How the Church is organised

Organising more than 15 million people is no easy task. The Seventh-day Adventist Church uses a representative form of church governance. This simply means members of local churches elect representative bodies and officers to carry out the day-to-day work of the church.


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There are four levels of governance:

  1. Local church
  2. Conference, mission or field
  3. Union conference or Union mission
  4. General Conference


Each level is formed and elected democratically and operates various institutions, such as:

  • education
  • health care
  • publishing
  • media (radio, print, television, web and satellite)
  • aid and development
  • family relationsDid you know...


1. Local church

The local church is a body of individual believers. For example, Wahroonga Seventh-day Adventist Church is a local church in Sydney.

2. Conference, mission or field

The conference, mission or field is a body of churches in a particular state, province or territory. Wahroonga Seventh-day Adventist Church is part of the Greater Sydney Conference.

If the body of churches is self-supporting, it is a conference. If not, it is a mission or field.

3. Union Conference of Union Mission

The union conference or union mission is a body of conferences or missions or fields within a larger territory. The Greater Sydney Conference is part of the Australian Union Conference.

4. General Conference

The General Conference is the worldwide headquarters of the church. It has 13 divisions, each consisting of a body of union conferences or union missions. Each division has its own administrative responsibility. The Australian Union Conference is part of the South Pacific Division of the General Conference.

The church also operates a variety of educational, health-care, publishing and other institutions within these four levels. All levels of the church, including these institutions, have representation at the General Conference.