The Nature of Pastoral Leadership

Pastoral leaders are the shepherds or elders (also called ministers and pastors) who together, under Christ’s authority and authorised by him, lead God’s church in God’s mission. Their leadership cultivates the conditions in which others can flourish, so that God’s people might love him, each other, and the world for God’s glory.

The work of pastoral leaders, serving together, involves four main tasks:
1. Leading the church in its life and mission — providing biblically-rooted, contextualised vision, leading the church in declaring the gospel to unbelievers, conducting God-glorifying worship, caring for people to see them mature in Christ, and organising community life so each member is freed and equipped to serve according to their gifts;
2. Praying with and for God’s people — leading the church in public and private prayer, and praying for the church together;
3. Proclaiming the gospel, teaching the whole counsel of God from the Scriptures, and refuting those who oppose it – preaching and teaching in public, in small groups and in personal ministry, and equipping and empowering others to speak the truth in love in a range of contexts; and
4. Modelling life in Christ by setting an example of the Christian life of faith and repentance.


The Significance of Pastoral Leadership

Pastoral leadership is a God-given and primary means by which God’s church advances in its gospel-centred mission in the world. The Bible establishes the office of pastoral leadership, identifies its primary tasks, and articulates its goals.

Empirical research among organisations generally, and churches in particular, finds that leadership really matters. In reality, it is the factor that matters most. If you’re surprised by this claim, then you’re not alone:

“When Mike Dodson and I were researching and writing Comeback Churches…we wanted to find what factors led to church revitalization. We expected to find prayer, preaching, evangelism, etc. We researched and we studied more than 320 churches. We called them and did multiple interviews with dozens of them. Do you know what we found? Everything rises and falls on leadership” (Stetzer, E. (2016) ‘My Love/Hate Relationship with Leadership, Christianity Today, 13 April 2016).

The quality of pastoral leadership in many churches is lacking. And the people in these churches see straight through it. Knowing the Bible and how to preach are necessary but insufficient for effective pastoral leadership. What do effective pastoral leaders look like? They demonstrate the Graduate Attributes embedded within our training programs.


The Centre for Pastoral Leadership

The Centre for Pastoral Leadership is the first of its kind in Australia, and was created to promote the development of more and higher quality pastoral leaders (ministers and elders) through:

  • Training programs
  • Conferences and events
  • Resource creation
  • Thought leadership

For more information about the Centre for Pastoral Leadership, see the resource links below, or contact the Director, Dr Jonathan Pratt.


Resources

Training programs

 

Conferences and events

 

Resource Creation and Thought Leadership

 
New Ordinary Visitation Process