As a result of constant requests to see Pathways College offer a programme for the training of pastors specifically for Brethren churches, a memorandum of understanding between Pathways College and Carey Baptist College now enables this to occur. Through Carey Baptist College, Brethren students can now complete the Bachelor of Applied Theology over three years while also completing a Diploma in Pastoral Leadership through both Pathways College and Carey Baptist College. 

The Diploma in Pastoral Leadership is available to accepted applicants who, in addition to being suitably endorsed by a church or a similar organization, are also perceived as possessing gifts and calling which may lead into church pastoral responsibilities, part- or full-time.

The Diploma recognizes that:

  • Pastoral leadership is undertaken in many different settings
  • There are different types of pastoral staff within the church
  • There are different ways of doing church
  • The specific interests and callings of the students would be reflected in course selection, fieldwork, and supervised experience.

The Diploma of Pastoral Leadership is specifically planned for those who desire to do theological and practical training in preparation for pastoral leadership.

The Diploma in Pastoral Leadership is taught in conjunction with the Bachelor of Applied Theology from Carey Baptist College and is offered only to students undertaking this degree. 

Students who have already completed an equivalent or higher qualification in Bible, Theology, or Ministry may apply for special entry.

Course Structure

1. Academic

Pastoral Leadership students are required to include the following papers within their Bachelor of Applied Theology [or, if offered special entry, to ensure that if these or similar papers are not already in their degree that they take them alongside their Diploma in Pastoral Leadership course]:

  • Introduction to Preaching
  • Introduction to Pastoral Care
  • Spiritual Leadership
  • People of God
  • Brethren Churches

2. Fieldwork

Church-based learning experiences are a key component of the programme. Pastoral Leadership students are required to spend 12 hours each week in church ministry (first year students are required only 6 hours in their first semester). It is recommended that students spend an 8-hour day plus Sunday in the church. This includes time for reflection and supervision.

In addition, students are required to do summer placements for about 12 weeks between November and February. This is an opportunity to learn the reality of full-time ministry and get exposure to different church contexts. Pathways will make every effort to negotiate church placements for students that will best assist them to learn and grow in the development of their pastoral skills. Students are required to submit written reflections on their ministry experience and meet with a ministry supervisor. A supervisor is assigned within the church to assist integration of knowledge, skill and character.

The aim of church-based learning is that students develop the ability to:

  • Reflect theologically on church based experiences.
  • Identify strengths, gifts, and passions - developing the weaker ones and establishing the stronger ones.
  • Work collaboratively within team and leadership situations.
  • Set realistic goals.
  • Take responsibility for personal and spiritual growth and development.
  • Establish accountability, support and encouragement networks.

3. Mentorship

Pastoral Leadership Students are to meet at least monthly with a mentor who is an experienced pastor. The purpose of the mentoring is to assist in the development of character and passion. The mentoring process explores the student's daily life in the areas of home, ministry and community in the light of Scriptures. 

A mentor is someone who is willing to journey with the student and give guidance in the areas of theological reflection and self-reflection. Pathways will guide in the choice of a mentor. A good mentor is someone who demonstrates maturity, wisdom, courage and grace. They have the willingness to speak into another's life and encourage reflective thinking. Students will also meet regularly with the Pastoral Leadership Coordinator at Pathways. These sessions will help to integrate different components of the programme to enhance personal and ministry development.

4. Evaluation

Evaluation is an important part of the training process and evaluation/feedback will be received from designated Pathways staff, supervisors, mentors and peers on a regular basis. Each year there are two significant evaluations: a mid-year review with the Pathways Pastoral Leadership Coordinator, and then a more significant and robust review with the wider group of people involved in their training.

5. Pastoral Theology

Pastoral Theology is a weekly 90-minute class organised by Carey Baptist College for all Pastoral Leadership students on a Tuesday morning. A presentation on a pastoral leadership issue is given each Tuesday followed by 30 minutes of interaction in a peer formation group. Sometimes more time is scheduled for peer formation groups. Spouses are encouraged to participate when they are able.

The purpose of this class is as follows:

  • To develop an appreciation of how theology influences practice;
  • To develop strong pastoral leadership values, philosophy and culture within our students;
  • To synthesise study, fieldwork, and experiences - attempting to look at them through pastoral lenses;
  • To develop critical thinking skills, and understand the difference between idealism and realism;
  • To provide a forum for discussion and reflection on current issues within the church and the world;
  • To have input from both academics and practitioners;
  • To interact with one another and develop relationships;
  • To develop team building skills.


Students are also required to attend community worship, speaker's corner (to develop preaching skills) and lunch on Tuesdays (9am to 1pm). The Pastoral Theology programme is scheduled for 24 Tuesdays each year. Students are required to keep a journal based on these class sessions and accompanying reading. The purpose of this journal is to consolidate understanding of these topics and connect theories to one's practical work and experiences.

Applicability of the Diploma in Pastoral Leadership Course to Christian Brethren Churches:

Bachelor of Applied Theology courses offered at Carey Baptist College are taught by Carey faculty (some of whom are members of Brethren assemblies) and from time-to-time will include input from Pathways staff. These courses overlap with requirements for the Diploma in Pastoral Leadership. The Bachelor of Applied Theology may be taken through distance education, attendance in classes at Carey's Auckland campus, or a blend of these modes of learning.

In addition to the Diploma in Pastoral Leadership classes offered at Carey Baptist College, there are specific lectures and small group tutorials taught by Pathways College faculty. These are directed to the ministry contexts that are particular to Brethren students. Attendance (on each Tuesday of the academic year) at these and associated Carey classes is a course requirement. 

Note that the Diploma in Pastoral Leadership at both Carey and Pathways is only offered in the context of denominational endorsement; consequently loyalty is held highly and a denominational change during the programme excludes a student from the award.

Pastoral Leadership students graduate at the conclusion of their studies with a Bachelor of Applied Theology from Carey Baptist College and a Diploma in Pastoral Leadership jointly from Carey and Pathways. 

For further details on the Bachelor of Applied Theology and Carey's Diploma of Pastoral Leadership, visit the Carey Baptist College website.

You can also contact Pathways College for more details about the Diploma of Pastoral Leadership.

For application papers, schedule of fees, course requirements and scholarship possibilities, email the Director of Ministry Training, Pathways College.