Why Leadership Matters

Leadership is the single greatest influence on the mission, health and growth of Christ’s church . The Scriptures have a strong focus on the leadership of God’s people (good and bad), because leaders have a decisive impact on the life of God’s people. It is for this reason that Christ expects much of his leaders.

Christ calls his leaders to shepherd God’s people by leading the church in its life and mission; praying with and for God’s people; proclaiming the gospel, teaching the whole counsel of God, and refuting those who oppose it, and modelling life in Christ . When Christ’s leaders are not properly equipped to fulfil all parts of the shepherding role that he gives them, all of God’s people suffer.

Traditional theological education has given little focus to leadership development. It is therefore not surprising that surveys of Australian church leaders have found that only some feel well-equipped for leadership . As a result, many Australian churches are not experiencing the kind of health and growth that they should under Christ.

The Leadership Development Program (LDP) was created to address this urgent need. Its unique design is informed by Reformed theological convictions, best practice research in leadership and adult education, and over a decade of teaching experience with MBA students in Australian universities. Since July 2013, the LDP has been equipping pastors and college students to lead new ministries, renew old ministries, and cultivate the flourishing of all God’s people in all of life.



How Leaders Develop

Leaders develop best when they are taught research-based frameworks and practical skills, shown how to develop a theological orientation to leadership, given opportunities to apply their learning in challenging field-based projects, receive comprehensive feedback, reflect critically on their experiences, and receive personal encouragement and support.

Christ College is the pioneer of the LDP in Australian theological education and has developed a distinctive program that develops leaders through:

  • Custom leadership units created for and approved by the Australian College of Theology
  • Intensive classes that equip students to lead change in a church or ministry setting
  • A team leadership project that develops disciples and leaders, and furthers Christ’s mission
  • Research-informed developmental tasks that promote self-awareness and personal growth
  • 360 survey shaped by the Christ College Graduate Attributes
  • Access to a theologically-driven church health survey
  • Critical reflection, encouragement and prayer with a cohort of peers at regular Retreats
  • Support and encouragement from an experienced and trained mentor



How Churches Benefit

The LDP promotes learning through practice and has led to a number of successful change projects:

  • Leading a church renewal project that identified shared values and a compelling bible-based mission
  • Restructuring a medium-sized church to promote alignment and the accomplishment of a shared vision
  • Identifying and developing young adults to preach God’s word and lead various church ministries
  • Equipping church elders and other leading men to preach their first sermon
  • Starting a small group ministry and equipping a new team of inexperienced small group leaders
  • Leading a church renewal project based on a custom-designed discipleship program for all Christians
  • Designing and teaching a custom-designed discipleship program focused on marriage, family and work
  • Training and encouraging the adult men in a congregation to shepherd their own families
  • Starting and leading a new high school ministry in a church plant
  • Starting and leading a new young adults ministry in a multi-congregation church
  • Training and coaching new and existing musicians to lead God’s people in gathered worship
  • Leading a church through the process of adopting and learning to use Elvanto


Next Steps

To find out more about how you can develop as a leader, download an application form from christcollege.edu.au/leadership, or contact Dr Jonathan Pratt, the Director of the Centre for Pastoral Leadership (jpratt@christcollege.edu.au).

New Zealand Information Session

Are you a New Zealand student wanting to know more about the Leadership Development Program? Join Dr. Jonathan Pratt on Zoom at 2pm on Tuesday 23rd June (GMT+12) to find out more.

Click here to join the meeting.

About Dr Jonathan Pratt


The LDP is taught by Dr. Jonathan Pratt, Director of the Centre for Pastoral Leadership. 

He serves as a pastoral leader in Hornsby Presbyterian Church.

For more information about Jonathan,view his staff profile here.


“The Leadership Development Program is one of a kind. It integrates the best of biblical-theological foundations, leadership literature, and ministry principles in order to develop students who will become even more faithful ministers of the Gospel. We live in a world that is desperate for leadership. But more than that, we live in a world desperate for godly, effective, and faithful leadership. Therefore, the Centre for Pastoral Leadership is uniquely placed in such a time as this, and the LDP meets this urgent need. The program recognises that leadership is both a gift received from God and also a skill that can be grown and cultivated. As a graduate of this program, I commend it to all who are either starting off and seeking to grow in their leadership capacity or those who have been in the trenches for a while and are looking refine their current leadership practices.”

Elliot Ku, GracePoint Presbyterian Church, 2015 Cohort

“One of the worst issues churches face is poor leadership and so it is pertinent if you are leading any type of ministry to continue to learn what it looks like to lead effectively. The LDP allows you not only to learn the theory but also to put it into practice. It is an invaluable experience not only for you but for the team you lead through this project.”

Michael Bedros, Merrylands East Presbyterian Church, 2015 Cohort

“The LDP has given me the right attitude, self-awareness and tools to serve Christ’s church through the constantly changing seasons of ministry. It taught me to not be afraid to take a leap of faith and trust God with the outcome. Time and time again, God has proven his faithfulness to this through training and equipping music teams, leading a revitalisation ministry in the country or serving as part of a staff team in a large regional church. The LDP is a program worth participating in as you prepare to serve in whatever context God puts you in and to be the best leader you can be under Christ.”

Angus gibb, Orange Presbyterian Church, 2015 Cohort

“The deeper we explore salvation-history in the pages of the bible, the more clearly we see the significant impact that leaders play in the health and vitality of God’s people. That is why leadership training is such a critical part of a pastor’s education. As I signed up for the LDP program at Christ College, my hope was that I would learn the skills to be an effective Church leader. However, what I learnt was not only the practical competencies to see those under my leadership flourish, but through the application of best practice principles in adult education, I received wholistic leadership formation, grounding my practice in the biblical and theological frameworks of the Reformed faith. There is no doubt that the LDP program significantly improved my effectiveness in leading the Church under Christ, and for that, both I and my future congregations will be forever grateful.”

Rob Falls, APWM Missionary, 2018 Cohort

“The LDP has been essential training for my ministry and leadership. It excels at fostering theological depth and injecting a wide range of leadership wisdom whilst remaining practical every step of the way. The highlight was the year long project in evaluating and reorganising our church to equip and mobilise every member. The initiatives in leading myself, my family and my church are still bearing fruit today.”

Alan Au, Captivate Church, 2017 cohort

“The LDP has given me the skills not only to lead, but to multiply leaders and preachers, to further our gospel reach not only on Sunday, but every day, as we take the good news of Jesus to Coffs Harbour”

Ben Smith, Harbourside Presbyerian Church, 2016 Cohort

“Completing the full LDP program gave me a suite of skills and strategies to lead well from the first day of a new pastoral ministry role. This allowed me to effectively coach people through any anxiety related to the changes they were experiencing. I was able to effectively create an environment where gospel growth wasn’t hindered by poor and inconsistent leadership.”

David hayes, Albury Presbyterian Churches, 2014 Cohort

"Leading a congregation takes more than just teaching and preaching the gospel, it also takes wisdom to plan, organize and mobilize a congregation towards maturity and mission. The LDP lays the Biblical foundation to pastoral leadership that’s grounded in a commitment to the gospel and the tools necessary for planning, organizing and mobilizing a congregation towards maturity and mission."

Eugene Hor, Lead English Pastor, Gracepoint Presbyterian Church

"In ministry we often have to hit the road running. The problem is that many will hit the road already limping. The LDP provides a much needed opportunity for pastors and leaders to shape their thinking, inform their spiritual formation and rejuvenate their life patterns towards resiliency in ministry."

Valerie Ling, Clinical Psychologist

Where is Christ College?

1 Clarence St Burwood NSW.
Parking and transport: Limited 2 hour ticketed parking is available in the surrounding streets. Free unlimited parking can be found a few blocks from the college. Please do not park at Burwood RSL Club as Club parking is for Club patrons only.
Burwood Train Station is about a 7 minute walk from the college.