As a Christian, you have probably heard of the terms “local church” and “parachurch organization.” But what do these terms mean? And which one should have priority in our lives?


First, let’s define what a local church and a parachurch organization are.


A local church is a fellowship of Christians who regularly gather for worship, fellowship, and spiritual growth. On the other hand, a parachurch organization is a Christian ministry that operates outside of the local church, with a specific focus or mission that may or may not align with the goals of the local church.


Different roles


While both the local church and parachurch organizations serve important roles in the Christian community, there are distinct differences in their missions, goals, and structures. For example, the primary purpose of the local church is to provide a place for believers to gather, worship, and grow spiritually together. This is where disciples are made. In contrast, a parachurch organization is often more specialized in its focus, whether to reach a certain group of people, provide aid to a specific cause, or promote a particular Christian perspective.

The importance of supporting your local church cannot be overstated. The local church is vital in sustaining the spiritual health of believers and fostering a community of faith. It provides a place for believers to grow in their relationship with God, attend Bible studies, and receive pastoral guidance. Essentially, the local church is the spiritual home for believers, where they belong and can grow in their faith. (Yes, I realize people are the church, not a building. But, for the sake of clarity, this article describes the function.)


The local church should have priority.


While parachurch organizations also play an important role in fulfilling the Great Commission, it is important to note that they cannot replace the local church. Parachurch organizations are not a substitute for the spiritual nourishment, accountability, and community the local church provides. Supporting a parachurch organization should not come at the expense of neglecting the local church, as this can result in a fragmented and weakened spiritual life. This is both concerning time and money. One should never forsake the local to serve or give to a parachruch organization.

The scripture about bringing the tithe to the storehouse speaks of the local church. Therefore, the storehouse is where one would go in a time of need or crisis. Do we think a parachurch organization is designed or equipped to pastor someone through a situation? Would they be willing to help financially, with counseling or other needs? The answer is – most likely not. That is not their mission.

Should we give and serve with parachurch organizations? Absolutely, but at the expense of the local church.

At the end of the day, it is crucial to prioritize supporting your local church over a parachurch organization. This means regularly attending services, giving generously, and participating in the life of the church. When we invest in our local church, we invest in the spiritual health and well-being of ourselves and our community. In addition, by supporting the local church, we participate in God’s mission to transform the world.




The local church and parachurch organizations have distinct differences, and both play important roles in the Christian community. But the local church should always be our priority as compared to supporting other Christian ministries. By doing so, we are investing in our spiritual growth and the spiritual health of our community. Let us be faithful in our commitment to the local church so that we can continue to fulfill God’s mission in the world.


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