The Church of God in Christ is presided over by a system much like the American federal government. It is divided into three branches: executive, judicial, and legislative. The executive branch contains the Presiding Bishop, the General Board, and the General Secretary. The judicial branch contains the Board of Bishops and the Judiciary Board, as well as all of the denomination’s elders and pastors. The legislative branch is also called the General Assembly, and any member of the denomination is eligible to join.
The Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ is Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr. He is the fifth Presiding Bishop, having been appointed in 2007. Blake is also the senior pastor of the West Angeles Church of God in Christ. He was born in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1940. Upon moving to Los Angeles, he became pastor of the West Angeles Church in 1969 and helped grow its membership from 50 to around 25,000. Blake has a Doctorate of Divinity from California School of Theology, as well as a law doctorate and several honorary degrees. He is pro-life and anti-LGBTQ+ rights.
The General Board is responsible for rules regarding membership, as well as “sustaining and perpetuating spiritual order within the Church.” It is made up of twelve bishops, chosen from the Board of Bishops (see Judicial Branch) to serve a term of four years. The Board convenes at least three times a year, and can be called together by the Presiding Bishop if he deems it necessary. The secretary of the board, called the General Secretary, is responsible for maintaining data relevant to COGIC and overseeing the ministers of the denomination.
The judicial branch contains the Board of Bishops. As the name implies, this is the collective group of all COGIC bishops. However, most disputes are settled by the Judiciary Board, which is made up of nine members from various parts of the church (Bishops, clergy, and members) who serve terms no longer than 14 years.
The legislative branch of COGIC is open to any members of the church, and is presided over by a Chairman and a Vice Chairman. It is known as the General Assembly. The General Assembly has full power over the doctrine of COGIC, can make budgets for the church, and has veto power over the executive branch.
COGIC sponsors many conferences and other events yearly. These conferences are generally directed towards specific types of people, e.g.: men’s conferences, women’s conferences, clergy conferences, and leadership conferences. They are frequently in the news as well speaking out about current events.
COGIC is a global denomination, with churches in over 60 countries around the world. It is the fifth largest Protestant denomination in America, and the largest Pentecostal denomination, by its own reckoning. According to the COGIC website, it has over 6.5 million members in 12,000 congregations. COGIC also has multiple ways of getting its message to the masses, with an app, online streaming service, and TV on demand.