How We Work

See how the pieces fit

To help us live out our mission together, here’s how the RCA works:

Church & Consistory

Each church has a consistory/board that includes the church’s minister/s and a handful of church members (deacons and elders) who’ve been elected by all the other members. The consistory helps keep the church’s mission on track.


Churches located near each other send representatives to meet together as a “classis.” (Members  of what is called an “affinity” classis  share a common ethnicity, race, ministry focus, etc., and their churches are not necessarily located near each other.) Each classis supervises the churches and ministers in its bounds.

Regional Synod

All the classes (plural of classis, pronounced “class-eez”) in one region (the Mid-Atlantics for example) make up a “regional synod.” There are seven regional synods in the United States and one in Canada. Each oversees the classes in its area and helps them share the good news.

General Synod

Each year, ministers and elders from each classis and regional synod meet as the General Synod. They make decisions that shape denominational programs and policies.

GSC: the Board of Directors

General Synod Council (GSC) members are ministers and elders chosen from the General Synod. GSC serves as the executive committee of the General Synod; its members carry out the work of the RCA in local and global mission, advocacy, equipping leaders, planting new churches, and much more. GSC members serve for a term. The general secretary and GSC staff work to carry out the directives of the GSC.

GSC Staff

GSC staff is another way to refer to the denominational staff: the RCA general secretary, team leaders and support staff for Transformed & Transforming initiatives, and the staff of benefits services, the Church Growth Fund, communication, development, finance, Global Mission, the Ministerial Formation Certification Agency, and operations.

The work of GSC staff is directed by the General Synod Council (GSC), which is the executive committee of the General Synod.