Review of Beyond the Congregation: The World of Christian Nonprofits, by Christopher P. Scheitle.
Within the context of soaring growth in the number of Christian nonprofit or parachurch organizations, Scheitle presents this timely and groundbreaking research that seeks to understand the significant shifts taking place within the spiritual values of American culture and the changes in religious roles previously preserved for churches, namely, conversion, charity, communication, community, and worship. Beginning with a commodification and description of the religious market place, he continues a balanced and respectful approach outlining the origin of and historical trends for these parachurch organizations in relation to churches and their financial sources, i.e., congregants and donors. Among the many helpful insights he offers, he classifies organizations into nine sectors and uses these sectors as a means of comparison both within Christian nonprofits, but also as they relate to similar church functions. He draws out the balance sheet for Christian nonprofits using available financial information and offers comparisons within parachurch sectors and to church counterparts. He extends his examination to corresponding use of executives and governing boards in relation to organizational finance levels. His research provides a much needed foundation in understanding the rise of parachurch organizations, the role they play within American culture and their adaptability to the religious marketplace.
Pearson, Andrew L. Review of Beyond the Congregation: The World of Christian Nonprofits, by Christopher P. Scheitle. Religious Studies Review 38 (December 2012): 254-255.