Church Systems and Congregational Health



Pre-reading, intensive, 26 contact hours; 6 credit points (standard pathway) or 4 credit points (accelerated pathway)
This unit is taught as part of Ridley’s MA Gold program and may only be taken by those enrolled in the ACT MA degree or nested awards (GradCertTheol/Min or GradDipTheol/Min).
8,000 words (standard pathway); 7,000 words (accelerated pathway)
To be advised. Contact the College Registrar to indicate your expression of interest registrar@ridley.edu.au
Jeff Pugh

Every pastor/leader knows that the church or organisation they lead has a unique atmosphere or organisational climate. This invisible yet tangible culture is what gives the particular group its distinctive DNA. Any agent of change therefore needs to discern and respond appropriately to the nature of the particular constellation of features that mark out their group. It introduces leaders to a range of grids such as systems theory, organizational culture and psychodynamic theories that enable them to read their situation with more clarity. This unit, originally designed for training church consultants, enables pastors to respond appropriately to those factors which inhibit the mission of the particular church and so move it from dysfunction to health.

Jeff Pugh is a practical theologian who has pastored several Baptist Churches in the 1980s and 1990s and since then has taught in Baptist seminaries in three states with roles as a denominational consultant in church development. In recent years his main role has been in developing the postgraduate research school with the Melbourne School of Theology. His research interests focus mainly upon organisational culture change and the homiletic theology and psychology.


  1. The nature of organisations (including churches) as typical and unique cultures; organisational classifications and rational positivist approaches to change.
  2. Family Systems approaches to anxiety in churches and organisations;
  3. Conflict levels and anxiety levels and choosing management of conflict styles;
  4. God Images and leader reactivity to anxiety;
  5. Psychodynamics: healthy and dangerous groups; basic assumptions in church life;
  6. Building differentiated leaders, people and handling anxiety;
  7. Techniques for developing working groups in times of conflict;
  8. Integration is directly featured in the practical theological nature of the unit enabling the participant to develop organisational life and their responses to it in ways that serve their deepest theological beliefs and related values.

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