What is the biblical view of the role of parachurch organizations? How are they to be rightly understood in relation to the church? In his book, The Gospel Commission, Michael Horton writes,
“By providing support systems, parachurch organizations can help churches to stay focused on execution, but they transgress their limits when they assume the role that Christ entrusted to his church. They are not authorized to make disciples. They have no commission to proclaim the Word, to administer baptism or the Lord’s Supper, to determine faith and practice, or to exercise spiritual discipline. Whatever they do must be in service to this ministry of the church rather than as a substitute parent.” (p.209)
Think about that. What is your view of the church? And what is your view of parachurch organizations in relation to (or even in comparison to) the church? Do you think of the various parachurch organizations as the place(s) where the ‘real’ work of ministry takes place? Do you have a low view of Christ’s church when it comes to the outward & ordinary means of grace and the Commission to make disciples of all the nations?
Oddly enough, in our day it seems as if church & parachurch have drifted into each other’s lanes, so to speak. The church (as church) seeks to accomplish works of social justice and other such things, while seemingly leaving the work of making disciples to others (i.e. parachurch). Likewise often parachurch organizations seem bent on picking up the slack as it were, by drifting into the work that the church (as church) is alone truly commissioned by the Lord Jesus Christ to do.
Parachurch organizations have their rightful place, but that place is not as a substitute for the church (and vice-versa).