The EFCA is an association of some 1,300 autonomous churches united by a mutual commitment to serve our Lord Jesus Christ with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and obedience to the Word of God. We are committed to cooperate with one another in ministry and fellowship as we seek to fulfill the Great Commission which Christ has entrusted to His Church. The growing ministry of the EFCA currently extends to some 80 countries around the world.
What Does “Evangelical” Mean?
The term Evangelical refers to our commitment to the proclamation of the Gospel and to the authority of Scriptures as being inerrant in the original autographs and the only safe and sufficient guide to faith and practice.
What Does “Free” Mean?
The term Free refers to our form of church government as being congregational. Evangelical Free Churches depend upon the active participation of lay people in the decisions and directions.
You may never have heard of the Evangelical Free Church of America and may be wondering what this association of churches stands for and believes. There are now nearly 1,000 Free churches in the United States and Canada (where our sister denomination is called the Evangelical Free Church of Canada). About 50 new congregations have been added each year during the past few years, making the Free church one of the fastest growing denominations in North America.
The Word “evangelical” is perhaps the most significant part of our name. It tells much about our beliefs. As defined in Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, “evangelical” means “Pertaining to or designating any school of Protestants which holds that the essence of the gospel consists mainly in its doctrine of man’s sinful condition and need of salvation, the revelation of God’s Grace in Christ, the necessity of spiritual renovation, and participation in the experience of redemption through faith”.
More simply put, it means we believe the Bible is divinely inspired and the final authority for all Christian faith and practice. It means that we believe what the Bible says about an individual’s need for a personal relationship with God through trust in Jesus Christ.
The word “free” in our name sometimes causes questions. This simply means that each congregation is free to govern its own affairs and choose its own pastor.
We are an affiliation of churches joined to accomplish together what we could not do as individual churches, but there is no denominational hierarchy sending down directives from above. Article 10 of our Confession of Faith says: “We believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and Head of the Church, and that every local church has the right, under Christ, to decide and govern its own affairs.”
We are evangelical, but broad enough in our interpretation to include the various shades of conservative thinking which do not violate our confession of faith. We are a fellowship based on the essentials, while not permitting non-essentials to separate us.
The Evangelical Free Church has a Scandinavian heritage, but is now a “melting pot” of many national ethnic and racial backgrounds. People in search of a warm, concerned, Bible-believing fellowship have found the Free Church a place where they can be nurtured and encouraged in their faith.
The Free Church is, as well, a missionary minded church, supporting nearly 450 missionaries in 15 overseas countries, and also actively concerned with planting new churches in North American communities needing a Bible-believing outreach and ministry.
Our churches work together to make the love and message of Jesus known in the community across the continent and around the world. We invite you to worship at the Evangelical Free Church closest to you.