Friday, September 13, 2013


...about those so-called para-church groups

For years I followed the ‘party line’ that para church organisations were a poor second cousin to the church. They were “para”, meaning, alongside the church, but also below and according to some even outside the church. Their members didn’t worship regularly on Sunday morning, and they didn’t have the mystical, so-called “covering” of the church. So what were they doing?


The largest missionary movement in the world today is Youth With A Mission (YWAM). Yet in 1960 when Loren Cunningham presented his vision of waves of young people spreading around the world with the Good News, his denomination refused to endorse this God-given vision. Thankfully, later they did!
So, are missionary movements, Aid Agencies like World Vision and Tear Fund, prison ministry teams, or even Christian soup kitchens less, below or even outside of the church? I hardly think so. They certainly aren’t in opposition to the church. For me now I see them as a vital part of the church, out there obeying the instructions of Matt. 25:31-46 and Matt. 28:18-20. And from a Biblical point of view I don’t see a dichotomy between the two. From Paul’s analogy of the church as a “body” one could say that missions, evangelistic or travelling ministries are the arms reaching out to lost and hurting people. “...would that make it any less a part of the body?” asks Paul, 1 Cor. 12.
Other analogies could be marriage, a sports team, a corporation.  One entity, yet very different functions and responsibilities, with everybody supporting, respecting and praying for the success of the other.
When thinking about my wrong perspective I read this, this very morning, “Ask the Lord for rain in the spring, and he will give that every field becomes a lush pasture.” Zech. 10:1. What jumped out to me was every field....” whether mega church, house church, mission group or whoever and wherever the Good News is being proclaimed in the name of Jesus. Our attitude must be, “every field will become a lush pasture.” And we need to beware of the attitude of one of Jesus’ disciples who told him, “Master, we saw someone using your name to cast out demons. We tried to stop him 
because he isn't in our group!" I think we know the generous answer of Jesus. Lu. 9:49, 50.
My wife and I serve with an organisation named, freshperspective. May God give us all a fresh perspective of the expansive heart of God and the expansive, multifarious church which is his body.
Lord heal our blindness!
Every blessing