The Church of Scotland is a presbyterian church, which means that all members and groups have equal say or influence in its direction. The Church does not have a head of faith as that role is God's alone. How the Church of Scotland operates is determined by the General Assembly, the highest court of the Church. Meetings of the General Assembly are chaired by the Moderator of the General Assembly. He or she leads daily worship, keeps order, rules on points of order, and signs documents on behalf of the Assembly. The role is an honorary one, held for 12 months.
The Church relies on the teachings of the Bible as its guide to life and belief. In 1992 the General Assembly approved this statement of faith to sum up the Church of Scotland's beliefs:
We believe in one God:
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
three persons living in the unity of love.
We praise God the Father:
in love he created the universe through his eternal Word and Spirit;
by his power he sustains and directs it.
He has made us his sons and daughters,
to share his joy and to live together in peace.
We confess Jesus Christ, God the Son:
in love, by the power of the Holy Spirit, he became one of us;
to fulfil the promise to Israel and to reconcile the world with God.
In his life he was obedient to his Father's will;
he forgave sinners, brought hope to the lost,
healed the sick, and set free those who were oppressed.
In his death on the cross he bore the sin of the world;
on the third day he was raised from death by the power of God.
He triumphed over all the powers of evil;
now he reigns in heaven, sharing his risen life with us.
We trust God the Holy Spirit:
in love he calls the Church into being.
He unites us to Christ, in whom we are justified.
He guides our understanding of the Scriptures,
as he also guided and inspired their writers.
He sanctifies us in sacraments,
and imparts to the faithful the fullness of Christ.
He assures us of forgiveness.
He empowers us to be disciples,
embodying the love of Jesus in the Church and in the world.
We rejoice in the gift of eternal life:
We hope for the coming resurrection, through the resurrection of Christ.
We look for his coming again in power and glory,
to judge the world and to make all things new.
Then all creation shall rejoice in communion with the Father, through the Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit, one God blessed forever.