The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is a confessional and a connectional church, distinguished by the representation of elders — laymen and laywomen — in its government. The church has a membership of 2.3 million in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Currently there are nearly 11 thousand congregations, over 21,000 ordained ministers, 1,100 candidates for ministry and more than 94,000 elders.
Some of the principles articulated by John Calvin remain at the core of Presbyterian beliefs. Among these are the sovereignty of God, the authority of the scripture, justification by grace through faith and the priesthood of all believers. What these principles mean is that God is the supreme authority throughout the universe. Our knowledge of God and God’s purpose for humanity comes from the Bible, particularly what is revealed in the New Testament through the life of Jesus Christ. Our salvation (justification) through Jesus is God’s generous gift to us and not the result of our own accomplishments. It is everyone’s job – ministers and lay people alike – to share this Good News with the whole world.
Presbyterians are BELIEVERS and DOERS
WE BELIEVE – in the Great Ends of the Church, as set forth in our Book of Order: “the proclamation of the Gospel for the salvation of humankind; the shelter, nurture, and spiritual fellowship of the children of God; the maintenance of divine worship; the preservation of the truth; the promotion of social righteousness; and the exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the world.”
WE BELIEVE – in a theology of mission, as expressed in the Westminster Confession of Faith: “… Christ hath commissioned his Church to go into all the world and to make disciples of all nations. All believers are therefore under obligation … to contribute by their prayers, gifts, and personal efforts to the extension of the Kingdom of Christ throughout the whole earth.”
WE DO – mission and its related functions in “good Presbyterian order” through the structures of our General Assembly, synods, presbyteries and local churches, which provide accountability in a connectional system.
WE DO – mission in partnership locally, nationally and globally by prioritizing our available resources, guided by the emphases given by our General Assembly, the biannual meeting of clergy and lay commissioners who represent the presbyteries of the church.