The Evangelical Denomination
The Swedish Evangelical Free Church formed as the Swedish Evangelical Free Mission in Boone, Iowa, in October 1884. Several churches that had been members of the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Ansgar Synod and the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Mission Synod, along with some independent congregations, were instrumental in organizing this voluntary fellowship. In the same year, two Norwegian-Danish groups in Boston, Massachusetts, and Tacoma, Washington, began to fellowship together. By 1912, they had formed the Norwegian-Danish Evangelical Free Church Association. The Swedish and Norwegian-Danish bodies united in June 1950 at a merger conference held at the Medicine Lake Conference Grounds near Minneapolis, Minnesota. The two bodies represented 275 local congregations at the time of the merger.
The EFCA shares some early ties with those who formed the Swedish Evangelical Covenant Church. It has been a member of the National Association of Evangelicals since 1943, the year after that organization was formed.
In the United States there are 1,322 EFCA churches and 170 church plants.
Seventeen districts support some 1,500 congregations spread across the United States. Pastors and churches can find encouragement and resources for both personal and ministry growth through our district networks.
In 1950, two existing collections of churches—the Norwegian Danish and Swedish Evangelical Free Church Associations—merged. The result? The Evangelical Free Church of America.
The word Free in the Evangelical Free Church's name refers to its congregational polity, meaning each member church is autonomous. The governing body of the EFCA is the Leadership Conference held annually. Delegates to the conference are credentialed ministers, chaplains, tenured university faculty, and representatives of each EFCA church. The Leadership Conference elects the board of directors which acts as the governing body between Leadership Conference meetings. As chair of the Directional Team, the President coordinates the work of the various national boards and ministries. The office of the President has responsibility for reviewing the licensing and ordaining of ministers and, in addition, oversees the discipline and restoration process for pastors.
The EFCA is divided into 17 regional districts which, among other responsibilities, examines and approves applicants for ordination. The denomination maintains headquarters in suburban Minneapolis, Minnesota, and engages in ministries in education, publications, senior housing, children's homes, and camp facilities. The EFCA supports the mission of Trinity International University and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois; Trinity Law School in Santa Ana, California; and supports Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia, Canada.
The Evangelical Free Church is a member of the International Federation of Free Evangelical Churches.