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"Reformed" defines the doctrinal beliefs of the PCA, which holds that the purest expressions of scriptural doctrine are found in the Calvinistic creeds, particularly the Westminster Confession of Faith.The PCA's representative form of church government is rooted in its name -- presbyterian. Local churches are governed by elders (presbyters) elected by the church members. This form of government extends through the regional presbyteries, which facilitate connectionalism, to the national General Assembly, which expresses PCA's connectionalism and the bond of union between/among all the churches.

That work is carried out by four program committees -- Mission to the World, Mission to North America,  Christian Education and Publication and Reformed University Ministries. In addition, there is the Office of the Stated Clerk, which is responsible for the administration of the General Assembly; the PCA Foundation, which teaches more effective stewardship; and the Insurance, Annuities, and Relief Board, which provides health, life and disability insurance coverage and retirement plans for PCA pastors, lay church workers, and the staffs of PCA committees, agencies, and institutions.

Two-thirds of the PCA's churches and members are in the Southeast, and but the PCA's influence extends far beyond the walls of the local church. Through Mission to the World, about 600 foreign missionaries are working in about 60 nations. Because of the unique relationship between Mission to the World and over 30 mission agencies with which some of PCA's missionaries are working, many people consider PCA's influence to be far greater than its size might indicate. Further, with close to 160 chaplains in the military and in hospitals, the Gospel is proclaimed to a rather large audience around the world not reached through usual ecclesiastical channels.

Because of the emphasis on education, many members of the PCA are teachers and professors at all levels of education, including large universities and quite a few theological seminaries. Mission to North America assists presbyteries and local congregations in their church-planting efforts through vision communication, strategic planning, and the recruitment, assessment, and training of church planters. Christian Education and Publications' mission is to glorify God by serving the PCA in its commitment to creating disciples. It does this by teaching and training leaders and church members as well as by providing a biblically based Sunday school curriculum for all ages through its publishing house, Great Commission Publications. The Women in the Church is under the oversight and direction of the Christian Education and Publications Committee and provides seminars, retreats, and materials for women. The Office of the Stated Clerk is under the oversight of the AdministrativeCommittee, whose ministry is service.

In addition to planning, coordinating, and arranging facilities and services for the annual meeting of the General Assembly, the ruling body made up of about 2,980 commissioners (ministers and ordained lay leaders), the Clerk's office serves as a liaison between the General Assembly and the presbyteries and sessions, as well as other denominational bodies.