It happened again this past week. I was sharing with someone not from this church about our transitioning as a church to become affiliated with Evangelical Free. The comment was then made, “The order of the words is unfortunate, in that it is Evangelical Free.” I want to repeat what I wrote then so that there is greater understanding as to the origin and meaning of “Evangelical Free.”
Years ago, when I was serving as pastor in Portland, Maine, my dental hygienist knowing I was pastor of an Evangelical Free Church was puzzled by the name of the church. So, she asked, “Does Evangelical Free mean that it is free of Evangelicalism?” That seem to make sense to her like “caffeine free” is free of caffeine and gluten free is free of gluten. I gave a rather brief and concise answer since I was sitting in a dentist’s chair with her hands in my mouth.
Perhaps many ideas come to your mind around the name, ‘Evangelical Free.” Does it mean we don’t have to give because it is free? That isn’t it either. Some of you have expressed concern that “Free” sounds “new agey” or open to any and every teaching. This is not the case at all. On the contrary, the EFCA has stood solid over their history to hold to the essentials of the faith without wavering.
What does Evangelical Free Church actually mean? Here is a quick explanation.
1. “Evangelical” = gospel centered. The word “evangel” simply means good news of Jesus Christ. The Evangelical Free Church from its origins have been all about spreading the good news of Christ to a lost world.
The Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) will only increase our ability to demonstrate the presence of Christ and proclaim the message of the gospel throughout New England and beyond, by equipping our church, helping to develop our leaders, and supporting our efforts to carry out our mission.
2. “Free” = self-governing. With roots in Scandinavia, the Free Church broke away from the state because of their conviction that the local church should be autonomous and free to govern its own affairs. That is true of us as a Conservative Baptist Church, so nothing changes here. EFCA looks to work cooperatively with us in what we are doing rather than impose on us a certain way ministry must be done. We are free to carry out our mission and strategy for ministry, but with resources and support needed to multiply our mission.
3. “Church” = the local body of Christ. Often, I greet you on Sunday morning with the words, “Good morning, church.” Obviously, I am not speaking to the building, but to the spiritual body of Christ in which Jesus Christ is the head. The word “church” simply means called out. As believers in Jesus Christ, we have been called out of the world and sin into a relationship with Christ. We are also called out in that we are no longer a “part of the world” but “in the world” to bring the good news to the lost.
I hope that gives you a better understanding of the meaning behind the Evangelical Free Church name.
One other thing, if you signed up for the church picnic (this Saturday) and your plans have changed, then please contact the church office asap. If you haven’t signed up but would like to attend, then you will need to make reservations with Ellacoya State Park. Blessings, Pastor Brian
One Nagging Question
Link to This Sunday Worship Service
Church picnic and Baptism is August 27 from 11:00-4:00 at Ellacoya State Park. It will be held rain or shine.
Mark your calendars for our next business meeting on Tuesday, August 30 at 7PM.
Community prayer time at Laconia High School on Sunday, September 4th @ 1pm. Join with local pastors and leaders to pray for our community, students, and teachers as a new school year begins.
Local outreach ministry is hosting a table at this year’s Multicultural Festival in Laconia on Saturday, September 10th from 10-3. If you would like to help with face painting, manning the booth, or setup-take down please stop at the ministry counter and sign up.