WHAT IS CONGREGATIONALISM?
Congregationalism is a form of church government that is based on three Biblical principles.
1) The lordship of Jesus Christ as the head of the church. Ultimately, the local church answers to Jesus directly, not a pope, bishop, denomination, etc.
22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church,23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
2) The autonomy of the local church and meaningful membership. The congregation has the autonomy to make final decisions with every member having a voice in its governance and the responsibility to build up the church in faith, love and unity.
And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose…
15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
3) The leadership of qualified members. Jesus Christ as supplied His church with leaders (Pastors and Deacons) to shepherd the flock (guard the faith, teach the Word, equip the members, set an example and provide direction).
17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
HOW DO WE LIVE OUT CONGREGATIONALISM?
1) Christ is our Head. We live out this truth by holding to the authority of Scripture and looking to Jesus Christ for our “marching orders.” In addition to preaching the Word of God, we seek Christ’s direction, through His Holy Spirit, for everything in our church. As Hudson Taylor said, “The Church moves forward on her knees.”
2) Membership Matters. The Congregation has a voice and does the work of ministry.
- At least twice each year the church members gather for a “Congregational Sunday” to vote its leadership, budget and any other item up for a decision. In the Spring, we vote on the September to August fiscal budget. In the Fall, we vote on to elect deacons and committee positions.
- We have four permanent committees that members of the congregation are elected to serve for two-year terms: Finance, Personnel, Property and Nominating.
- We strive for “100% spiritual employment” at BVBC which simply means that we want you to find a place to serve. Virtually everything the church does is through the work of YOU the congregation!
3) Leaders set the pace. At Brandywine, we currently lead through the oversight of the Ministry Leadership Team and the Board of Deacons.
- The Ministry Leadership Team (MLT) is comprised of staff Pastors and Directors, led by the Lead Pastor, who are primarily responsible for the operation and execution of the vision, values and ministry strategy of the church. The MLT is comprised of Lead Pastor Nate Keeler, Student / Adult Education Pastor Matthew McNutt, Discipleship Pastor Todd Johnson and Children’s Ministry Director Kristi Pullig.
- The Board of Deacons (BoD), is comprised of 12 elected men who serve three-year terms. The BoD are currently responsible for maintaining the vision and governance as outlined in the Bylaws and providing support and accountability for the staff.
Please reference our BVBC Bylaws for a detailed description of our governance and polity.
It is important to embrace the reality that no church, government, member or leader is perfect. We are continually seeking how we can better govern, organize and shepherd our church to accomplish our marching orders from Jesus in mission in Matthew 28:19-20. We strive to live lives worthy of the calling we have received by dwelling in humility, interdependence and the unity of the Spirit (Ephesians 4:1-5).