What is a Congregational Church?

What is a Congregational Church?

Many people in Jacksonville attend a Congregational Church without actually knowing what the term means. The term “congregational church” refers to a church that is essentially self-governed. Instead of answering to a group of bishops or elders as in a hierarchical model, a congregational church answers directly to God in administering its own affairs. Many congregational churches in Jacksonville are non-denominational, because by definition they opt for a model that eschews human hierarchical organizational structures. They are non-denominational because the Bible recognizes no denominations. There is only “one flock, one shepherd,” and that shepherd is Christ (John 10:16).

The principles of congregational churches are rooted in the Bible. “So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another,” (Romans 12:5). Christians form a community that is sacred and are whole and integral, not in need of hierarchy or external regulations by a governing body. The Bible also shares with you the wisdom that “God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple,” (1 Corinthians 3:17). Congregational churches are not anarchic, though. Far from it, congregational churches have strong internal leadership that allows the community to remain cohesive, organized, and on point in pursuing their faith. However, the congregational church does not require ascription to external rules. Congregational churches remain relevant to their congregations because their congregations are “one body in Christ,” and are “that temple,” which Jesus ordained. Christ is the only true cornerstone of any church, not a human leader who is fallible. The leaders in a congregational church need only to faithfully follow the tenets of the Bible, leading the “flock” or the congregation towards Christ. “Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son,” (Hebrews 3:6). Members of the congregation are entrusted and empowered to recognize false prophets and to keep each other in check. In Jacksonville, congregational churches offer strength and solace for the local Christian community.

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