Para-Church Organisations – 1

I think it is about time that many Christian organisations think about the way they are structured and run.  To me, there appears to be a lot of duplication and thus inefficient use of resources, particularly in the area of administration.  One area that could be better organised are the para-church groups working among the youth.  It would be good if Youth for Christ, Urban Saints and other evangelical local expressions could come together under one ‘brand’, with each area still having its own culturally-relevant approach to the local youth, but things such as pay, marketing, fund-raising, etc done centrally.  This would also have an effect on improving relations between them and local authorities as well as central government.  It might even improve funding sources!  Taking this approach could also help in training and discipling of workers, in helping them to disciple the youth to become disciplers themselves and impact the society around them.  Other areas where this approach could work would include children’s ministry, student work, care homes, work among the homeless, and even evangelism and worship.  Part of the ‘branding’ exercise should include setting standards, especially in the areas of care homes, so that there is credibility in the eyes of the people served by the church.

One particular area that needs to be looked at is in the number of publishers.  There are far too many trying to reach a shrinking market.  Part of the problem is also that authors seem to cover the same areas, saying basically the same things.  Publishing needs to be more innovative, embracing the world of e-books, and other ‘new’ forms of communication, and finding new ways of imparting depth of teaching that really meets the needs of the Christians of today, not the sixties.  The same applies to Christian bookshops.  They need to become more than just a bookshop (there still is a market for books): what about having healing and prayer, cafes, information and advice etc., all under one roof?

I know there are a number of co-operative groups like the Youth Forum for members of the EA involved in that area, but we do need a more radical approach, especially with the available finance reducing each year.

So, who is going to take the lead?