A Parachurch ministry is a ministry that operates outside of the confines of a traditional church. While many of these organizations have some type of connection to a church, those taking part in the ministry look at ways that they can give back to the local community and others in need in ways that a church cannot. Most are either Evangelical or Protestant. As a member of one of these organizations, you can work with others who have the same interests and passions as you to help both children and adults.
United Towards a Specific Goal
One reason these organizations is so popular is because each one units individuals and allows them to work towards one common or shared goal. Churches only have a certain amount of resources. Most look at ways to help through the use of food pantries or study groups that allow locals who do not attend that church get help. Some may let student athletes meet and greet with other athletes that have strong religious beliefs, while other groups may run websites and magazines that teach a wide range of people about the beliefs of a specific organization. According to Reverend R.A. Abell, the ability to communicate with many people at once is one of the strengths of these organizations.
Types of Organizations
There are a number of organizations that operate as Parachurch organizations, including the Campus Crusade for Christ, Youth With a Mission and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Campus Crusade for Christ is unique because it offers college students the chance to meet fellow worshipers and organize religious events on campus. Some organizations focus more on providing services to those living in a specific community. You’ll also find organizations that go out on missionary trips.
How They Help
Many of the Parachurch ministry organizations operating today help others through various forms of social services. An organization might run a food bank or pantry that lets those in a city or neighborhood get food for free. The organization is also responsible for seeking out donations from others in the community. Some operate shelters that take in the homeless and those who were victims of domestic violence. They provide those victims with a safe place to stay until a court date or until they get back on their feet. Ministry organizations can also offer counseling for drug addicts and those with certain mental disorders.
Things to Watch For
Though many of these organizations operate in connection with a specific church or religion, others operate independently. Before signing up to volunteer and help, you should make sure that the organization does everything it says it does and that it is a real organization. Organizations that constantly belittle your own thoughts or opinions and those that require that you follow a set doctrine are potential cults. Other things you can watch out for include organizations that spend more money on operating costs than helping others and those that penalize members who want to leave.
If you want to help others in ways that go beyond the help offered by your church, you should consider signing up for one of these organizations. A Parachurch ministry can include college students who want to learn more about religious teachings, college athletes committed to their faith and members of a community who want to help locals.