Leadership and Structure
The denominational structure of the Brethren in Christ Church Church in the U.S. is designed to connect and support local congregations in the fulfillment of a common purpose—“to foster a fellowship of believers whose objective is to worship and obey the triune God and to proclaim His gospel to all people" (Manual of Doctrine and Government).
Pastors and lay leaders from BIC congregations across the U.S. come together every two years in a General Conference to conduct the business of the Church, to approve ministry plans, and to create policies that guide the future direction of the denomination.
General Conference Board
Between General Conferences, the work of the denomination is guided by the General Conference Board. This body is comprised of the General Church leader(s), the treasurer, a member from each Regional Conference, seven persons that reflect the diversity of the wider church (at least four of whom are laypersons), and any other persons approved by General Conference.
Management responsibility of the wider Church, including administrative duties of the General Conference, coordination of all General Church boards, and implementation of the policies of the General Church to serve the regions and conferences, is delegated to a Leadership Council by the General Conference Board. This body is composed of the moderator/general secretary (General Church leaders), the bishops of the Regional Conferences, and the executive directors of ministry units of the General Church.
The General Conference has established seven Regional Conferences in order to more efficiently carry out the work of the General Church across the far-reaching geography of BIC U.S.. A bishop is selected to provide administrative and spiritual direction for each of the Regional Conferences. Boards of directors within the Regional Conferences are granted authority by the General Conference to recommend ministry plans for their regions, to act as trustees for conference property, and to provide for inspirational and promotional activities as deemed advisable. Each Regional Conference hosts an annual meeting, patterned after the biennial General Conference.
Individual churches that carry the name of Brethren in Christ are where the mission of the denomination is lived out on a daily basis. It is the responsibility of each local congregation to encourage believers through fellowship, worship, discipleship, and evangelism ministries in the building up of God’s kingdom. Further, BIC churches are expected to give loyal support to the programs and ministries of the General Church, including Cooperative Ministries.