Since the government of the church should have order and be effective, it is necessary that it possess clear and reasonable form. The legislative, administrative, and judicial bodies, sometimes referred to as judicatories, are in regular gradation, session, presbytery, synod, and the General Assembly. The connectional nature of the church is expressed in the following governmental structure. The session exercises pastoral oversight and jurisdiction over a particular church; the presbytery over ordained ministers, sessions, and churches within a prescribed area; the synod over presbyteries, ministers, sessions, and churches within a prescribed area; and the General Assembly over synods, presbyteries, ministers, sessions, and churches. The General Assembly is the highest judicatory of this church and represents in one body all the particular churches thereof. It bears the title of the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church/Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America and constitutes the bond of union, peace, correspondence and mutual confidence among all its churches and judicatories.
The General Assembly shall meet as often as once every two years, at such time and place as may have been determined, and shall consist of commissioners from the presbyteries in the following proportions:
a. A presbytery having an active church membership of 1-200 shall be entitled to send one minister and one elder;
b. A presbytery having an active church membership of 201-400 shall be entitled to send two ministers and two elders;
c. A presbytery having an active church membership of 401-1000 shall be entitled to send three ministers and three elders;
d. A presbytery having an active church membership of 1001-above shall be entitled to send four ministers and four elders.
An elder must be serving as a member of a session at the time of the meeting of the General Assembly in order to be eligible to serve as a commissioner.
When an emergency shall require a meeting sooner than the time to which it stands adjourned, the Moderator, or in case of the Moderator's absence, death, or inability to act, the Stated Clerk shall with the written concurrence or at the written request of twenty commissioners, ten of whom shall be ministers and ten elders, representing at least five presbyteries, call a special meeting. The call shall give notice in writing at least sixty days prior to the proposed meeting, specifying the particular business of the intended meeting, to the stated clerks of all presbyteries, and to all commissioners and their alternates. Nothing shall be transacted at such a called meeting other than the particular business for which the General Assembly was convened.
Any twenty or more commissioners, of whom at least ten are ministers, and ten elders, being met on the day and at the place appointed shall be a quorum for the transaction of business.
The General Assembly has oversight and responsibility to:
a. Receive and decide all appeals, protests, and referrals regularly brought before it from the lower judicatories;
b. Bear testimony against error in doctrine and immorality in practice, injuriously affecting the church;
c. Decide in all controversies respecting doctrine, discipline, church property, and interpretation of the Constitution;
d. Institute and oversee the agencies necessary in its work;
e. Give its counsel and instruction in conformity with the government of the church in all cases submitted to it;
f. Review the records of the synods;
g. Take care that the lower judicatories observe the government of the church and redress what they may have done contrary to order;
h. Formulate budgets and assign shares to the presbyteries;
i. Concert measures for promoting the prosperity and enlargement of the church and create, divide, or dissolve synods;
j. Appoint persons to such labors as are under its jurisdiction;
k. Resolve schismatic contentions and disputations, according to the government and discipline of the church;
l. Receive under its jurisdiction other ecclesiastical bodies whose organization conforms to the doctrine and order of this church, and authorize synods and presbyteries to exercise similar power in receiving bodies suited to become constituents of those judicatories and lying within their geographical bounds, respectively;
m. Oversee the affairs of the whole church;
n. Correspond with other churches; and,
o. In general, recommend measures for the promotion of love, truth, and holiness throughout all the churches under its care.
If, for any cause the General Assembly shall fail to meet at the time and place to which it stands adjourned, it shall be the duty of the moderator, or, in case of the moderator's absence, death, or inability to act, the stated clerk, to call a meeting as early as practical, at such place as may be designated, for the transaction of the regular business. For this purpose notice shall be sent to the stated clerks of the presbyteries not less than sixty days prior to the meeting. In case of the absence, death, or inability to act of both the moderator and stated clerk, such meeting may, in like manner, be called by five commissioners, from any five of the presbyteries.