The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church uses an episcopal system of governance, which means bishops provide the top leadership. Bishops are directed to provide oversight of the entire church as a board but have specific individual leadership responsibilities in a geographical area, called an episcopal district. An episcopal district is comprised of one or more annual conferences. There are 12 episcopal districts covering areas in the U.S. and overseas. They provide spiritual leadership to more than 1 million persons in a broad range of settings on five continents, including North and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia.
The Board of Bishops is the executive unit of the connectional church and play an important leadership role in helping to set the direction of the church and its mission throughout the world. It has the general oversight and promotion of the Church during the interim between General Conferences which is held every four years. The Board of Bishops meet semi-annually at such time and place as the majority of the Board shall determine and also at such other times as may be deemed necessary in the discharging of its responsibility as the executive unit of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.