The Vine Movement
“Make disciples of all nations.”
It’s an enormous task, one that extends far beyond the reach and resources of the local church. It’s a task that requires Christians to organize together into a broad range of ministries—often called ‘parachurch ministries’.
But, sadly, even using the word ‘parachurch’ can set pulses racing: the relationships between churches and other ministries over the years have not always been entirely smooth. So how can churches and parachurches think about and relate to each other well? How can they encourage and support one another for the growth of the gospel and the glory of God? These are vital issues that require fresh, biblical thought in every generation.
Pastor and parachurch leader Mikey Lynch’s deep reflections on this topic will help leaders and members of all types of ministries, whether church or parachurch, to think wisely and constructively not only about their own work, but also the wider ‘vine movement’ of which they are just one part.
Download for free the two bonus chapters:
If you are involved with a parachurch ministry, download this free slide to help in your presentations to groups.
About the author
Mikey Lynch is the AFES staff leader at the University of Tasmania, where he focuses on preaching to unchurched university students and graduates. Prior to this he was the pastor of Crossroads Presbyterian Church, which he helped plant in 2000. Mikey has been a founding director of several local and national parachurch organizations, including The Geneva Push and Reach Australia. Mikey is the author of The Good Life in the Last Days and he lives in Hobart with his wife, Nikki, and their three children.
"This is a very useful, brush-clearing book to help both church and parachurch leaders navigate the tension and complexity of moving beyond their individual mission statements to partner together in the mission of the gospel."
—Todd Adkins, Co-founder, Lifeway Leadership Podcast Network; Director of Leadership Development, Lifeway Christian Resources, Nashville TN
"Local church leaders can sometimes characterize parachurches as unbiblical, arrogant and distracting. Parachurch leaders can sometimes stereotype local churches as cumbersome, dogmatic and slow. Mikey Lynch offers us a different take. Theologically rich and nuanced, and full of wisdom and practical insight, The Vine Movement can inspire us to relate with discernment, appreciation, honour and love for those serving in different parts of the vineyard to us—and to actively collaborate in cultivating a gospel ecosystem."
—Peter Dray, Director of Creative Evangelism, UCCF: The Christian Unions, UK
"Hilarious, provocative, biblical, historical, concrete and extremely helpful. It is my prayer that Mikey’s book will help both denominational churches and parachurches to understand one another better and to work brilliantly together to proclaim Christ."
—Ben Pfahlert, National Director, Ministry Training Strategy, Australia
"Mikey Lynch brings a winsome blend of intellectual curiosity and generosity to the thorny problem of church and parachurch ministry. As someone who frequently works in the intersection of these kinds of organizations, I found this book to be a rare combination of careful theological insight and practical wisdom. The clarity of Lynch’s discussion of the doctrine of church in the opening section is worth the price of the book alone. I’ve already found myself recommending it to campus ministry workers and church pastors who are wrestling with how their different ministry models fit together to serve the kingdom."
—Dan Anderson, Director, The Lachlan Macquarie Institute, Canberra; Chair of the Board, Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students; Former Anglican Chaplain, Robert Menzies College, Macquarie University, Sydney
"Mikey Lynch has written a brilliant book on a vital topic for anyone concerned about the mission of Jesus. Good material on the relationship between the church and the parachurch is surprisingly rare. What is written can sometimes come from a narrow theological perspective, arguing for the value of the one over the other without a practical sense of how mission actually proceeds in the world. Or they can be highly pragmatic, promoting ‘whatever works’ over what is true and biblical. Mikey, by combining a first-rate theological mind with long and fruitful experience in both church and parachurch ministry, has brought together what is too often apart: theological depth and practical mission experience. I firmly believe this will become the one-stop, go-to book on the subject for years to come."
—Rory Shiner, Senior Pastor, Providence City Church, Perth; Network Director, Providence Church Network
"As someone with a foot firmly planted in both my local Chinese church and the parachurch that employs me, I’ve always been fascinated by the relationship between churches and parachurches. Is the parachurch something to be avoided or embraced? Thanks to Mikey Lynch’s detailed analysis, I am all the more excited to see how I can best serve God’s kingdom in both my church and parachurch."
—Sam Chan, Public Speaker, City Bible Forum, Australia
"Partnerships between local churches and parachurch organizations provide wonderful opportunities for the growth of the gospel, but too often are fraught with tension and misunderstanding. Mikey Lynch has done us a great service by giving a clear theological foundation for these relationships. He establishes the priority of local church ministry and explores the relationship between local churches and denominational and parachurch organizations in a range of contexts."
—David Williams, Director of Training and Development, Church Missionary Society, Australia
"As someone who trains Christian people for chaplaincy and pastoral care ministries, both within the public sector and parachurch organizations, I see people struggle to know where their ministries connect with more traditional church ministries. In this important project, Mikey Lynch explores the assumed (but largely unexamined) relationship between churches and parachurch organizations and ministries. The Vine Movement is a helpful attempt to describe existing parameters that differentiate between church and parachurch, and then to demonstrate faithful ways of integrating both ministries in a way that honours each one’s alignment with Christ and his mission while respecting the remit of the other. This work would be of interest both at an organizational level, and for individuals wishing to understand their place in a larger whole."
—Kate Bradford, Chaplain and Pastoral Supervisor, Anglicare, Sydney
"The Vine Movement is an ambitious but careful examination of the relationship between the local church and various parachurch ministries. Mikey Lynch demonstrates that, while the local church has spiritual authority, parachurches can deepen the growth of the kingdom in unique and vital ways. This book explains all this and also provides practical advice for how to productively navigate the relationship between the local church and parachurch ministry in the midst of our fallen world."
—Luke Isham, Minister, St Kilda & Balaclava Presbyterian Church, Melbourne
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