Please read the following letter from Bill Riedel, chair of the EFCA Board of Directors, for context regarding the proposed bylaw amendments. (En Español)
Dear EFCA Family:
We are just weeks away from EFCA One happening in Fullerton, California. It has been four years since we were all able to gather in person. Since the 2021 EFCA One conference was held virtually, it will be extra-sweet to be together. We look forward to seeing you there!
What a four years this has been. We are living in unique times with unique challenges. Let’s not forget, though, that our Good Shepherd has entrusted this moment to us to continue to faithfully follow His voice and proclaim good news that breaks in as light in the darkness. EFCA One is a chance to be reminded of the extraordinary work God is doing across our nation and across the world. Jesus is calling people from every nation, tribe, and tongue, and we in the EFCA get to be part of the advance of His Kingdom.
Jesus prayed for all believers, that we would be one (John 17). As Paul reminds us, the church is called to unity—one body, one spirit, one hope (Ephesians 4). At EFCA One, we gather to celebrate the things that bring us together as a movement. As our nation, and Christians within it, seem to be ever more polarized, we have never been more convinced of the importance of the EFCA. The centrality of the gospel, and the cry, “in essentials, unity; in non-essentials, charity; in all things, Jesus Christ” are what bind us together as a movement.
At this year’s Business Session being held on Wednesday, June 21, 2023, the Board of Directors is proposing changes to the EFCA Bylaws. In accordance with the Bylaws, the amendments are being presented and published more than 60 days in advance. The Board of Directors wants to ensure that you know what is under consideration and what to look for. Here are some of the important changes being proposed:
- Update terms – Some places in the Bylaws name ministries or teams, or have other terminology that is no longer used in the EFCA. It is important that our governing documents reflect the reality of our practice, and that these terms are updated.
- Provide definitional clarity – EFCA polity is often misunderstood. So, these revisions include language to articulate the “Free” part of our name, and clarify that the EFCA doesn’t hire, fire, direct, control, or supervise employees or staff of EFCA churches, but the churches are autonomous.
- Credentials – It is increasingly important to emphasize credentialing in our movement. We would love to see every Lead/Senior Pastor in the EFCA hold some kind of ministry credential for the sake of theological and ethical consistency and accountability across our churches. Some of the changes clarify that a Lead/Senior Pastor of an EFCA church must hold a ministerial credential in order to “automatically” qualify as a delegate to the Conference by virtue of position and/or to serve on various boards or offices.
- Elections to confirmations – There are proposed changes to the manner in which the Moderator, Vice Moderator, and members of the Nominating Committee are selected by the Conference, moving to votes of confirmation as opposed to elections. The intent is to streamline the process for a growing movement and to allow the Nominating Committee to do a thorough job of vetting candidates for these positions.
- Establish clearer authority for the Board of Ministerial Standing (BOMS) – While all of these changes are important and necessary, this may be the most important in our view. In light of crises that we see all around us, credentialing and the ability of the Board of Ministerial Standing to cite and act on serious moral or doctrinal error is critically important. Further, these proposed changes officially empower districts to call on BOMS to hear, investigate and adjudicate charges that a member church does not have objectives consistent with the EFCA or is not in compliance with the EFCA Statement of Faith, all while ensuring that BOMS will work in cooperation with a district, which has the final determination.
We are excited about the EFCA’s future. We truly believe God has shaped our movement and given us the tools to look ahead and be part of powerful ministry in the face of an ever-changing cultural landscape. EFCA One is an important opportunity for us all to be encouraged, to have our spirits renewed, and to be refreshed in our vision for what God has called us to together. Please join us in praying that this year’s conference will bring a greater unity and clarity for us all as we set our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith.Bill Riedel, chairOn behalf of the EFCA Board of Directors