Professional Development for Pastors and Church Leaders

The Church needs biblically and theologically grounded leaders who are able to imagine and exercise the kind of leadership that is shaped by the Gospel and our unique time and place in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Laidlaw College offers a range of options for training and ongoing professional development for pastors and church leaders, with choices that range from undergraduate right up to Masters and PhD.


Our programmes include:

You can study part-time or full-time, on campus, by distance, or with block courses. Work at your own pace alongside your ministry commitments, incorporating your learning into your practice and your practice into your learning.

Note that many courses are also available by Distance Learning.


Semester 1

Reading the Bible
Level 5 (night class)
This course approaches the Bible from the perspective of biblical theology, which allows the Bible to tell its own story as a unified grand narrative that culminates in the person and work of Jesus Christ. It explores the unity, diversity and central themes of the Bible to make
sense of the relationship between the Bible, theology, and all of life.

Connecting with Youth and Young adults
Level 5
This course explores the cultural and social context of youth and young adults and prepares students to effectively connect with and engage these age groups in ministry through the practical outworking of a theology of relationality and community. It considers contemporary approaches to contextual youth ministry, understanding youth culture, creating genuine and inclusive community, connecting cross-culturally, and the pastoral needs of youth and young adults.

Pastoral Care in Community
Level 6/7
This course explores the principles and practices of pastoral care in, through, and beyond the local church. This course is grounded in vision of community as paradigm for transformation and carries a fundamental commitment to care of the whole person. Within this
relational frame, various approaches to pastoral care, care in life’s stages and transitions, as well as care of the carers will be explored

Foundations of Ministry Supervision
PGCertTh (Ministry Supervision), block course

This paper examines the nature and purpose of professional supervision, including its importance in people-related ministries. Several theoretical approaches to supervision will be covered, with in-class opportunities for practice. Participants also reflect critically on the theological, ethical and cultural dimensions of offering supervision in their own contexts, and in the wider context of Aotearoa.

Faithful living: intro to Reflective Practice
Level 6/7
This course explores the dispositions and practices that are required to form life-long reflective practitioners. Students are introduced to a range of models of theological reflection and will evaluate and apply these within their context. Key theological themes and practices underlying ethical behaviour are explored and students will develop a contextualised code of conduct. Students are prompted to develop self-and other-awareness, and build resilience to the experience of receiving and processing feedback from others.

Gospels 2 (John)
Level 6/7, block course

This course explores exegetical and theological study of texts from the Gospel of John. Students engage with the text and its theology and reflect on the implications for Christian discipleship in today’s world.

Mental Health and Human Flourishing
Postgraduate, block course
Mental distress can be a common but challenging aspect of human experience. In this course, students will explore how to understand mental distress from within the framework of practical theology. Students will learn how to articulate a theology of mental distress as
well as human flourishing and shalom, through a focus on mental health in general and particular experiences such as anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder. Students will gain an understanding of issues of stigma surrounding mental distress in society. Students will evaluate
pastoral responses to mental distress, and will articulate an understanding of what a wise, compassionate, and informed pastoral response might involve within the varied cultural contexts of Aotearoa New Zealand and beyond.

Anointed Ministry
Postgraduate, block course
This course examines the doctrine of the Trinity and applies this to pastoral leadership practices in order to allow the doctrine of the Trinity to have a controlling influence over such practices. By grounding the course in a robust trinitarianism, students will receive a clear biblical and theological foundation for ministry as participation in the ongoing ministry of Christ in the world in the power of the Spirit, thus preparing them for effective Christocentric pastoral and missional leadership. The course develops historical, theological, and ministerial themes, and seeks to enable  students to develop convictions for ministry and reflect  on ecclesial  practices  such  as  administration of the sacraments, pastoral care, preaching, prayer, and worship.


Semester 2

Engaging Theology
Level 5 (night class)
This course explores systematic theology and how to think theologically. It examines God’s self-revelation, how that revelation can be understood, and why it is foundational for Christian faith. It then explores the arrangement of this revelation into a set of core beliefs and their application to everyday living.

Introduction to Preaching
Level 6/7 (night class)
This course explores ways to prepare and preach biblical sermons that witness to the good news of Jesus Christ. Through this course  students will learn the theological and biblical foundations of preaching, develop a methodology for sermon preparation, and improve their oratory and presentation skills. Students will also become better hearers of preaching through developing a framework for evaluating and reviewing sermons.

Making Disciples that last
Level 6/7
This course explores Jesus’s teachings on what makes a disciple, with current research on effective (and  ineffective) discipleship, to 
identify discipleship practices that make disciples who last. Practices encompass effective pedagogy for Christian education 
and  formation, mentoring, worship, prayer, and the creation of a participatory discipleship culture.

Developing a Ministry Supervision Practice
PGCertTh (Ministry Supervision), block course
Through the integration of theory, practice, and theology, this second paper enables practitioners to develop a framework for supervision appropriate to their own cultural and ministry contexts, and to engage in critically reflective practice.

Reflective Practice for Ministry
Postgraduate, block course
If you are active in ministry, in any context, and want to deepen your practice then consider enrolling in our new postgraduate course Reflective Practice for Ministry. You will learn to critically reflect on yourself, your experience, and your context, and develop practices and habits of mind that will allow you to flourish over the long-term. The course is delivered through a range of seminars, workshops, reflections and fieldwork activities, and all learning is grounded in the student’s own ministry context.

To find out more: email: [email protected]