“There needs to be a wonderful positive complex, mutually supportive, interdependent, relationship between the local churches and [specialized/parachurch] ministries.” Tim Keller
It is my conviction that the future of the Christian movement depends on our ability to not just grasp these concepts, but to put them into action and to reengage the cultures around us with a holistic, biblical gospel. It is to live out in a contemporary setting the great truth articulated at Nicaea: “We believe in one holy, catholic and apostolic Church.” As I hope to demonstrate in this volume, such a biblical and missional perspective is difficult, if not impossible, when we cling to a limited concept of the body of Christ that says the church in its local expression is all that’s valid.The design of God, from the time of the New Testament forward, has been to work through the local church and the church in its missionary form. The church in its apostolic, missionary form is just as equally “church” as the church in its local, parish form. God never designed or intended either to do the work of the other.
Parachurch is a dirty word
The term parachurch needs to be exorcised from our vocabulary. There is really no such thing. Either we’re part of the church or we’re not. And as we’ve seen from the Bible and history…the church is not limited to its local form.George Barna notes: “There is a pervasive mind-set among many journalists, scholars, and religious leaders that all legitimate spiritual activity must flow through a local church. Even large parachurch ministries that communicate with tens of millions of people, raise hundreds of millions of dollars, and impact lives all over the world are cast as second fiddle to the local church. It is almost as if their ministry efforts are deemed subpar simply because they did not originate from a congregational context.”
Throughout church history, I think it’s clear that when modalities and sodalities have worked interdependently and cooperatively, with appropriate freedom and a clear understanding of the roles and strengths of each, there have been great advances in the progress of the gospel. In order to accomplish the mission of the church, sodalities and modalities need each other in a symbiotic relationship.