How we are governed

Priesthood of all believers

Baptists believe that every believer has access to God through the Holy Spirit and the work of salvation in Jesus. As such there is no need for priests or ministers to act as an intermediary between God and ourselves. We are all priests. As Peter puts it we are all part of a royal priesthood.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9 

This affects the way we do church. 

Congregational government

Because we are all priests there is no division between clergy and laity. The authority of the church rests in the church meeting. 

Church members' meetings.

This is the gathered members of the local fellowship seeking to discern God’s will and purpose for them in that time and place. As such it is not a democracy but an autocracy where Jesus is the head of the church. Each Baptist church is independent and there is no headquarters or bishops or anyone else over them. The church meeting has often been seen as just dealing with practical matters but in it’s true state it is the most mportant part of the life of a Baptist church. For this reason membership is held in high esteem and should not be entered into recklessly.

Deacons and ministers.

These are elected members of the church called to serve the church and carry out the day to day functions on behalf of the membership. In the same way a minister or pastor is someone recognised by the church and called to serve using the gifts God has given them. They may or may not be paid to do such work and will always be subject to the authority of the church meeting.

How does this affect the way we do church?

The members of the church will meet to discuss and decide the ministry of the individual church using the gifts and abilities God has given the members. This may or may not include calling an ordained minister to lead or opting for some other form of leadership.