Church Governance Types

Church Governance types

Church Governance Overview It’s helpful to start with an understanding of the different types of church governance. Below is a brief description of some of the many forms of governance found in churches. (Ask your church leadership for more information about your church’s unique theological and governance framework.)

Pastor-led – Pastor-led churches typically have a strong pastor leader with a small board of elders that provides accountability to the pastor.

Board-led – In a board-led church, the board is self-perpetuating. The board selects the pastor and votes on his continuing to serve the congregation.

Congregational – In a congregational model, many or most decisions regarding the functioning of the church are made in a congregational setting, with members voting on decisions. This may include hiring and firing pastors and setting budgets, compensation, programs, capital expansion, and more.

Presbyterian polity – A method of church governance set apart by the rule of assemblies of presbyters, or elders.

Episcopal polity – A hierarchical form of church governance in which the chief local authorities are bishops.

Connexcionalism polity – This type of governance is characterized by a strong central organization that holds an annual conference. The connexion is further divided into districts in the charge of a bishop or similar title. Ministers are assigned to congregations by bishops and lay members are given representation at regional meetings.

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