The Seventh-day Adventist Church is governed by a form of democracy and is organized with a well-defined hierarchical structure, which gives powers and responsibilities to representatives and officials.
Five levels define the structure of the Church, from the individual member to the world organization:
Local Church or Group
It is the foundational level of the organizational structure and the public "face" of the denomination. Every baptized Adventist is a member of the world church and a local church and has voting power within that church. Each local church has a voluntary administrative commission, chosen annually by the church itself, which directs the plans and activities of the local church. The organization of several local churches under the jurisdiction of a pastor is called a district. Every local church belongs to some district. Districts vary in number of churches, but their local churches are theologically united, in addition to having strategies and evangelistic plans in partnership for a given locality in the short and medium term. The union of several districts forms a Mission / Association.
Local Mission or Association
Above the local church is the local mission / association. This part of the structure manages the organization and founding of local churches in states, provinces or territories. The mission / association is responsible for naming ministers, buying church lands, assisting in temple building, arranging the distribution of tithes and offerings, and making payments to pastors, laborers, and church officials. The Mission usually consists of a smaller territorial band and does not have the financial means to remain alone. The Association, however, may comprise part of a larger state, province or territory, and has the financial means to maintain it and assist missions. The organization of several Missions and Associations forms the Union.
Above the local association / mission is the Union, which incorporates a set of local associations / missions within a larger territory. The Union can be formed by several states, provinces and territories. The same traces the organization of the church to a certain locality, medium and long-term evangelistic plans, humanitarian organizations to meet the needs of associations, missions and districts. The Union of several "Unions" forms the Division.
Above the Union is the Division. The Division is made up of several countries and has presidents who coordinate all departments of the church in a continental manner. The Division outlines five-year goals, establishes schools, universities, hospitals, publishers, media centers (TV, Radio and Internet), penetration plans in Adventist-less venues, training, mass evangelism in metropoles or countries, Union, Association and Mission, sends missionaries, and promotes the gigantic events of the church. In all there are 13 Divisions across the globe that span 206 countries around the world.
The highest level of hierarchy within the church structure is the General Conference, which is the highest authority of the church and has the ultimate say in matters of conjecture, doctrine, and administrative matters. She is headed by a president, who is currently the American Pastor Ted Wilson, about 10 vice presidents, secretaries and treasurers, as well as the presidents of all departments and church ministries worldwide and their respective secretaries. Leaders of Divisions, Unions, Associations, Missions, delegates of some local churches and lay members meet every 5 years and choose the leaders of the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church by democratic vote at the General Conference sessions. The General Conference is responsible for all financial resources, sending offers for evangelistic missions, building temples, training, training and sending missionaries to countries without an Adventist presence, global evangelistic missions, as well as being responsible for the administrative and doctrinal unity of the church , fighting heresies, independent movements, or ministries that could somehow undermine Adventist unity. The headquarters of the General Conference is located in Washington, USA.
Each level reflects a democratic process of formation and election. Local churches elect their own officers. These same Churches elect delegations for elections in Associations or Missions, which occur every two or three years. A similar process occurs in the Unions, Divisions, and General Conference sessions.
Within these five levels the Church operates several institutions. Across the world, Adventists serve communities as diverse as possible while always striving to improve people's quality of life. Education, health and other related areas are priorities.
The divisions of the Adventist church in the world
Euro Asiática: Euro Asian administrative headquarters.