What does "Evangelical Free" mean?
This is a common question, even sometimes asked by people who are already in Evangelical Free churches! We will answer this question by taking each word in turn:
We start by considering the word inside this word: evangel. This comes from the Greek word euangelion, or gospel. We are called "evangelical", because we want to be about the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is much to say about the gospel, and we encourage you to read more right here. But to put it simply: we want to be grounded in the gospel, be transformed by it in all of life, and share it with all people.
Again, we encourage you to read more about the gospel, because it truly is good news.
Secondly, we are "free". As you can tell from the previous paragraph, this does not mean that we are a safe haven from evangelicals, where one can be free of evangelicals! No, the word free refers first to our predecessors in the faith, who wanted to worship free from the influence of their particular state or country. So "free" first refers to a body of believers who worship free from the constrictions of the state churches of Europe.
But it now also refers to our present structure as a church. We belong to the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA), which can best be described as a loose affiliation of churches. We are not a denomination, with a strong ecclesiastical structure, with superintendents and bishops. You can learn more about this in our Life Training Class for newcomers.
This also means that EFCA member churches can differ, sometimes widely, even in the same town. While we all agree to the same Statement of Faith, this still leaves member churches great leeway in Sunday worship styles, preaching and teaching content, and overall ministry philosophy. If you've seen one EFCA church, you have not seen them all.
So if you have any questions about the EFCA or our own ministry philosophy, please explore the following links: