Official Meetings of the Seventh-day Adventist Church
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a worldwide community of more than 20 million members, who confess Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and who are united in mission, purpose and belief. But how is an international organization that serves millions of people governed?
The Church’s internal governance is representative, with executive responsibility and authority assigned to its various entities and intuitions and their respective constituencies, boards and officers. The different organization levels follow constitutions or articles of incorporation, bylaws, and operating policies and guidelines.
The global denominational levels of the Seventh-day Adventist Church are as follows:
- General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (The world headquarters of the denomination, commonly referred to as the “General Conference” or the “GC”)
- 13 Divisions
- 132 Unions
- 626 Conferences and Missions
- 226,000(+) Local Churches and Companies
With the exception of Divisions*, each organizational unit has a defined membership, also known as a constituency. As constituents, members have the privilege of participating in deliberations and decision-making meetings of their respective organizational units.
The highest level of authority to each level of denominational organization is within the constituency meeting. While people may be elected to serve an organization at certain levels, each officer is accountable to the organization’s executive committee. An executive committee (or board in the case of institutions) is entrusted through policies or constitutions and bylaws with authority to govern between constituency meetings.
However, the executive committee (or board) is ultimately accountable to the constituency meeting of the organization concerned.
In short, the General Conference, Unions, Conferences/Missions, Local Churches/Companies are ultimately held accountable to their members, the constituents.
*Divisions have been established as an additional organizational unit to serve a defined geographical area. Therefore, divisions are not considered constituency-based.
What is Session? The General Conference Session is the forum for electing world church officers and voting changes to the church's constitution. Delegates also hear reports from each of the 13 administrative regions of the church. Voting delegates for Session represent world regions both by church population and the self-sustainability of administrative regions. The constitution…
What is the GC Executive Committee? The second highest governing body of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, after General Conference Session, which occurs every five years. In between Sessions, the Executive Committee is delegated the authority to act on behalf of the General Conference in Session. It has the power to appoint committees, such as the…