Our churches are individually autonomous and “presbyterian” in governance, with each congregation being led by a Session (or Council) consisting of Elders and Deacons.
It is not “congregational” in structure – that is, totally democratic, as found in many evangelical and Pentecostal churches, with authority vested in the congregation as a whole.
Neither is it of the “pyramid” kind with a hierarchy of bishops and archbishops.
The “presbyterian” model is what we find modelled in scripture in the books of Timothy and Titus.
The CRCA operates with three levels of governance:
The Session– a local congregation is guided by elected suitable Elders and Deacons who form the Session (Council).
The Session is the prime authority base within the CRCA. Individual members of the Session do not hold authority on their own.
The pastor is one among the members of the session and holds the Teaching Elder role.
The Classis– is the gathering of the Christian Reformed Churches in a particular state or area.
In NSW – combined with the ACT – thirteen churches meet once every three months, with each church represented by two delegates from their Session.
A Classis only has authority when it meets, that is, binding decisions cannot be made outside of it.
The Synod– is the gathering of all the Classes of the CRCA once every three years.
At Synods policies are formulated, directions are weighed up and new ways forward are explored.
As with a Classis, Synod only has authority when it meets, that is, binding decisions cannot be made outside of it.
The affairs of the CRCA are administered by the Synodical Business & Finance Committee and other matters affecting the church, as a whole, are looked after by the Synodical Interim Committee. Both only acting on decisions already made.