The Seventh-day Adventist Church operates a democratic organization. Power and decision making comes ultimately from church members in the local congregations. Various church officers are elected by the church body as specified by the universal Church Manual of the global church. Positions must be filled by baptized members only; having membership in the local church. Local church officers terms run either 12 or 24 months. Offices are never elected permanently, although persons may be reelected indefinitely. The major administrative levels of the local church is:
The local church membership has the right to vote up (approve) or down (disapprove) any corporate proposal brought before the local church; or the global church which meets every 5 years at its General Session.
The most prominent church office is that of the Pastor or Minister. He/she is primarily the chief executive officer of the church.
Working with the pastor in the immediate local church administration level is the Board of Elders elected by the local church and ordained by the local pastor.
At the local church level, decisions are made by elected committees (ministries) through vote of its members. Major decisions by these committees must be ratified by the church members or by the Church Board. The day-to-day corporate and strategic running of Seventh-day Adventist churches is governed by the Church Board which is made up of the pastor/s, heads of elected committees (ministries) and elders. High-level corporate decisions must be brought by the Church Board to the local church membership for final approval.
The clerk is an elected position, and is responsible for the keeping of the church’s corporate records and adding and transfer of local membership. He/she also operates like an administrative assistant to the pastor/s.
The treasurer is an elected position responsible for financial accounting of the church's income and expenditure. The treasurer is responsible for keeping accounts, preparing financial reports to the Church Board, local Conference and church membership; and safeguarding the finances of the church
The global Seventh-day Adventist® Church is organized with a representative form of church government. This means authority in the Church comes from the membership of local churches. Executive responsibility is given to representative bodies and officers to govern the Church.
Four levels of Church structure lead from the individual believer to the worldwide Church organization:
The local church is made up of individual believers
The local conference, or local field/mission, is made up of a number of local churches in a state, province, or territory
The union conference, or union field/mission, is made up of conferences or fields within a larger territory (often a grouping of states or a whole country)
The General Conference, the most extensive unit of organization, is made up of all unions/entities in all parts of the world. Divisions are sections of the General Conference, with administrative responsibility for particular geographical areas.
The global church is served through its administration
of 13 world divisions and two attached fields. The General Conference (G.C) coordinates the global ministry of the Seventh-day
Adventist Church, a body set up under the belief that no man should be governed by the judgment of another, and any decision should be made by an assembly of its members.