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 and national boundaries providing specialized services and training.


These bodies can be businesses, non-profit corporations, or private associations.[1] 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.[2]

In Protestant and Catholic theology parachurch organizations are termed sodality, as distinct from modality, which is the structure and organization of the local or universal church.

Roles and organizations

Main pages: List of parachurch organizations and Category:Evangelical parachurch organizations

Parachurch organizations perform a number of roles, including:[3]

Evangelical parachurch growth

Evangelical parachurch organizations proliferated as a byproduct of the fundamentalist–modernist controversy. As modernist views penetrated mainline churches, those with more fundamentalist views who elected to stay reached across denominational boundaries for opportunities for Christian fellowship and outreach.[5] While most parachurch organizations involved in social work operated in a collaborative mode, those engaged in evangelistic and discipleship ministries, particularly on college campuses, have at times been in fierce competition.[6] Seeking to resolve such issues, Campus Crusade for Christ, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, the Navigators, and Young Life signed the "Trail West Agreement", pledging mutual respect. The agreement was renewed in 2010 with thirteen additional signers as the "Chicago Agreement". according to a student's thesis from 2019.[7]

See also


  1. ^ Michael J. Anthony, Introducing Christian Education: Foundations for the Twenty-first Century, Baker Academic, US, 2001, p. 283 [ISBN missing]
  2. ^ Candy Gunther Brown, Mark Silk, The Future of Evangelicalism in America, Columbia University Press, US, 2016, p. 28 [ISBN missing]
  3. ^ Alvin Reid, Introduction to Evangelism, B&H Publishing Group, US, 1998, p. 81 [ISBN missing]
  4. ^ "About ThereforeGo Ministries (Formerly Youth Unlimited)". ThereforeGo Ministries. Retrieved 2020-12-28.
  5. ^ Carpenter, Joel A. (1997). Revive Us Again: The Reawakening of American Fundamentalism. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 240. ISBN 9780195129076. OCLC 254903603.
  6. ^ Turner, John G. (2008). Bill Bright & Campus Crusade for Christ. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press. pp. 70–75. ISBN 9781469604756. OCLC 5619183701.
  7. ^ Peach, Matthew (2019). The World Is Broken: Expanding Frame-Alignment Theory with Campus Ministries. IDEALS (PhD). University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. pp. 63, 131–132. hdl:2142/104879. Archived from the original on 15 Feb 2024.

Further reading