The Evangelical Free Church of America in an association of autonomous churches united around these theological convictions:
is an association of some 1,500 autonomous and interdependent churches united by a mutual commitment to serve our Lord Jesus Christ under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and obedience to the Word of God. We are committed to cooperate with one another in ministry and fellowship as we seek to fulfill the Great Commission which Christ has entrusted to His Church. The growing ministry of the EFCA currently extends to some 50 countries of the world.
in our society "Evangelical" and "Free" have come to mean different things to different people. Though they may seem outdated to some, or watered down to others, we invite you to read the definitions below to get a glimpse of why they are foundational to us as a denomination. Though they may be older terms, they are as relevant today as when they were chosen by our EFCA forefathers.
The term "Evangelical" refers to our faith and our theology. The EFCA was born out of a heritage of commitment to the authority and inerrancy of Scripture. We have deep convictions based on the authority of God’s Word, but we do not draw battle lines over minor points. Nor do we make minor issues of doctrine a test of fellowship in the local church. We are evangelical. We are committed to the proclamation of the Gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, and to the Scriptures as being the inspired, inerrant, authoritative and sufficient Word of God.
The term “Free” has two meanings. First, it's history; it refers to the fact that in Europe, the Free Church was free from the state church control. Second, it's theology, it refers to our local church polity in that each local church is autonomous, free from ecclesiastical and hierarchical control.
Here is how this is explained in Evangelical Convictions: A Theological Exposition of the Statement of Faith of the Evangelical Free Church of America (261):
"Though not included among our central doctrinal convictions, the Evangelical Free Church of America is congregational. That is, Evangelical Free Churches are autonomous and self-governing. [The Articles of Incorporation of the Evangelical Free Church mandate that the EFCA “shall be an association and fellowship of autonomous but interdependent congregations of like faith and congregational government” (II.A.)] We hold this as an integral part of our history and tradition, and on the basis of our understanding of biblical teaching."
In sum, we are evangelical, which is an affirmation of our "like faith," our theology, and our theological convictions we are free, which is an affirmation of our polity, our structure, our organization–we are autonomous, congregationally governed, and interdependent. (efca.org)