Parachurch organizations are Christian faith-based organizations that work outside and across denominations to engage in social welfare and evangelism. Parachurch organizations seek to come alongside the church and specialize in things that individual churches may not be able to specialize in by themselves. They often cross denominational, national, and international boundaries providing specialized services and training.
These bodies can be businesses, non-profit corporations, or private associations. Most parachurch organizations, at least those normally called parachurch, are Protestant or Evangelical. Some of these organizations cater to a defined spectrum among evangelical beliefs, but most are self-consciously interdenominational and many are ecumenical.
Roles and organizations
Parachurch organizations perform a number of roles, including:
- evangelistic crusade associations (patterned after the Billy Graham Association)
- evangelistic and discipleship ministries (such as Youth Unlimited, Youth With a Mission (YWAM), InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Scripture Union, Cru, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and The Navigators)
- music and print publishers, radio and television stations, film studios, online ministries
- study centers and institutes, schools, colleges and universities
- political and social activist groups
- welfare and social services, including homeless shelters, child care, and domestic violence, disaster relief programs, and food pantries and clothing closets, and emergency aid centers (such as the City Missions or VISUAL)
- self-help groups
- Bible study groups
- Michael J. Anthony, Introducing Christian Education: Foundations for the Twenty-first Century, Baker Academic, USA, 2001, p. 283
- Candy Gunther Brown, Mark Silk, The Future of Evangelicalism in America, Columbia University Press, USA, 2016, p. 28
- Alvin Reid, Introduction to Evangelism, B&H Publishing Group, USA, 1998, p. 81
- "About Youth Unlimited". Youth Unlimited. Retrieved 2018-02-20.
- Wesley K. Willmer, J. David Schmidt, Martyn Smith, The Prospering Parachurch: Enlarging the Boundaries of God's Kingdom