EFCA: History, Theology & Polity by Evangelical Free Church of America

EFCA: History, Theology & Polity

Get familiar with the heritage and distinctives of EFCA ministry.


This course is designed for those seeking a greater understanding of the denomination or anticipating possible placement within the EFCA.

In this class, attention is paid to history, polity, doctrine, missionary outreach, and current trends. Students are challenged to consider these distinctives in relation to their own concepts of ministry context and potential. Attendees will become familiar with the heritage and distinctives of the EFCA, in order to appreciate its present structure and mission, and will fulfill one of the key requirements for credentialing in the EFCA.

For more information, or to register, email credentialing@efca.org or call (952) 853-8459.

What's included?

File Icon 17 files


EFCA History, Theology and Polity (Session 1)
EFCA History, Theology and Polity [Slides}
1.68 MB
CIF Overview [Slides]
86.9 KB
Session 1 [Audio]
(1h 44m 14s)
EFCA History (Sessions 2 & 3)
EFCA History [Slides]
3.94 MB
EFCA History: part 1 [Audio]
(1h 17m 48s)
EFCA History: part 2 [Audio]
(1h 34m 09s)
Session 4
EFCA Credentialing [Slides]
248 KB
One EFCA: Districts & National Office in Partnership [Slides]
231 KB
EFCA Credentialing [Audio]
(1h 21m 08s)
Session 5
ReachGlobal [Slides]
366 KB
Better Together: Shared Values that have Shaped Us [Slides]
137 KB
ReachGlobal Pathways [Slides]
767 KB
Session 5 [Audio]
(1h 19m 00s)
Session 6
ReachNational [Slides]
329 KB
Session 6 [Audio]
(1h 25m 48s)
Session 7
Session 7 [Audio]
(1h 15m 47s)
Session 8
Session 8 [Audio]
54 mins


What is the meaning of credentialing in the EFCA?

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).

Why be credentialed in the EFCA?

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.

How does one go about being credentialed? What are the first steps?

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
local church.

How can I enlist the support of my senior pastor and/or leadership board for this process and the commitment of my time and energy it will require?

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

How can the leadership board encourage their pastoral staff to pursue credentialing and help them to own the importance of the process?

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.

Multiplying transformational churches among all people

The Evangelical Free Church of America is an association of autonomous churches united around the same theological convictions.