First Baptist Elsberry is an elder-led, congregational church. But what does that really mean? This is a great resource to read or listen to (11 minute listen).
Congregationalism is not some polity-extra that activates at a members’ meeting and deactivates once the congregation adjourns. The congregation’s oversight of the church’s membership, discipline, and doctrine ought to be happening all the time. It should shape and inform how the elders lead the church at all times. It should drive congregations to care for and nurture one another. One of the great benefits of congregational polity is that it forces congregations to remember that taking responsibility for other Christians isn’t just something good for you like eating your vegetables—it’s what makes you a church. Congregationalism means the whole congregation oversees the whole life of the church, all the time.