What Can Baptists Do to Help Each Other?

By Jeff Straub

Baptists place a priority on the autonomy of each local assembly. Individual churches have no power structure outside and over the local body. Some see this as the weakness of our polity, while we see this as our strength. Each church has liberty to handle its own affairs without interference from a central denominational power. We have no district superintendents, no directors of missions, no convention presidents, and no bishops who interfere with our church decisions.

Generally, this polity works well. We call our own pastors; set our own budgets; own and maintain our own buildings and properties; determine our own ministries, both locally and internationally; and most importantly, we set our own theological priorities. This gives each church the right to carry out its ministry as it sees fit. We still recognize that the head of the church is the Lord Jesus Christ, not the pastor or some form of board—elders or deacons. Each church is accountable to God for its ministry.