What is a "Presbyterian" Church
In the earliest "Greek" manuscripts of the New Testament "presbuteros" means "elder" and refers to the practice (dating back to the time of Moses in Exodus Chapter 18) of choosing leaders and advisors from among God’s people. Presbyterians are Christians whose churches are founded on this Biblical concept of democratic governance under the Word and Rule of God. The Presbyterian denomination is a form of Christianity democratically organized to embrace Biblical faith common to Christians throughout the ages and throughout the world.
Duly elected representatives of the congregation appoint church governing bodies. Each local church has a "governing body" called the "Session." (This includes the ordained pastors, and elders – all elected by the congregation).
The Session oversees the worship life and care of the church and the:
Deacons — elected by the congregation to coordinate and share in the church’s ministry of compassion.
Trustees – elected by the congregation to manage the property, legal and financial affairs of the church.
The overall church structure consists of 4 governing bodies:
- or local governing body Presbytery
- Elders and ministers from congregations in a geographical area (ours is Scioto Valley Presbytery
runs through the heart of Ohio from Marion in the north to Portsmouth in the south)
- Representatives elected from each Presbytery to oversee mission from several Presbyteries
(ours is the Synod of the Covenant)
General Assembly - The national governing body made up of equal numbers of lay people and pastors chosen by presbyteries.