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Leading in Church Change

Online Professional Development

Practical Theology Courses
Trinity College Glasgow & Theology & Religious Studies, University of Glasgow

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Introduction to the course

Change is upon us. For churches and parishes the disruptions of this era means internal and external pressures for change are more intense and navigating these challenges has never been harder. Complex adaptive problems stretch leader capacities and character and test organisational resilience. Yet the calling of the church in the world has not changed.

This online course, conducted within a supportive cohort, will assist recognised church leaders/clergy to evaluate their critical change challenges, engage with recent organisational change practice and equip with tools and perspectives for faithful and strategic responses.

This course is accredited at Masters level (10 credits) by the University of Glasgow.

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Rev Dr Mark Johnston is a Lecturer at the Department of Theology and Religious Studies. He has leadership experience working in education, churches, mission projects and not-for-profit sectors. He has served the Church of Scotland in mission innovation and for the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand as a minister and a theological educator in ministry formation and leadership. He is a lover of the outdoors, curious about local history and cultures and enjoys a good conversation over a beer.

Mr Andy Brookes is an independent organisational consultant working mainly across churches and not-for-profit sectors in the UK, developing leaders and supporting senior teams. He has experience of leading major change in complex environments including Lloyds of London, individual diocese in the Church of England, and Greenbelt Festival. He served as General Secretary and Chief Executive for the Diocese of London from 2009 until 2015. He is a grandfather, hockey player and a recovering golf player.

Who is this course for?

This course is offered as professional development for recognised church leaders/clergy. It is open to those with an undergraduate degree or equivalent recognised prior learning. It is available as a standalone professional development course of the University of Glasgow. 

The course and credits are also recognised towards an MTh in Ministry, Theology and Practice with Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Glasgow.

Course Description

This course aims to:

  • Assist church leaders to evaluate their critical change challenges.

  • Assess key tools deployed in recent organisational change practice.

  • Equip participants to situate church change in theological perspective and develop faithful and strategic interventions needed for their own situation.

  • Offer a supportive learning cohort for leaders in difficult church change

Topics include:

  • Leadership models and their roles in church change

  • Interpreting and mapping unpredictable situations

  • Engaging organisational culture change

  • Theological perspectives in congregational change

  • Managing and engaging others in difficult church change

  • Clarifying purpose and cultivating learning

  • Conscious leadership skills and postures in the midst of uncertainty 

Timetable & Duration

This course will be running from the 18th April - 13th June, 2024.

This course will take place online (2-hour classes plus four 1-hour seminars). It will be taught over 8 weeks via online real-time meetings & instruction and after class activities. There is a week's break during the course.

The time commitment required is approximately 6 hours per week inclusive of classes.

Class 1 - Thursday 18th April, 10am -12pm                    

Class 2 - Thursday 26th April, 10am -12pm                           

Class 3 - Thursday 2nd May, 10am -12pm                            

Class 4 & Seminar 1 - Thursday 9th May, 10am -1pm           

Class 5 & Seminar 2 - Thursday 16th May, 10am -1pm          


Class 6 & Seminar 3 - Thursday 30th May, 10am -1pm        

Class 6 & Seminar 4 - Thursday 6th June, 10am -1pm           

Class 8 - Thursday 13th June, 10am -12pm 

Course Format

Online instruction will take place in weekly real-time conversations on Zoom along with materials and interaction using the learning platform Moodle. Access to these tools will be supported by the University course administration. More information about the use of these will be provided once you have applied and enrolled.

Each learning module will be taught through a range of online lectures, group discussion, exercises, activities, viewing and reading.

Participants will complete two written pieces of assessment. 


Course Feedback

What previous students have told us about the course:

'new tools and ideas to work with and frames of reference that I was unfamiliar with'

'encouraged deeper theological reflection which in turn has provided reassurance of God's presence and agency in the change challenges that I am facing'

'teaching was clear and to the point, while good amounts of time were given to students to present, explain and explore how the concepts taught in class related to their own context'

'I already see a slightly different direction beginning to emerge. That is saying something after being in ministry for 27+ years'


‘In the recent past I have intuited the importance and impact of organisational culture. To be given a framework to think about that in a more coherent fashion has been invaluable.’

‘It has helped me personally as well as professionally to understand better not just issues around complex change but to think further about leadership in general and from the perspective of ministry.’


£499​ for ordained/recognised leaders in a UK Church.

The standard cost is £799. 

Study funds or subsidies may be available through your own church or denomination and we encourage you to approach them with the details of the course.

How to Apply


Notify your interest now via email: Please specify your present vocational/church context and if you are located in the UK.

The last date for applications is Friday the 15th of March 2024.


These courses are delivered through the University of Glasgow. We will contact you with more information and guidance regarding applying, completing your details and payment in time for the course start date. If you have any questions regarding the process, you can contact us on the above email address. 

If you have any difficulties with this process, please contact Heather (Trinity office administrator) at:

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