The Congregational Way
A Very Brief History of Congregationalism
Congregational Churches are sometimes known as the “Church of the Pilgrims” after the small congregations of the early 1600’s. The people of these congregations moved from England to the new world in pursuit of religious freedom. From them, we inherited a wonderful spiritual heritage, one that is uniquely suited to our contemporary world.
This is a tradition that has deep convictions based upon the Word of God as each person interprets that Word according to the dictates of conscience, under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. This naturally attracts men and women of genuine conviction, of adventurous faith, and of gracious regard for each other’s sincerity to the Congregational Christian fellowship.
Since every Congregationalist possesses full liberty of conscience in interpreting the Gospel, we are a diverse group of people united under Christ. We believe there is strength in diversity and by it, there are unending opportunities to learn from each other and to grow in faith.
- Christ alone is the head of the church
- All church members are spiritually equal and called to the work of ministry
- Every local church is autonomous and complete
- Each local church is called into wider associations of fellowship
- Believers are bound to one another in voluntary covenant
- Every Christian possesses full liberty of conscience in interpreting the Gospel
- The Bible is fully sufficient as our guide in matters of faith and practice and will inspire individuals and direct the church with fresh light and truth for every generation
The Art and Practice of the Congregational Way
For a fuller introduction to Congregationalism, you may read or download The Art and Practice of the Congregational Way. This publication is also available in hard copy from the From the National Association of Congregational Churches (NACCC) office. Geared to introduce church members to Congregationalism, it is especially suitable for new member and confirmation classes, as well as church leaders.
Please also see: Massachusetts Association of Congregational Christian Churches