church: A False Dichotomy. [...]

  36. daniel so says:

    Rick - Thanks for sharing these great thoughts. I’m sorry for jumping in so late here — I just came across your blog through (e)mergent Voyageurs and was compelled to comment here.

    My wife and were both very involved in our campus parachurch ministries (Campus Crusade and InterVarsity) during our college years, and have since been in full-time vocational ministry in the Presbyterian church for the past ten years (plus a couple of years during seminary). You have given voice to many of the thoughts & questions with which we have been grappling of late.

    I will be linking back to this post — I’ve been kicking around some ideas regarding this false dichotomy, and this provides a great frame of reference. Thanks, again!

  37. Rick Meigs says:

    Daniel: Thanks for commenting. Look forward to reading your post on the issue.

  38. Justin says:

    Thanks for this comment. I agree with you on most points, however, maybe you are misunderstanding what organizations like YWAM and Campus Crusades are promoting. I believe organazations like this are apart of “The Church” and I also believe if you asked them, they would say the same thing. When they define themselves as a “non-church” organization, it is only because of modern language limitations. The “popular” understanding of the word “church” is a denomination or something more specific. You have the right concept of church and I believe organizations like this do as well, it’s the “Secular” community that needs to be educated. This explanation of “Church” that you give needs to be shared with the”Secular” community for sure. I think more damage might be done to the goal of “ekklesia” if we target groups like this and say they have it wrong. Again, I believe they are only using terms like “non-church” to emphasize to the popular audience that they are not affiliated with one denomination and in fact are loyal only to “Christ”, (the head of the Church). I believe you to have the same views as Campus Crusades and YWAM.

  39. Rick Meigs says:

    Justin: Thanks you so much for your comments and insights. While I do agree with much of what you say, I’m afraid that it is not just the “secular” world who misunderstands the real mealing of the word “church.” The average Jesus follower little comprehension of the biblical meanings of term as evidenced by its consistent misuse.

  40. Pat Brauninger says:

    I agree w/ your basic premise. What do you think of the practice of being part of a “parachurch” org. but rejecting the “gathering of believers” to worship? i.e. church services and a pastor who leads. I think there’s a danger of slowly getting more and more off-base and sliding into becoming a cult. I have a friend who thinks going to church is “optional”. The passage of scripture that actually says “do not neglect the gathering of believers” is explained away with a comment like “I gather - it’s just a very small gathering”. (like two people).

    • Tim says:

      I agree

      • allan says:

        dont blame the parachurch…

        think about the local church.
        maybe the local church is so dull, shallow preaching of God’s word and no direction…
        thats why that friend doesnt want to go to church.

  41. sid says:

    It seems to me as an interesting chat. Please let us not think church happens in the building. It can happen anywhere as long as believers are together and someone must be there teach me to observe want they have been tought.

    If I think I need no one to teach me, I will descive myself.

  42. The local church setup is outlined in scripture, complete with offices, qualifications for such and mission. A parachurch can not copy that biblical pattern. Paul and company preached the Gospel and set up churches wherever they went.

    The church seems to foster parachurches because it neglects the office and ministry of the evangelist.

    When a parachurch forms around evangelism, the church loses the unrestricted ministry of the Biblical evangelist. Most parachurch organizations are not going to lose funds by pointing out serious doctrinal error. Instead, they go for the softer, interdenominational stance and thus water down their ministry to the saints. They are left with creating new spiritual babies that are thrown to whatever Christian church finds them on their doorstep.

    The parachurch group sometimes yields to the temptation of elitism, feeling like “we do it Jesus’ way” while the cowardly church hides behind the doors.

    The truth is that an evangelist should be in the church and train others in evangelism since that is his gift. Parachurch is unbiblical and I dare say, even anti-church, albeit unknowingly/unwillingly.

  43. Cody says:

    Actually Dennis,

    Paul set up churches, which were part of the Church. The Church fosters parachurches because they are part of it, not a separate existence.

    I agree with half of your last statement, and whole heartedly disagree with the other. The reality is that the members of parachurch organizations are 99% of the time involved in their local bodies, training others around them. So, its not that they are opposed. They are doing both.

    You can’t seriously believe that Campus Crusade for Christ, Navigators, etc. arose outside of God’s plan and desire. And I think you’ll find that these organizations and others do take some hard lines doctrinally, and are not afraid to do so. And once someone accepts Christ under their ministry, they make it a point to disciple that spiritual baby and help to integrate them into what- the local body.

    • Tim says:

      Paul set up churches which were NOT part of another church (2 churches)

      Did God even authorize training new believers OUTSIDE the context of the church? It’s the church’s job to do so, to the point that that new believer becomes “his/her disciple” instead of “God’s disciple”–and God’s disciple ALONE.

  44. [...] to look to a Biblical model of the church that in no way separates local church life and mission. Rick Meig calls the seperation of church life and mission a false dichotomy; he [...]

  45. John Austin says:

    If you fail to make a distinction between the universal church and the local church your in trouble and confusion will fallow. God only ordains the local church. Para church organisation are exactly that. God only uses them cause the word channels through them, but he never ordains them and they often become destractions for people and idols. Its all the outercourt ministry we need to get back to basics. You will find no para church groups in the new tetament. The early church was the blue print for us to emulate not recreate.

    • Tim says:

      the para-church is not THE local church. The Word channels NOT ONLY through the para-churches. And where in the Bible does it clearly say that God uses para-churches?

      You need to get back to the basics. You need to distinguish “para-church” from “church” (universal and local)….

      Although you’re right that para-churches are not found in the New Testament. I agree…

  46. Isaac says:

    Greetings Rick,

    Thanks for the post. I agree with you in principle; however, I would like to make two key points. The word “para” simply means: to work alongside. This is why the Holy Spirit is referred to as the “paraclete” by Christ—implying that the Holy Spirit, would work along-side, or be a help-side, to believers.

    The ekklesia, is the ‘church’ of God. However, the ‘ekklesia’ also has structure, form, and intended purpose at times of gathering (its purpose it to teach, edify, and exhort, within given parameters and ekklesiastical structures and duties—elders, deacons, offerings, discipline, etc). However, the objective mission of the para-church agency (which does not have ekklesiastical structure and or duty) is more so an on offshoot, through which believers of given local churches can work together to further the Kingdom (the church in action, but not ‘a’ church).

  47. [...] the umbrella of the universal Church and therefore one does not have priority over the other, as one blogger argues.  As well meaning as this view is, however, it is mistaken and ultimately rooted in a narrow [...]

  48. wlins says:

    1. Is a mission board a para-ministry?
    2. Was it not the “Church” that authorized the missionary endeavor of Paul?
    3. The apostles established local churches in communities. Never a para-ministry.
    4. Why are para-ministries established? Is the local New Testament church NOT fulfilling the Great Commission?
    5. Should it not be the local church that creates and authorizes specific “outlier” organizations as extra “arms” of the local church to focus on specific populations, iinstead of individuals or small bands of “renegades” that create organizations, such as Youth for Christ?
    6. Should Christian coalitions be sanctioned outside of the local church’s authority?
    7. Why are individuals leaving the local church to establish businesses that are separate outreach ministries from the church?

  49. brent says:

    I’ve been in churches and I’ve been in YWAM and YFC etc etc.

    Those para-church groups are not churches. How do I know? I’ve been in both.

    Yes they are reaching people but they are evangelistic only, there is no pastoral function of these groups to groups of Christians at all. There is no Apostolic function, there is teaching but no real prophetic direction. New converts do not join YWAM, they join a local church where they can hopefully use what they learned in the local church. You do not go to YWAM and then stay with YWAM as your covering as an ordinary believer because YWAM is not capable of shepherding the converts or it becomes a church on it’s own. It is not therefore a church so it is a para-church and operates outside the church.

    YWAM fulfills a need but only because 99% of churches do not operate as they should be anyway, neccesitating the need for para-church organisations but that is not the Biblical model at all.

    I found the leadership of YWAM, confused, controlling, and confused. I’m not talking about their passion, just the structure. Most churches structure is no better because they vote pastors in which is unbiblical and discounts that church as being a true church because the head is rotton (not the man but the mandate)