Skip to main content

Christian Unions love the local church

Writing in clear defence of 'parachurch' movements and in stunning love of the church, former director of OMF, Michael Griffiths...
"Surely the aim of the whole operation must be the planting and perfecting of new colonies of heaven, new congregations of beautiful people... Missionary work has to be church-centred if it is to be effective... It needs to be strongly emphasied.. that the criterion for the success of an interdenominational group is the extent to which it contributes towards the building up of the church. Take a university Christian Union, for example. The test of its effectiveness is not the number of students who belong to it, or even the proportion of the membership who have been converted through its ministry... The test is long term, and is in the extent to which its former members are now integrated into and playing a part in the leadership of the local church.... they must be judged by the criterion of the benefits which they bring to the churches." *
That's the kind of ministry I want to see through the Christian Unions of the South West of England.

See also Parachurch that loves the local church
* p136-138 Cinderella with Amnesia (Michael Griffiths, IVP 1975); p173 Get your act together Cinderella (Michael Griffiths, IVP 1989)


  1. Good quote. My fear is though, that your commitment is not true of a lot of parachurch organisations, who in effect take Christians' focus off the local church. Yes they may technically be members of a local church, (though some not even that) but often church is not really where its happening and where their commitment lies.

    Its also about the extent to which church is the method as well as the goal... hermeneutic of the gospel and all that.

  2. Thanks Dave, preach it brother! Michael Griffith's book Cinderella with Amnesia was a "paradigm shifter" for me when I read it as a student.

    I think this will always be an uphill battle to insill this value in CUs though. Lots more work to be done.

  3. Ant - I agree it's not always happening, but hopefully CUs are a good model - of students locked into the community of local church, engaged in wider partnership for the good of the churches.

    The flipside is the that some churches totally miss and deride the value of parachurch. Griffiths notes that the evangelical church has no idea how much it owes to parachurch ministry.

    In Exeter I love that the evangelical churches throw their weight behind three parachurch ministries which exist for the good of the churches, a schoolswork ministry, YMCA and UCCF.

    The church is the key method - but Griffiths argues, as I would, that that doesn't always mean only a local churhch, but can mean partnerships of churches (parachurch).

    Stanton - Michael Griffiths is a hero. It's an uphill battle to instill love for the church in Christians (CUs are no exception), but it's one we can accomplish - I think UCCF is wise to that increasly as a fellowship, and I think probably the churches are learning to the church too.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

"Big eyes full of wonder"

Books. Fiction. Libraries. Second only to churches as are the best gateways in your community to ultimate reality and new possibilities.

Our local library has just re-opened after refurbishment, and I love that our boys have spent several mornings there during the summer holidays, discovering some wonderful new stories.

I realised a few months back that I wasn't reading enough fiction. My work necessitates reading a lot of non-fiction, a mix of historical and contemporary thinking, biblical studies and theology. But fiction is the cinderella. Easily overlooked, and yet able to awaken my imagination and show me the way things are meant to be.

So I've picked up a few more lately - bought and borrowed. Not every book attempted flies, and that's ok. These have been winners though.

Ink. This is Alice Broadway's debut novel. It's young adult fiction and tells the story of Leora who lives in a world where the events of your life are tattooed on your skin. Nothing gets hid…

Uniquely Matthew

Reading gospel accounts in parallel is sometimes used to blur the differences in perspective between the evangelists, seeking to harmonise the texts and find a definitive historical account of what happened. No such thing exists because every account is biased and limited. You simply can't record everything. You have to hold a vantage point. And that's not a problem.

Matthew, Mark and Luke take a very different vantage point to John who was of course an eyewitness himself of the events. Comparing the text of Matthew, Mark and Luke across the death and resurrection of Jesus yields two steps.

Firstly, the common ground. All three accounts tell of...
Simon of Cyrene carrying the cross…. · Jesus labelled as King of the Jews…. · Criminals crucified with Jesus… · Darkness in the daytime… · Jesus' loud final cry… The women who witnessed Jesus death, and Jesus' burial… · The tomb lent to Jesus by Joseph of Arimithea… · The women who went to the tomb on the morning of the…

Songs we're singing in Church

Christians are a singing people, it's part of what we do when we gather.

Our church meets morning an evening on a Sunday - normally using 5 songs in each service. So, over the year that's about 520 song-slots available. The report from the database system we use ( tells us that in the past year we've sung about 150 different songs.

Our current most used song has been sung 11 times in the last year, just under once a month. Our top 10 are used about every 6 weeks. By #30 we're talking about songs used every two months. The tail is long and includes loads of classic hymns from across the centuries, plus other songs from the past 40 years, that we have used around once a term or less.

1. Rejoice - Dustin Kensrue

2. Come Praise & Glorify - Bob Kauflin

3. Man of Sorrows - Hillsong

4. Cornerstone - Hillsong

Rejoice was a song I didn't previously know, along with a couple of others that have quickly become firm favourites for me: Chri…