As a church plant of another Evangelical Free Church of America in the area, Hill Country values its association with the EFCA.
The Evangelical Free Church of America is an association of approximately 1,500 autonomous yet interdependent churches and church plants united by a mutual commitment to serve the Lord Jesus Christ under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and to obedience to the Word of God. We are committed to cooperation 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 now extends to approximately fifty countries of the world.
The terms Evangelical and Free have come to mean different things to different people in our society. Although they seem outdated to some and watered down to others, we invite you to read our definitions of these terms to see why they are foundational to our denomination.
- The term Evangelical refers to our faith, our theology. We are committed to the proclamation of the Gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, and to the Scriptures as being the inspired, inerrant, authoritative, and sufficient Word of God.
- The term Free refers to our polity, structure, and organization. We are committed to a congregational form of government.
Above and beyond its doctrinal statement, every denomination is characterized by certain attributes often called distinctives. The Evangelical Free Church may be summed up in the saying, In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, charity; in all things, Jesus Christ. In addition the following six distinctives characterize the Evangelical Free Church movement.
1. The Evangelical Free Church of America is a believers’ church. Membership consists of those who have professed personal faith in Jesus Christ.
The great heritage of EFCA people around the world includes the fact that fellowship and ministry opportunities in the local church are based solely on one’s personal faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Membership requires commitment to sound doctrine as expressed in our Statement of Faith; however, individuals are not excluded from membership because they do not agree on every fine point of doctrine. Within the EFCA, allowances are made for legitimate differences of understanding in some areas of doctrine.
2. The Evangelical Free Church of America is evangelical. We are committed to the inerrancy and authority of the Bible and to the essentials of the gospel.
We have deep convictions based on the authority of God’s Word, but we do not draw battle lines over minor points. Nor do we make minor issues of doctrine a test of fellowship within the local church. We are evangelical; while we believe in separated living and personal holiness, we are not separatists.
3. The Evangelical Free Church of America embraces a humble orthodoxy in partnership with others of like faith.
We believe in the spiritual unity of the Church, though not necessarily in structural union. We join with other Christians and other denominations of like faith to reach common goals and to accomplish both the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. At the same time, we believe that there strength comes with diversity and that it is important to preserve our distinctives. We recognize that union in structure does not guarantee unity of spirit. Our foremost concern is unity of spirit with our Lord, with each other, and with other Christians.
4. The Evangelical Free Church of America believes in Christian freedom with responsibility and accountability.
We believe in Christian liberty, but freedom always has its limitations. Responsible Christians do not abuse their freedom. The apostle Paul wrote forcefully about Christian liberty in the book of Galatians. He shattered the teachings of the legalists with the doctrine of grace. But in 1 and 2 Corinthians and in Romans the apostle also rebuked believers when liberty was abused. He declared boldly the principles of Christian liberty but also spoke with forcefulness about Christian accountability. The EFCA desires to preserve our freedom in Christ. We encourage our people to be responsible and godly believers who desire to live under the control of the Holy Spirit in obedience to the principles and precepts of God’s Word, and who seek to live in harmony with God’s will for life as revealed in Scripture.
5. The Evangelical Free Church of America believes in both the rational and relational (i.e. the head and the heart) dimensions of Christianity.
We believe the Scriptures must be applied to our individual lives with warmth of heart, warmth of message, and warmth of concern. We believe it is essential to have solid, biblical content in our understanding of faith, but we believe it is equally important to have a dynamic, vital relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son and to live by the power of the Holy Spirit. Sound Christian doctrine must be coupled with dynamic Christian experience. Ours is a ministry of love and spiritual reconciliation.
6. The Evangelical Free Church of America affirms the right of each local church to govern its own affairs with a spirit of interdependency with other churches.
We are committed to a congregational form of government as stated in our Articles of Incorporation: The Evangelical Free Church of America shall be an association and fellowship of autonomous but interdependent congregations of like faith and congregational government…
Strong pastoral leadership coupled with discerning and well-equipped Christian lay people can produce spiritual growth as well as significant church growth. While the EFCA affirms the right of each local church to govern its own affairs, we also believe in the biblical values of interdependence and cooperation.
We are a movement of churches committed to working together in order to fulfill the Great Commission in the United States and abroad. This is only possible when strong ties exist with other EFCA churches, local district organizations, and with the national EFCA.