The idea of Parachurch is: to come along side of. That’s what the word means in the original language. And for years, a traditional “Parachurch Ministry” was something birthed from the church, sent out from that church, with elder oversight, depending, of course, on your church polity.
Times are a changing! I am connected to a fair number of Pastors and they will tell you (I am one of those Pastors) that many Parachurch ministries are not being sent out by the local church. In many cases the Parachurch started because the “Cause” was being neglected, hence the reason why the Parachurch was birthed to begin with.
Candidly, sometimes the “Cause” is being neglected! With most of the financial resource within the church already allocated by way of the church budget, it becomes difficult to say yes to a Parachurch ministry looking for ongoing, monthly support.
The church has to say ‘no’ to the Parachurch ministry, and those leading the “Cause” leave disappointed and sometimes even rejected. Some have begun to wonder, ‘does my church, or that church, even care about this Cause?’ The mind continues to race, ‘what are we even doing these days for “The least of these?”’
After the head tilt and head scratch by the passionate Parachurch leader, he continues with the charge because the “Cause” needs to be funded. The “Cause” needs volunteers to serve. So, the petition is taken to the church. Not formally, it is presented behind the scenes. This is not to suggest that it’s being done under the cover of darkness, not at all. Remember Parachurch ministries have leaders who are fired up about their Cause and have a conviction, to not ask everyone they know would be almost Un-Christian!
It would seem that almost overnight many of the members of the congregation you lead have been asked to support the Cause. Social Media also helps to get the message out, and remember it’s a great Cause!
And then it happens, another Parachurch ministry comes to your church, and another, and the cycle continues. What do all of these Paraministries have in common? They have a “Cause” worth supporting and that passion and conviction, along with the message, spreads throughout the congregation. It is not uncommon to have 4-7 Parachurch ministries active in the church. Remember all of them in need financial resource and volunteers . . . sound familiar?
I started off this conversation with, “is your church now competing with the Parachurch ministries?” This is a question you may need to ask.
I also want you to consider why so many Parachurch ministries seem to be visiting your church, whether you know it or not, and why many of your church members are supporting them. They are clear on the objective, “Give money, and 31 kids eat or get water.” Our younger generation loves to support “Causes,” it makes sense to them. The church, to many, is like this big machine where red tape seems to loom. Change that narrative! Here are seven things you can do to better communicate to your church about your love for them and the community.
- Get your people fired up about the “Cause of Christ”
- Celebrate what God is doing in your church. Testimonies, Wins, etc.
- Be transparent about what you do with the money given to the church
- Celebrate what ministries the church does support and make it known
- Create a budget that has more margin for reaching the community and causes
- Be a great partner to the Parachurch you do choose: it’s OK to say ‘No’
- Remind your church that members have a responsibility to give to the local church
Lastly, be blessed by the passion and love others have for causes you are unable to support. Thank them for their love and care. Offer to pray for them. Maybe you can’t do everything requested of you, however perhaps you can do something. Ask God to help you.