This unit provides opportunity for students to: reflect on basic theological presuppositions and materials that offer learning experiences in the area of parish administration; and identify and distinguish those understandings, attitudes and skills needed to administer a congregation in the Lutheran Church of Australia. Topics considered include the Theology of Administration; Leadership; the specific tasks of Parish Administration; and, special concerns for the graduate pastor: beginning ministry; team ministry; volunteers, meetings, conflict; stress and burnout, support systems.

Unit code: DP3005L

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 3

Unit discipline: Pastoral Theology and Ministry Studies

Proposing College: Australian Lutheran College

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Learning outcomes


Articulate the scriptural and confessional principles that apply to the ordering of the Church and the congregation


Evaluate a range of different leadership styles and basic principles of organisation that enhance the pastor’s role in congregational administration


Identify issues and design approaches that demonstrate effective pastoral leadership in planning, organising, and coordinating the congregation’s worship, education, fellowship, service, and mission


Develop collaborative and deliberative practices that will promote the orderly life of the congregation and the equipping of people for mission and service


Synthesise scriptural and confessional understanding with organisational and pastoral skills

Unit sequence

A level 3 unit in undergraduate theology and ministry courses


This unit is underpinned by teaching practices and strategies (e.g. guest speakers and class discussion) which encourage student engagement and participation in a variety of learning tasks and opportunities which foster deep learning.

Indicative Bibliography

  • Allendar, Dan B. Leading with a limp: take full advantage of your most powerful weakness. Colorado Springs, CO: Waterbrook Press, 2006.
  • Amos, Julie-Ann. 80/20 management: work smarter, not harder, and quadruple your results. Oxford, UK: Essentials, 2001.
  • Bacher, Robert N., and Michael L. Cooper-White. Church administration: programs, process, purpose. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2007.
  • Berntsen, John A. Cross-shaped leadership: on the rough and tumble of parish practice. Herndon, VA: The Alban Institute, 2008.
  • Carroll, Jackson W. God’s potters: pastoral leadership and the shaping of congregations. Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2006.
  • Cladis, George. Leading the team-based church. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 1999.
  • Foster, Charles R. Embracing diversity: leadership in multicultural congregations. Bethesda, MD: Alban Institute, 1997.
  • Fryar, Jane L. Servant leadership: setting leaders free. Christian leadership series. St Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2001.
  • Lutheran Church of Australia. Resources portal, 2015.
  • Lutheran Church of Australia South Australia & Northern Territory District, Inc. Congregation resources. 2015. (LCA SA_NT Congregational Resources can be downloaded from under Administration)
  • Pappas, Anthony G. Entering the world of the small church. Rev. ed. Bethesda, MD: Alban Institute, 2000.
  • Steinke, Peter L. Healthy congregations: a systems approach. 2nd ed. Herndon, VA: Alban Institute, 2006.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Journal and analytical reflections on the principles and practice of pastoral leadership and administration

1500 30.0
Case Study

Apply a case study approach to parish administration

1000 20.0
Project Report or Project Journal

A portfolio which provides evidence of scriptural and confessional understanding as well as effective analytical, organisational, and pastoral skills

2500 50.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 7 Sep, 2020

Unit record last updated: 2021-06-07 08:43:49 +1000