How many Presbyterians does it take to change a light bulb? It takes a council, in stated meeting, to determine if a new light bulb is in the ministry plan of the council, if there is funding for a new light bulb, and if persons can be called who will faithfully carry out this mission.
One of the hallmarks of presbyterian belief and governance is that we don’t place much decision-making authority with individuals, who are prone to “idolatry and tyranny.” (F-2.05) Instead, decisions about the mission, ministry, and governance of the Presbyterian Church are made by ordered groups of people gathered in “councils.” These councils, from most local (governs a congregation) to most inclusive (governs the whole denomination), are called session, presbytery, synod, and General Assembly. (F-3.0203)
The session is the most local council. Each congregation is led and governed by its session which is responsible for the congregation’s worship, programs, property, finances, and membership. The session is composed of persons elected by the congregation – ruling elders and installed pastors. (G-3.0201)