What does it mean to be a Presbyterian?

Objectives of the Lesson

At the end of this Lesson, the participant will:

  1. Know what makes one a Presbyterian
  2. Recognise the importance of living according to the Biblical principles which guide the Church.


    The Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG) follows the Reformed Tradition as expounded by John Calvin. This Church is unique because of the belief system, mode of governance and way of worship. The name “Presbyterian” has its roots from the Greek word “Presbuteros”, which means “elder”.

    This system is similar to the appointment of elders to govern congregations in the early Churches. In each of the Presbyterian churches, the Minister (and/or Catechist) and the Presbyters form the Session to govern the Congregation.

    Elders are admonished in 1 Peter 5:3 not to rule over those who have been placed in their care, but be examples for the flock. The beliefs and mode of governance informs the style of worship. A central principle of the Reformed tradition is “the is reformed and always reforming.”

    The PCG Congregation is a fellowship of men, women, youth and children who confess Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour and have agreed to worship the Lord Jesus Christ according to:

    Customs and Traditions (in the fellowship of the Presbyterians community and Life style or a community of Christians who are bound by PCG constitution, the Manual of Order, the Conventional Orders, Customs and the Traditions).

    Governance of the Church

    There are three types of Church government systems. These are:


    It is the rule of the Church by bishops. Authority rests in the priest appointed or elected by a higher authority. Examples are the Roman Catholic Church, Anglican Church and the Methodist Church of Ghana.


    This is a system of governance in which the Church is ruled by the Congregation.  The Congregation decides on all major issues through voting. All the Congregations are independent of each other. An example is the Baptist Church.


    Governance in the Presbyterian system is jointly exercised by elected elders from among the members and the official agent or the pastor. Presbyterian churches are not independent, but connected: the smaller unit is subject to the larger unit and the larger is subject to the whole.  

    The PCG, for example, has four courts: The Congregational Session, The District Session, The Presbytery Session and The General Assembly. The standard of leadership in the PCG is in accordance with 1 Peter 5:3.

    Our Style of Worship

    The pattern of worship is based on the principle of decency and orderliness as suggested by 1 Corinthians 14:33 & 40. The Order of Service is in the Worship Book and the songs sang are in the Presbyterian Hymn Book. There are three cycles in the Presbyterian Order:

    Our Approach to God:

    This starts with a call to worship as we humble ourselves before God through praises and confession of sins and assurance of forgiveness

    The Ministry of the Word:

    This is a distinctive and central part of the worship. It includes Bible Studies, Bible Reading, sermons and teachings.

    Our Response to God:

    What we do when we are touched by the Word of God. This includes intercessory prayer, supplication (individual request), offertory, thanksgiving, dedication and benediction.

    Main Message: Presbyterianism is a great Bible-centred and dynamic tradition.

    After reading the information and watching the video, go to the quiz for this topic and check your understanding and newly found knowledge

    Now go to the Puzzle to have some brain excercise to make you grounded in this topic. when you are not sure about anything, come back to the text or rewatch the video as a reminder.


    In living according to the Constitution and Traditions of the PCG, member s of Congregations should aim at contributing to the following:


    ‘To Be Christ – Centred, Self – Sustaining and Growing – Church’


    ‘To uphold the centrality of the Word of God and, through the enablement of the Holy Spirit, pursue a holistic ministry so as to bring all creation to glorify God’.

    These shall be achieved by:

    1. Mobilizing the entire Church for prayer;
    2. Improving Church growth through evangelism and nurture
    3. Attaining self – sufficiency through effective resource mobilization;
    4. Promoting socio – economic development through advocacy and effective delivery of social services;
    5. Upholding the reformed traditional; and
    6. Cherishing partnership with the worldwide body of Christ.

    The Presbyterian should therefore pursue the following daily, through the enablement of the Holy Spirit:

    1. Humility, Honesty, Simplicity, Hard Work and Inward piety
    2. Being strict on moral discipline
    3. Being trained to be self – reliant, resourceful and serious and pay detailed attention to Christian life etc
    4. Respect for everyone for example parents, spouse, adults, children, teachers, siblings, friends, etc
    5. Efficiency and thoroughness, a practical attitude to life, never fearing or shirking our duty, work obligation and responsibility. Duty conscious and dependable.
    6. Deep respect and reverence for the Scriptures as the Word of God.
    7. A sense of inner contact and consciousness of the immanence (God’s indwelling the universe)
    8. A determination to live as a Christian all the days of his/her life in the membership and fellowship of the Church. That is accepting Christ Jesus as Lord and Saviour and also to worship Christ Jesus as Lord and King in the fellowship of the Presbyterian Church.
    9. Trying to live as the salt and the light of the earth.
    10. Making ourselves useful, kind and industrious in all works of the community.
    11. Disciplining our thoughts and actions as benefiting Christians.