Beyond the Business:

3 Additional Benefits of the PCA’s General Assembly

Excitement builds this time of year as elders from across the PCA anticipate gathering for our annual General Assembly this summer in Richmond, Virginia.

This year’s General Assembly will be a first in the history of the PCA because it is a coordinated effort among four different presbyteries. The local host committee includes representatives from Blue Ridge, James River, Korean Capital, and Tidewater presbyteries. All these members volunteer their time to provide the best possible experience for commissioners, exhibitors, and guests.

Anyone who has attended a General Assembly understands this annual gathering is significant not only for the business to be discussed and decided but also because of the relationships developed and activities that occur beyond the business.

The General Assembly provides three benefits to the unity, purity, and mission of the PCA beyond the business it considers.

#1: Worship. It is built into our polity that meetings should be characterized by prayer, praise, and preaching. The General Assembly provides three opportunities for elders and attendees from across the country and even around the world to gather and exalt the name of Christ through song and sermons.

The worship services are coordinated by the local host committee with support from the Administrative Committee. They invite ministers and worship leaders to participate in reminding us that our chief aim is to glorify God. The messages aren’t only delivered by pastors. We’ve also been privileged to hear from ruling elders who serve as attorneys, judges, pilots, businessmen, academics, and journalists.

It has been two decades since the General Assembly was hosted in the sanctuary of a PCA church. In 2002, the Assembly was hosted at Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham. The standing room only crowd for the worship services made it apparent that our denomination loves to gather for worship and to do so safely would require using local convention centers. Today, the Administrative Committee works years in advance to secure facilities and coordinate local host committees so we can worship together as a body of believers.  

#2: Education. The BCO reminds us that the General Assembly “is responsible to encourage and promote the fulfillment” of the Great Commission (BCO 14-1-2). One of the ways this happens is through the seminars and panel discussions offered throughout the course of the week. These educational opportunities offer elders the opportunity to learn about topics ranging from employment law to evangelism.

Some of the most crowded rooms at every General Assembly are the special seminars and panel discussions. The Administrative Committee works months in advance of each Assembly to solicit seminar proposals, coordinate schedules, reserve rooms, and make sure every seminar has the audio-visual equipment needed.

The Administrative Committee with help from Covenant College provides time, space, and coordination. Even after commissioners have left town, these seminars, sermons, and panel discussions are made available through the Gifts and Graces podcast produced by the Administrative Committee.

#3: Fellowship. Perhaps the most tangible and remembered benefit of our yearly convocation is our fellowship. As commissioners personally interact with each other outside the docketed business, they are encouraged and refreshed by the bonds of fellowship they form over the years. Such fellowship helps unite us beyond differences of region, generation, and even perspective so that we may serve Christ in the love and trust that fuels our mission and witness.

Fellowship is built into the docket of General Assembly through long breaks, including the recent addition of an entire evening free of official business. Every year, the Administrative Committee helps seminaries and other ministries host their own gatherings for friends and alumni throughout the week. Relationships are even formed among entire families through the activities coordinated for wives and children.  

The AC plans and executes our General Assemblies, facilitating the business of our denomination and offering meaningful corporate worship experiences, educational seminars, and opportunities for personal interaction. This annual gathering remains important for our life together as a branch of Christ’s church. We pray the General Assembly will continue to bear fruit from the official business it conducts and beyond our business for years to come.

Registration is now open! To learn more about the 51st General Assembly visit