In matters of church order, we are committed to a Presbyterian system of government. This means that ruling and teaching elders, chosen and ordained according to Biblical standards, bear the office of oversight and rule in each local church. Ordained teaching elders (pastors) and ordained ruling elders serve together as a governing board called the Session.
Besides ruling elders and teaching elders, there are ordained deacons who have a ministry of practical service and mercy tasks within the church. The ordained offices are open to men only, consistent with I Timothy 2 & 3. There is a non-ordained board of deaconesses who assist the deacons especially in ministry to other women.
The primary power assigned to the members of the congregation is to elect their leadership as pastor, ruling elders and deacons and to approve major financial decisions as a corporation. Every PCA congregation owns all its property, buildings and real assets by sole entitlement, with no claim ever being placed upon these assets by the denomination.
We are in voluntary cooperation with other like-minded churches in a regional Presbytery and a national General Assembly. There is no outside hierarchy to give orders to the local congregation. The presbytery and General Assembly receive authority from the local churches, not the other way around. The Book of Church Order for the Presbyterian Church in America provides detailed guidelines for the structure of congregational life. This book can be examined in our church library.