In my last post, I talked about parachurch ministries as a type of Protestant grout. Think of a beautiful tiled masterpiece of arranged glass and colored ceramic. For all the beauty, you won’t notice the grout that fills the space between the tiles. However, you’d notice the grout’s absence if it wasn’t there. Parachurch ministries aren’t necessary to the work of the church and should never compete with the church. The church doesn’t need them to exist or to carry out the Great Commission. But parachurch ministries, when they act as servants of the church and not as the church, edify, connect, and strengthen local churches.
In my last post, I focused on how parachurch ministries could unify Reformed churches around primary doctrines. For better or for worse, we typically observe such attempts at unity in blogs, conferences, and online discourse. But parachurch ministries edify local churches through far more avenues than the ones we see on stages or online. Consider a few others.
Book and Tract Publishing
Christians are not only a people of the Book, but they are people who study books. Christian publishing is a robust industry. And, when we look at what books sell on Christian charts, it is apparent that the Christian reading public lacks the discernment to choose edifying Christian literature. As much as pastors must train their congregations to read with discernment, there is also space for theologically sound Christians to form Christian publishing houses that are reputable and trustworthy in the materials they produce.
But focusing on Christian literature for Christians isn’t the only place for parachurch ministries to assist the local church. There is also the publishing of tracts—short print explanations of the gospel. When someone who is not yet a Christian is interested in finding out more about Christianity, they aren’t always willing to read a larger published work. But they might read a six- to twenty-page presentation of the gospel. The brevity of these crucial documents necessitates qualified, orthodox, and gifted writers, editors, and publishers to ensure gospel accuracy and precision.