Research Projects

"Protocol is doing what is right at the proper time." -- Geraldine E. Miller

Communion Cups


by Stella Pete

The following is Mother Pete's outline as presented in a seminar on Protocol. Print Version:   To print this outline, click here.


  1. Protocol Defined
    1. From the Greek word, proto which means first in time, original, first in importance, chief.
      1. Greek:   kolla which means glue.
      2. L Greek:   protokollom which means first leaf glued to a manuscript.
    2. French
      1. Protocole which means a diplomatic agreement, especially one that amends, clarifies or adds to a treaty.
      2. The code of courtesies of precedence, accepted as proper and correct in official dealings as between heads of states or diplomatic officials.
    3. Other Meanings…
      1. Protocol is a set of rules used to govern communities.
      2. Protocol is a set of rules used to transfer data in a computer system.
    4. Food for Thought…
      1. “Etiquette is knowing what to do at the proper time. Protocol is doing what is right at the proper time. Order is setting the proper time for protocol and etiquette to take place.”1

Church Protocol

  1. Church Protocol is a code of courtesies and proper practices regarding church worship services. “Let all things be done decently and in order.” 1 Corinthians 14:40. King James Version
    1. Call to Worship – The presentation of remarks that focus the hearts and minds of persons present into an attitude of worship.
      1. The purpose of the Call to Worship is to invoke the presence of God.
      2. Scriptures can be used to call persons to worship.
        1. Sample scriptures: Psalm 95:1-2; Psalm 95:6-7; Isaiah 56:6-7; Psalm 24:1,9,10.
      3. The COGIC2 hymnal, Yes Lord! is an excellent resource for selecting scriptures for the Call to Worship.
    2. Prayer – Spiritual communion with God.
      1. Kinds of Prayer
        1. Supplication (plea).
        2. Thanksgiving.
        3. Adoration.
        4. Confession.
      2. Invocation – is the opening prayer for a program or worship service. The invocation invokes the presence of God.
    3. Hymn – A song that praises and honors God.
      1. Types of Hymns
        1. Worship.
        2. Adoration.
        3. Guidance.
        4. Renewal.
        5. Aspiration.
      2. The Yes Lord! hymnal is the official COGIC hymnal.
    4. Congregational Song – Upbeat and jubilant songs with one or two verses and repetition of the chorus.
      1. Congregational songs reflect the rich tradition of the COGIC worship style.
      2. In COGIC worship services, congregational songs are sung during devotional services and during testimony services.
    5. Addressing the House is acknowledging ranking officials. “It is very important that we respect and honor our leaders. The Bible teaches us to respect leadership. We are to ‘give honor to whom honor is due’ and ‘in honor preferring one another’. If we are going to be good stewards and effective in our ministries we must know the proper way to serve….This means that we need to know etiquette, protocol and order.”3
      1. Addressing the House demonstrates respect for leaders.
      2. COGIC has 4 levels of leadership:
        1. Local Pastor. (Lowest Level)
        2. District Superintendent.
        3. Jurisdictional Bishop.
        4. Presiding Bishop. (Highest Level)
      3. When the House is addressed, leaders are acknowledged beginning with the highest ranking leader present at that meeting and continuing in descending order of rank to the lowest ranking leader present. The rest of those present are addressed with a general greeting.
      4. Examples:
        1. National Meeting: “Presiding Bishop, the General Board, and all in the Church of God in Christ who love and serve the Lord in the beauty of holiness”.
        2. Jurisdictional Meeting: “Bishop _______ (jurisdictional bishop), Superintendents, Pastors, and all in the Church of God in Christ who love and serve the Lord in the beauty of holiness”.
        3. District Meeting: “Superintendent _________, Pastors, and all in the Church of God in Christ who love and serve the Lord in the beauty of holiness”.
        4. Local Meeting: “Pastor ______, and all in the Church of God in Christ who love and serve the Lord in the beauty of holiness”.
      5. Once the house has been addressed (the first time), protocol has been established. It is NOT NECESSARY to Address the House AFTER protocol has been established.
      6. What Not to Do…
        1. Never, Never, Never say, “Protocol has already been established” then proceed to address the house by calling the names of all the ranking leaders.
        2. Do not Address the House when…
          1. Making the Call to Worship.
          2. Reading the Scripture.
          3. Receiving an Offering.
          4. Making Announcements.
          5. Singing a solo (including a sermonic solo).
          6. Participating on a Panel Discussion.
    6. Necrology – The necrology is “a designated time to remember and reflect upon the lives of deceased leaders and workers”4. “Remember those who…have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.” Hebrews 13:7 King James Version
      1. Read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.
      2. Read Hebrews 13:7.
      3. In a COGIC jurisdictional setting, call the names of former COGIC leaders. The names can be printed on the program.
        1. COGIC founder, Bishop Charles Harrison Mason.
        2. Former Senior Bishop O. T. Jones, Sr. Former Presiding Bishops: Bishop J. O. Patterson, Bishop L. H. Ford, Bishop G. E. Patterson, Bishop C. D. Owens.
        3. Former General Supervisors: Mother Lizzie Robinson, Mother Lillian Brooks Coffey, Mother Annie Bailey, Mother Mattie McGlothen, Mother Emma Crouch.
        4. Former Jurisdictional Bishops and Jurisdictional Supervisors (of the local jurisdiction).
        5. Suggested Song for Congregational Singing: When We All Get to Heaven.
    7. The Benediction – The benediction is a blessing used to formally dismiss the gathering.
      1. The benediction is given at the close of a service by a designated minister or missionary.
      2. Some frequently used benedictions:
        1. “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious unto you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)
      3. It is always respectful to allow an elder or minister who is present to deliver the benediction.
    8. Women’s Day.
      1. Seat members of the platform starting with the highest ranking official.
    9. In an Open Forum…
      1. Stand when making a comment.
    10. Expecting a Guest or a Ranking Official.
      1. Have an adjutant or greeter available.
  2. Food for Thought: The Team Player’s Creed3
    1. People may be illogical, unreasonable, and self centered. LOVE AND TRUST THEM ANYWAY.
    2. If you do good, people may accuse you of having selfish ulterior motives. DO GOOD ANYWAY.
    3. If you are successful, you may win false friends and true enemies. SUCCEED ANYWAY.
    4. The biggest people with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest people with the smallest minds. THINK BIG ANYWAY.
    5. People need help, but may attack you if you help them. HELP THEM ANYWAY.
    6. Give the world the best you have and you may get kicked in the teeth. GIVE YOUR BEST ANYWAY.
    7. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. DO GOOD ANYWAY.



2COGIC refers to Church of God in Christ.





Davis, Iris W., Facilitator. “Tell Me and I’ll Forget; Show Me and I May Remember; Involve Me and I’ll Understand”. Christian Education Workshop.

Lewis, Dr. Barbara McCoo. The Christian Woman’s Guide for Church Protocol & Saintly Decorum. New Revised Edition. 2004.

Miller, Mother Geraldine E. “A Call To Order”. A Handbook for Those Who Serve, Adjutants – Deaconess – Mother’s Board.

Neufeldt, Victoria, ed., et. al. Webster's New World Dictionary of American English. Third College Edition. Cleveland & New York: Webster's New World, 1988.


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Unless otherwise noted, all scriptures are taken from the New King James Verion of the Holy Bible
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