Jonathan Dodson, Pastor of Austin City Life, a great thinker, and a great friend of mine recently published a blog concerning some thoughts from Neil Cole’s book Organic Leadership. In it, he says that “Neil prophetically points out how the parachurch has assumed the role and mission of the church leaving her weak and anemic”. Click HERE to see the entire post.
He then closed his post with a handful of questions:
What do you think? Where has your church capitulated to the parasitical parachurch? Is there a way forward? And what of the modality sodality distinction? Are both mission agencies and local churches together the church? Much more could be said on these matters.
I think you know where I land on most of this conversation. I’ve long thought the non-profit sector has taken the place of the church in our culture. Even many of the faith-based non-profits have begun to do their work “in spite of” the church. Whether that’s because of a lack of passion on the part of the church or an organizations simple avoidance of the typical church red tape, it’s not their fault, it’s ours. Neglect comes to mind. Like you said (kinda) it seems to be the norm to just “let them do it”.
I’ve had some great conversations in the last week in regards to Sodality and Modality. Although Austin New Church is an intentionally ministry based model church, we are in reality a “hybrid” when it comes to gathering and sending. With that in mind, we’ve found a real strength in partnering with local non-profits instead of capitulating to their head start and success. There’s much we can learn (and leverage) from others who have gone before us.
What we’ve found? Most non-profits don’t mind a faith based community partnering with them. In fact, we’ve found nothing but open arms. One of our missional communities was literally told at the LiveStrong Challenge that they were the best group of volunteers they’ve ever had. What a compliment.
And it makes sense. Why would I try to start my own food bank when we gather a mile away from the Capital Area Food Bank that feeds over 40,000 people a week? Seems like they know what they’re doing. Why re-invent the wheel? The only reason I can see is if we cannot represent the church while serving with and for them. So far, it’s not been a problem.
So what do we do? I suggest partnership. Bold, innovative, Gospel centered partnership. Let them know the Church cares. That just might be a paradigm that needs changed anyways.
– Brandon Hatmaker