Chambers Dictionary defines Congregationalism as "a
form of Church government where each Church is independent in the
management of its own affairs." Whilst this is correct
it does not display the motivation or spirit of Congregationalism.
their lead from the Acts of the Apostles, Congregationalists believe
that everyone who accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour is able
to speak with Jesus through prayer. Each Church member has as much
right to express his or her understanding of the Divine will as
does his neighbour. There is no select Priesthood. The Minister
and Deacons are just the leaders in a community of equals. The Church
Meeting at which each member has the right to speak and vote is
Sovereign in the affairs of the Church. Each member has both the
privilege and the duty to represent Christ to other people.
doctrine, known as the Priesthood of all
Believers, is the cornerstone of Congregationalism.
It leads to great freedom but also great responsibility. The individual
has to think for him or herself, and cannot place responsibility on
a Priest who acts as an interpreter of God's will.
Church Meeting seeks the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Since each Chuch
Meeting may be so guided, the denomination cannot overrule its wishes.
The Federation is exactly what its name says; a Federation of independent
Churches. They cooperate and help each other but cannot be ruled from