How to Access the COGIC Judicial System

The Ecclesiastical Jurisdictional Pastors and Elders Council is the gate way to the COGIC Judicial system.    The exception is when the charges are against a Bishop which would be filed with the Board of Bishops. 

All charges against a Pastor or a local Church must be filed with the General Secretary, and the Jurisdictional Secretary. 

  • The Jurisdictional Secretary shall forward the charges to the Jurisdictional Bishop. 
  • The Jurisdictional Bishop  shall appoint an investigating committee of from three to five members who will examine the facts and report to the Bishop their findings.  If the charges are without merit, they will be dismissed and all parties including the General Secretary will be notified.   If the charges are found to have merit, the Bishop shall send it to the Jurisdictional Pastors and Elders Council and the Pastors and Elders Council Secretary shall give written notice to all principle parties and copies of the notices  shall be filed with the General Secretary in Memphis. 
  • Once the Bishop sends the charges to the Pastors and Elders Council it is solely responsible to  conduct the trial. The Bishop carries out their judgment. 

A Pastor can only legitimately be removed (per the COGIC Constitution) after having been found guilty in a Pastors and Elders Council trial.  He may be suspended for sexual misconduct, but unless he resigns, his permanent removal can only happen if he is found guilty at a trial.  He may appeal an adverse ruling to the General Council of Pastors and Elders. The trial of a Jurisdictional Official is the same as a Pastor.   Complaints against local members would be handled at the local church. 

Always send your communications via both Certified Mail, and First Class Mail*, even to the Jurisdictional Secretary, this establishes a paper trail which is accepted in a court of law.  Always save the green return card as well as the proof of mailing receipt.  If the addressee does not pick the mailing up, do not open it when it is returned to you.  The postmark on an unopened package as well as the receipt still serves as proof it was sent.  * Also send it via regular first class mail, this is in case they refuse to accept it. One other interesting thing to note, as the  Executive Branch, the General Board no longer has any Judicial Duties in the Constitution (except they do adjudicate the departments.  Sunday School, YPWW, etc.)

* I was corrected on this point so I am passing the information along

(The word shall removes personal discretion from the individual.  Failure to follow the instructions is in itself a chargeable offense; nonfeasance.)


In the Church of God in Christ, the trustees do not have the authority to remove a Pastor themselves.  The only way anyone including a Bishop (except for sexual misconduct) can remove a Pastor, who doesn’t want to leave, is when a majority of the members file charges and it goes through the Pastors and Elders Council.  If the Pastor is teaching things that violate doctrine or living an immoral lifestyle, and his church supports him, the church can be brought up on charges by one member of the church, filing charges against that church.  The church could then be tried by the Pastors and Elders Council.  If a crime has been committed, it should be reported to the authorities.

Procedures and Offenses which can be cause for a trial.

Offenses for which a Church may be tried; DISCIPLINE OF A CHURCH

The only way, a Church of God in Christ Pastor can be involuntarily removed, is by following the procedures found in the manual.   You can find the procedures by opening the document below.

Offenses for which a Pastor may be tried; Article VIII, Section B

Offenses for which a Bishop may be tried; TRIAL OF A BISHOP

Procedures to follow if charges are filed against a Bishop, if the correct procedure and form is not followed it can be thrown out. (PROCEDURES)




  1. These are impressive articles. Keep up the noble be successful.

  2. Elder Jackson says:

    When it comes to national assessments can a Jurisdiction levey an additional fee on to the assessment and deny pastors and Elders the right to receive credentials if they do not pay the additional fees. For example,the report for a pastor is $400, but the Jurisdiction raises it to $500 and tells the pastor he cannot vote, attend General Assembly or receive his credentials if he only pays $400.

    • admin says:

      Yes, they can. Remember your Bishop has to sign your certificate. If you do not pay your Jurisdictional assessment they would claim you are not in good standing with your Jurisdiction keep you from being a delegate, even if you have payed your national report. Since the rule that qualify what it means to be in good standing “in good standing” are subjective your Bishop gets to define them. This can be changed by working with the General Council of Pastors and Elders and the General Assembly.

      • Elder Jackson says:

        Sorry but I gave the wrong email address in my first submission.
        I am not sure this is correct based on another response to my question. I am told that the National Church by way of the General Assembly sets the assessments and not the Jurisdiction. The Jurisdiction does in fact have the power to set assessments that relate to the Jurisdiction. However, what I am saying is that the Jurisdiction attached a fee over and above the required fee for getting your annual credentials. Then told the pastors if they did not pay them they were not going to get their credentials. I believe I also read this in the Constitution as well. If pastor are complying fully and then the Jurisdiction decides it wants more money and levies an additional assessment on the pastor over and above what the General Assembly has set that is not in keeping with our Constitution. If the Jurisdiction wants more more all it has to do is ask. But to tie a fee that has nothing to do with the cost for getting your credentials and then withholding credentials because you don’t have it or disagree with it is shameful and deceptive. It’s extortion and/or form of coercion.

        • admin says:

          I do understand, and yes that is what it says. However, your Bishop and Jurisdictional Secretary sign your certificate. You can call it whatever you want but the Bishop can claim you are not in good standing and not sign it. I have witnessed this. One man that comes to mind paid his report, because he did not pay the jurisdictional report the Bishop did not issue him a certificate thus denying him his right to be a delegate. You can appeal to the credential holders committee but they usually side with the Bishop

    • admin says:

      Any amount above what the National assesses is kept by the Jurisdictional Bishop. It was probably a way to increase the money he receives.

  3. Elder Jackson says:

    So, essentially you are telling me tht the Bishop can make a false accusation, deny you your rights and then be supported by the system and get away with it. That’s not correct. If the constitution says one thing and we do another any court of law will refer first to our constitution first and then make us abide by it. You may need to let someone answer this question who has a legal background.

    • admin says:

      It has happened. Not what I heard, what I have first person knowledge of. This is exactly what was done in Wichita, Kansas with the help of Enoch Perry III. I have sent more contact info in an email.

  4. Rob says:

    Another question I had was in the bylaws regarding trial and discipline against a church I know what disorganizing a church is what is exactly do they mean when they say reorganization of a church

    • admin says:

      That I don’t know but I will try and find out. Just a guess, remove all officers and treat it like it was a new church, New Pastor etc. but that is just my guess. I will try to find out though

  5. Rob says:

    I was wondering what the bylaws meant when it said “REORGANIZATION” of a chruch I know what disorganziation of a chruch is but “REORGANZIATION??” Also has a church ever been tried

  6. Rob says:

    Just wondering about when a church is tried for those offenses listed. It says if found guilty the church may be
    disorganized or reorganized. Wonder what they mean by reorganized and has it ever happened. Also wonder has there ever been a COGIC church tried according to these bylaws before and if so what was the cause and results

    • Rob says:

      Sorry got cut off and didn’t think my question got posted i reposted if you would please remove two of these it’s the same question.

  7. Rob says:

    Okay a pastor of a local congregation can be tried and charged for those foregoing offenses such as Personal misconduct etc now how does is an “ELDER” who for example is not a pastor of a congregation end up being tried

  8. Rob says:

    Or can he be tried or is it more like he is just pulled down by his Pastor or Bishop of his jurisdiction.

    • admin says:

      I have looked at the Blue and Red Book, The Black Book, and the Green and White Book. There is not a definitive process in any of them. It would be the Pastor who would discipline any local member. Some may choose to have a trial and some may not. If anyone out there has a document that would shed light on this would you please share it.

  9. Willie Green says:

    Who appoints the Ecclesiastical Council to hear a case against a church? Both the Official Manual (p.29) and The Book of Certified Amendments (Green/Book p.31) say the Jurisdictional Bishop. Yet, this web page says it is the Jurisdictional Council of Pastors and Elders. Is this a conflict?

    • admin says:

      No, the Official Manual has not been updated since 1972,the Green and White Book certified amendments was basically a rehash of the Constitution/Charter. The Ecclesiastical Council was changed by resolution which mandated all Jurisdictions have PAEC in April of 1990. The Jurisdictional PAEC is the first level in the COGIC judicial system. Whenever the General Assembly votes on something and it passes, it becomes the law of COGIC. That resolution is found on page 81 & 82 of the Green and White book.

    • admin says:

      After I read your question again, if they are appointed, it would be by the Bishop. But that would only happen if he didn’t know of or chose to ignore the resolution.

      • Willie Green says:

        I agree that the Amendments and Resolution found in the Green/White book are in effect and force after they are approved (Article IX, p. 37 Official Manual). However, the Resolution found on pages 81,82 addressing the PAEC references Article VIII. Section B Paragraph D and F which refer to Trials of Pastors and do not refer to Trials of Local CHurches addressed in Article VIII, Section A, paragraphs c and d which says the Bishop SHALL appoint the Ecclesiastical Council. Who is legally required to appoint to make the appointment when the Local Church is being tried?

        • admin says:

          It took me a while to get my documents. I have uploaded a copy of the Rules & Regulations for the General Council of Pastors & Elders in the Library tab of this site “Rules & Regulations”. In it you can see what the procedures are the Jurisdictional Pastors and Elders Council is the Jurisdictional Trial Court. The Bishop can appoint a prosecutor. But once the Bishop forwards the charges to them the PAEC handles it from there. Unfortunately, when they make an amendment or resolution, they don’t update the manuals. Most people don’t know there have been so many changes especially in the section dealing with Pastoral appointments after the death of a Pastor. There are changes being proposed now. I strongly suggest that everyone who is eligible to be a delegate get involved with the General Assembly.
          The General Assembly at the direction of Chairman Hunt is attempting to bring all the amendments, rules,etc.together and compile them into one book.
          I don’t have all the answers and if anyone has any later documents please share them.
          God Bless You

          • admin says:

            Bro. Willie Green was correct. At this time, the Jurisdictional Bishop appoint the Investigation Committee of 3 to 5 members and he also appoints the Ecclesiastical Council of five (5) Pastors. The Ecclesiastical Council hears the case, renders a verdict, the majority decision prevails. The Church has a 30 day time limit to file an appeal to the Judiciary Board. The Ecclesiastical Council is not the Jurisdictional Pastors and Elders Council though.
            I thank you for your help.

  10. Rob says:

    Has a church ever been tried though. Have you ever heard of a church being tried say for any of the offense/s listed and if so what became of that congregation?

  11. Brother Rob says:

    I was wondering if the jurisdiction can remove or “Defrock” a minister like other organizations do such as the Assemblies of God or Methodists, Catholics where they are really no longer even recognized as being even ordained.

    • admin says:

      Yes there are things a minister can be charged with and defrocked if found guilty. You must file formal charges and it would then go through the Jurisdictional Judicial System.

  12. Hannah says:

    I would like to file a official complaint against my former pastor for sexual misconduct. I read that the complaint can be thrown out if incorrectly filed. Is there a form or a guideline to follow that you could direct me to?

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