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.
The highest authority of the global Seventh-day Adventist Church is the General Conference in Session (or “Session” for short). Every five years, it serves as the forum for electing world church officers and voting changes to the church's constitution. During Session, delegates also hear reports from each of the 13 administrative regions of the church (Divisions).
The General Conference Executive Committee is the second highest governing body of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, after General Conference Session. In between Sessions, the Executive Committee has the power to appoint committees; elect and/or remove officers, directors and associate directors of departments/associations/services; and effect the retirement of an elected or appointment position.
Seventh-day Adventist beliefs are meant to permeate your whole life. Growing out of scriptures that paint a compelling portrait of God, you are invited to explore, experience and know the One who desires to make us whole.