Elders & Local Church Leaders in Changing Context
Online Practical Theology Short Courses
with Trinity College Glasgow & Theology & Religious Studies, University of Glasgow
This course explores the why and what of local leadership in the Church of Scotland and other Reformed churches, both historical and contemporary. It examines how changed circumstances and the mission calling of the church invites us to re-examine the calling and tasks of elders and local leaders in the congregation, and what this kind of practice looks like, especially in the midst of difficult church change.
This is an open access course available as a 10-credit course (accredited by the University of Glasgow) or audit-only for those who just wish to engage with the learning programme for their own personal benefit.
Note: This course is limited to 25 participants.
Primary Tutors (together with special guest tutors)
Mark Johnston is Pastoral Studies Tutor with the Dept of Theology and Religious Studies. He is an ordained Minister, having served in both the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and the Church of Scotland. For the past decade he has worked as a theological educator and ministry trainer for the Knox Centre of Ministry and Leadership, NZ, forming students for ordained ministry, and offering workshops in the wider church. He is a lover of the outdoors, curious about history and cultures and enjoys a good conversation over a beer.
Graeme Wilson is an ordained Minister in the Church of Scotland. He has been the Minister of Bearsden Cross Church in the NW of Glasgow since 2013 and for 7 years before that in Galston, East Ayrshire. Prior to his calling to the Ministry in 2000, he was a banker in London for 15 years. His doctoral thesis (DMin, 2018) reflected upon ‘Eldership and Discipleship in the Church of Scotland’ and argued that discipleship could be a key focus for the Eldership to reclaim something of its spiritual role within the Church of Scotland, and for the wider membership to grow in faith and service. He is a keen golfer (though golf isn’t always so keen on him!) and a supporter of the ‘Honest Men’ of Ayr United.
Timetable & Duration
March 7th – May 23rd 2022 (incl. a break on 18th, 25th April and 2 May—no class)
This course will take place online on Monday evenings, 7-9pm.
This course will be taught over 9 evenings via zoom meetings, pre class reading and after class activities. Outside online class time - allocate 5 hours to complete pre and post class tasks.
Who is this course for ?
This course is applicable to elders, and local church leaders in the Reformed churches of Scotland who are asking questions of their role and the future of the church in a rapidly changing context. It is also for those considering a call to eldership in a local church. For some this may be an interest to explore calling and leadership relevant to the times and context, yet faithful to where the church has come from. For others this course could inspire fresh motivation for the service of God, congregation and the Gospel in a fellowship of local leaders.
We recommend you apply to attend with at least one other person from your parish/church to maximise the learning and impact.
Introduction to the course
This course explores the meaning and role of local leadership in the Church of Scotland and other Reformed churches, both historical and contemporary. It examines how changed circumstances and the mission calling of the church invites us to re-examine the calling and tasks of elders and local leaders in the congregation, and what this kind of practice looks like, especially in the midst of difficult church change. It will engage participants in reflecting on their own experience and introduce approaches and tools to enhance their contribution in their local setting.
This course will cover the following topics.
• Where have we come from: My Story, Our Story.
• Changed context and rediscovering mission
• Institutional and Missional Imagination in the Church
• Elders and local leaders as disciples first.
• Spiritual oversight for the contextual mission, worship and discipleship of the congregation.
• Key leadership strategies for tackling church change.
• Culture change in the church and introduction to models for implementing organisational change
Delivery & Assessment
This course is conducted online. The directed online instruction will be explored in weekly real-time conversations along with materials and interaction using the learning platform, Moodle. Zoom as an online meeting tool will be used for the real-time conversations and online group times. Access to these tools will be supported by course administration.
For technology you will need to have access to:
a speaker and microphone, built in, USB or wireless Bluetooth
Webcam, built in or USB
Each learning module will be taught through a range of online group discussion, exercises, and activities, viewing and reading. Participants will be introduced to a range of hands on practical work for practicing in their own local context, and invited to feedback to the class.
If you wish to take the course for credit - the formal assessment for this course consists of the following:
Reflection on a case study. (800 words - 40%)
Written presentation. (1200 words – 60%) Portfolio of materials – include slides, graphs, illustrations..
Completion of the course carries with it 10 undergraduate credit points for those who wish to undertake the formal assessments. There is also the option to undertake the course for audit without certification.
£207 per person (this covers access to all resources and administrative costs).
Fee subsidies or sponsorship
Fee sponsorships or subsidies may be available through your own church for training or study purposes and we encourage you to approach them with the details of the course.
Part-funding subsidies from Trinity College are available to leaders from Church of Scotland Priority Area (PA) parishes via separate application directly to us. To be considered for a subsidy email your interest to Principal of Trinity College, Doug Gay at email@example.com
Applicants should still register for the course by following the instructions under ‘How to Apply’ below. Please let the administrator know that you have applied for subsidy also. We are unable to provide the subsidy upfront so we ask you to pay the full fee initially and arrangements will be made for the subsidy as a direct grant subsequently.
How to Apply
To notify your interest, please email firstname.lastname@example.org by 7th Feb 2022, with the name of the course that you wish to apply for. You will then be sent instructions for application.
This course is credited by and delivered through the University of Glasgow. If this is your first time accessing a course you will be invited to apply for a student account and issued with a student ID and receive instructions to complete registering for the course.
If you have any difficulties with this process – please contact Eleanor Hayes at: