6. Congregational Government
Baptists practice congregational government because they believe that all believers are equal in Christ. There is no separate ruling class. There is to be no hierarchy in Baptist churches. Jesus Christ is the only head of the church. Colossians 1:18 says, “And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.” (E.S.V.) Galatians 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Baptists also believe in the autonomy of the local church. No denominational officials dictate what local churches do. However, Baptist churches do associate with other Baptists churches to be better able to perform such tasks as world mission.
The New Testament does not lay down rules as to how churches are to be governed. There are offices mentioned such as pastors, elders, deacons and evangelists and there are qualifications given for those who hold these offices, but there is no specific church explicitly stated.
Unfortunately, many Baptist churches only maintain the illusion of congregational government. Nominating committees choose who will fulfill the offices in the church and the congregational merely votes to ratify these choices. Then these officers then choose the nominating committee for the next year and so the cycle goes. Many people in the church are not involved at all in the decisions that are made. Attendance at business meetings is remarkably low.
Question: Why are so few people involved in the work of the local church?