The body of Christ was instituted to bring life to men, and that life is a full one. A Christian is someone who has received the very life of God whether he sees it or not. This means he has received the ability to live a perfect life. Perfect in all ramifications including mentally, financially, socially, morally, health-wise, and in every other area you can think of. The bible calls it the full measure of the stature of Christ. As the church progressed, some of these aspects were neglected by some denominations and others were more emphasized by the other denominations. This is where the need for para-ministries was initiated.
You would observe that some denominations, especially in Nigeria, focus more on preaching ‘holiness’ and they neglect the financial well being of their members. They feel like wealth and money are distractions to living a good life but obviously this is not true, 3 John 1:2 wishes that we prosper and be in good health even as our souls prosper. This imbalance in emphasis leads to the lack of some relevant information and therefore a failure in some areas of life for Christians. Topics like sex, control of emotion and many others are not discussed as much as they should be. Some churches never engage in any social welfare activities, while others choose only an aspect. For instance, prostitute rehabilitation is one area many churches have neglected.
So what are Para-ministries?
Para-ministries are Christian bodies that cater for one aspect of the human life that is supposed to be a part of what a church does. They basically fill in some gaps for the church. Para-ministries are different from ministries, while a ministry is responsible for the total well being of his members a para-ministry chooses an aspect and focuses on it.
What are the different types?
There are many types of para-ministries. They can be categorized into two major types: those who do humanitarian services and those who provide knowledge (doctrinal) on a life-subject. See some of them below:
These render guidance and counseling services to married people. They help to resolve conflicts in marriage and also help in sustaining marriages. Some of them also help women with fertility issues.
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They visit prisoners on a regular basis to hold service with them, encourage them and also provide some material support for them.
This kind of part-ministries support widows that are of a particular age. They provide them with food, cooking items and some other daily needs.
Prostitution Rehabilitation Para-ministries
Prostitute are preached to by these para-ministries. They help them come to Christ and also help them grow out of their sexual habits in love and concentrated care. The prostitutes are also supplied with some basic amenities.
Drug Addiction Rehabilitation Para-ministries
They help people recover from their addiction. The addicts are first led to Christ and they later receive help in overcoming an addiction to drugs.
Business/Financial Empowerment Para-ministries
These are the kind of para-ministries that help Christians develop their business skills and acquire godly prosperity. They organize seminars and training for financial empowerment. They also help their members to secure jobs.
Many churches are not able to cater for the emotional and social needs of their teenagers. They specialize in dealing with teenagers and helping them solve their life problems.
These are the kind of para-ministries that help people avoid relationship problems. They offer advice on how to avoid break-ups, how to deal with it when it comes. How to choose a life partner and every other thing relating to relationships.
These are special ministries that focus on helping children grow morally sound with all of their physical needs catered for. Some of them do have orphanages where they feed children every day and sponsor their education. Some sponsor their education from primary school up to the tertiary level, while some stop at the secondary level
Doctrinal Teaching Para-ministries
This kind of ministries focuses on a subject that has been misunderstood in the body of Christ and teach extensively on it to clear errors. Some of them hold weekly or monthly teaching services but they don’t hold services on Sunday mornings. If they hold a service on Sundays, it would be at a time when the attendees have already attended their various church services. The founders of this kind of para-ministries encourage their members to attend a church service as their para-ministries are not full-fledged ministries mean to cater for all the needs of their members.
This list is not comprehensive. Many more para-ministries spring up every day as they see a gap in the church. Some are popular others are not. But they both have impacts on the lives of the people who they minister too. Remember that para-ministries are not to replace the church or ministries they only take a supplementary role.
Differences between Para-ministries and Non-Governmental Organisation
Para-ministries are different from NGOs. Para-ministries are Christian bodies, they are governed by the instructions of the Bible and they are not just moral, they are Christians. NGOs are humanitarian, they don’t have to adhere to the dictates of the bible and they are also restricted in scope. They don’t try to supplement some lack in the church. It is, however, possible that a para-ministry is registered as an NGO just for the sake of being recognized as an incorporated body and therefore have some legal rights. Most of the NGO’s meet physical needs and not doctrinal needs.
Differences between Para-ministries and Ministries
The relationship between ministries and para-ministries can be illustrated as that of a body and food intake. The human body needs food with a sufficient quantity of the 6 nutrition classes to be healthy. Sometimes, we get less of one or two classes of nutrients and this results in deficient growth or sometimes a sickness or even a deformity in the body. This is why we take supplements. Supplements are food substances that are concentrated on one class of food, for instance, protein shakes. These supplements have just a single purpose in the body. However, a problem will set in where we begin to neglect food and take just a particular supplement every day. The meals we take should naturally contain all the nutrients we need, if this is done, there will be no need for supplements. In this vain, supplements can also not replace food.
The church or ministries is like a place we go to to get the full nutrient we need for life. Some churches are close to supplying all of these nutrients. Others are very deficient because they provide as low as just two classes of nutrients we need out of six. Some churches focus more on some aspects and play down on the others. This is why para-ministries spring up. If churches/ministries will provide all the needs of their members, there will be no need for para-ministries.
- It is noteworthy that para-ministries founders have a church they belong to. They have a church they attend and are committed to.
- Para-ministries do not hold Sunday services
- Para-ministries excepted to cater for all the needs of Christians but Churches are expected to that.
- Para-ministries can exist as NGOs churches cannot.
- Churches do have buildings, para-ministries can have just an office or even exist virtually