The most vital local unit of the Church is the Parish. All those whose names appear in the Parish Register and worship in the Parish Church, are members of the Parish. Each parish has a Vicar, Assistant Vicars wherever appointed, and elected Secretary, Trustees and Lay Ministrants. The Edavaka Sangham (General Body of the Parish) takes decisions in respect of all matters relating to the parish. The annual accounts and budget of the parish are also cleared by the Edavaka Sanghom. All its decisions are subject to the approval of the Diocesan Bishop. Edavaka Sangham members should be above 18 years of age, communicants and whose membership is not banned by higher authorities. Since the Mar Thoma Church has adopted the policy of voluntary contribution, there is no fixed fee for membership. However all members are under christian obligation to extend financial aid for the needs of the parish and the Church.
The Edavaka Sanghom has an Executive Committee called the Kaisthana Samithi. For administrative convenience and fellowship, the parish is divided into prayer groups. The prayer groups are local bodies usually arranged geographically and send representatives to the Kaisthana Samithi.
Though not directly involved in the administrative set up, there are different institutions in the Church, which are governed by the constitution. Among them are Mar Thoma Evangelistic Association (a wing to lead and co-ordinate the Evangelistic work of the Church), Sunday School Samajam (Children’s Department), Suvisesha Sevika Sanghom (Women’s Department), Voluntary Evangelistic Association (another department to mobilize Parish for evangelistic work), Yuvajana Sakhyam (Youth Department), Medical Mission (Responsible for co-ordinating healing mission of the Church), various educational institutions and welfare projects.
Though democratic principles are incorporated in the administration, the Church takes pride in the fact that most decisions are based on consensus, reached after prayerful consultations and discussion. The functioning of the 1365 strong members Mandalam is the best example for this.
The Church follows a wonderful heritage in its administration, and carefully blends active involvement of the laity. The Mandalam consisting of 65% laity at all times. In the Episcopal Nomination Board (a body responsible for nominating Bishop Candidates) with 24 members, 14 are lay members. The administrative setup of the Mar Thoma Church is a harmonious blend of Episcopal and democratic methods, and the Church is always responsive to the demands of the times.