The EFCA has a national credential affirmed by the Conference (the annual meeting of the EFCA held
for the purpose of electing directors, as defined in the “EFCA Bylaws”:
http://efca.org/resources/document/bylaws. Those credentialed in the EFCA have been approved by
a local EFC church, a district council and the national Board of Ministerial Standing in the areas of
calling, character and biblical/theological capactiy (rooted in our Statement of Faith).
There are five very good reasons to be credentialed in the EFCA: 1) recognition of God’s calling to and
gifting for ministry; 2) interdependency between the local church, the district and the national office
– to ensure commitment to and alignment of beliefs (Statement of Faith) and ethos; 3) accountability
to the local church and to the denomination, both doctrinally and morally; 4) development
educationally and personally; and 5) confirmed legal status by the IRS (through EFCA). To see a more
thorough explanation of each of these points, please see the document “Rationale for and Benefits of
Credentialing in the EFCA”: http://www.efca.org/resources/document/credentialing-rationale.
It is required that one be in a qualifying ministry (vocational or bi-vocational ministry) and fulfill the
other expectations/requirements stated in “Ministerial Credentialing”:
http://www.efca.org/ministries/office-president/efca-credentialing. Once one is in a qualifying
ministry, the first step is to contact the district office ("Districts": http://www.efca.org/districts) in the
geographical region in which you are ministering to begin the process. The reason a qualifying
ministry is required is to respect our congregational polity. Credentialing in the EFCA only begins after
a local church calls an individual to serve in a vocational capacity. This respects the autonomy of the
If you value the process of credentialing, it will likely be valued and supported by the senior pastor
and/or the leadership board. It would also be important to explain to them the rationale for and
benefits of credentialing, both for you personally, and for the church. All will benefit greatly through
this process. You might want to ask your senior pastor to serve as your mentor. You can be assured
both of you would grow
Often the elder or leadership board follows the lead of the pastoral staff. If credentialing is not
important to the pastoral staff, it will not be important to or be considered by the local church
leaders. Though local churches are autonomous, as part of the EFCA they are also interdependent.
This is an important way in which the EFCA comes alongside local church leadership and helps with
alignment, doctrinal fidelity, moral purity and accountability of their pastoral staff. Just as members
of local churches are accountable to local church leaders (and the congregation), so the pastoral staff
is accountable to local church leaders (and the congregation) and the EFCA. In some local churches,
leaders make any future increase in financial remuneration dependent on credentialing in the EFCA.