What’s the difference between parachurch and parish church?

My colleague and friend David Williams offers some reflections on the difference between our work with InterVarsity and the work of parish churches. It’s a long read, but I encourage you to read it all–it’s worth it.

Since coming on staff with InterVarsity I have run into it again and again: How does your ministry fit with that of the local church?  Aren’t you undermining the efforts of the local church?  Aren’t you doing the work that the local church should be doing?  What differentiates your ministry from that of the local church?  In my experience, such questions are not so much questions as concerns put in inquisitional form.  Behind them lies the question, Isn’t your ministry para-church and isn’t that obviously bad?  They are less questions than objections, and at first they really caught me off-guard.

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