This is the body which, since restructuring in 1974, combines functions previously exercised by the leaders meeting and the trustees and exercises authority and leadership over the whole area of the local church's life. Its functions include the managing trusteeship of local property, the appointment of officers and committees, pastoral oversight (in conjunction with the Pastoral Committee) and the approval of persons to be admitted to membership. Traditionally the meeting, like its predecessors, has been chaired by the Superintendent or a ministerial deputy, but from 2005 it may be chaired by a duly appointed lay person. . Where Standing Orders so require, or the Church Council itself so resolves, only persons who are members of the council are permitted to be present, but otherwise meetings are open to other members of the local church, non-members active in its life and others specifically invited by the council to attend.
The Conference in 2015 adopted provisions whereby, if the Church Council is committing or threatening to commit a serious breach of trust or of Methodist discipline, an authorised body (the District Policy Committee) may appoint a new Church Council in its place.