Leadership Development Program

Spiritually vibrant, evangelistically urgent and practically skilled church leaders

Join a cohort of church leaders committed to change and growth to see their churches become healthier, more evangelistically effective and multiplying their ministries. The two-year program includes three cohort intensives, monthly coaching and a church health consult assessment.

Healthy churches need
healthy leaders

We long to see Australia won for Jesus through local churches. Our network supports, coaches, trains and prays alongside the church leaders of Australia. We don’t pretend to offer a one-size-fits-all solution, or think we have all the answers. But we’re convinced that together we can make real progress.

Why do the Development Program with Reach Australia?

An Australian network with shared convictions

Church leaders need to learn from each other. We focus on sharing wisdom and experience from godly ministry practitioners in our Australian context.

Theological rigour with practical application

All ministry needs to be theologically driven. The program is deep in the word with our thinking and practice being driven by gospel convictions.

Sustained input

Intensives with a cohort of peers lead by experienced church leaders to provide you with the skills and tools for growth.

Intensive 1: Leading yourself

“It’s not an insignificant cost, but if you’re open, it could radically impact the way your church runs for the good of the kingdom.”

Matt Dodd
Vic Park Presbyterian Church Perth

I am truly grateful for all that it has taught me. It’s really helped me understand myself better, my people better and the work that God has entrusted to all of us better.

Alan Au
Captivate Presbyterian Church Sydney

It’s been fantastic to get together thrashing around ideas. Very, very practical to help people be captured by the gospel and brought into his kingdom, to grow into disciples.

Todd Hall
Exchange Church Shepparton VIC

It’s been great to think about church with a bunch of other people who are in similar circumstances. Doing it together, the fellowship you have is absolutely tremendous.

Sam Hilton
Hunter Bible Church Newcastle

We’re in a church of about 40 people. Being able to view the church in terms of a pathway, even for a small church, is really, really good.

Brad Dewson
Goondiwindi Presbyterian Church QLD

Really helpful in making us intentional, thinking about what our priorities are - making sure we’re keeping the gospel at the forefront.

Tory Cayzer
Kootingal Moonbi Anglican Churches

Immensely helpful. We weren’t trained at college to be able to manage a church and think deep into leadership, teams and HR. Deliberate training in those areas has been helpful.

Ben Ho
SLE Church Brisbane

In regional ministry there’s not a lot of time or headspace to think this stuff through. It’s helped us be deliberate in the way we lead ministry.

Jason Barker
Connect Church South Grafton NSW

The course has given me the space to consider how to better lead myself, dissect who I am and my values, and assess what’s best next for our church with the vision in mind.

Mikey Tai
Providence Church Brisbane

I had no idea of the extent to which I would benefit. It’s hasn’t just been good for me organisationally, it’s also kept me fresh spiritually. We’ve been nurtured and cared for.

Wayne Connor
Dubbo Presbyterian Church NSW

Totally worth the investment of time. You get not only the theology that sits behind it, but quality practices to implement in your context. It’s not a one-size-fits-all. It’s principles.

Dave Keun
Kellyville Anglican
Church NSW

The Program

A comprehensive church health consult

Monthly coaching

Leadership cohort intensives

Three intensives

Gather three times for four-day retreats with the same cohort. Meet with 12-16 church leaders from various denominations and contexts from across Australia. Make strong connections in the network and share your wisdom with others over your lifetime of ministry. Look forward to getting practical, hands-on skills and tools you can use immediately in leading your ministry.

Intensive 1: Leading yourself

– Gospel convictions

– How you operate as a person

– Communication skills

– Mission and vision values

Intensive 2: Leading others

– Applying pathway and ecosystem thinking

– Developing leaders and godly effective delegation

– Building healthy teams

– Growing a leadership pipeline

– Leading change

– Managing your leaders for outcomes

– Effective meetings

– Working on the ‘serve area’ in your church

– Men and women thriving on teams together

– Conflict

Intensive 3: Leading for growth

– Growth barriers

– Leading with courage

– Multiplying ministry in your context

“You need to do it. It's the best thing you can do since Bible College.”

Ross Wilson Southside Presbyterian Church Brisbane

One thing that’s been helpful for me is helping our church move through the next stages of growth. And how I, as a leader, can inspire others to move in that direction.

Chris Barnes
Baranduda Community Church VIC

I’m from a small denomination, so I was looking for relationships and connections that can help me have longevity in ministry.

Adam Shoenmaker
Oasis Church Brisbane

You’ll learn from godly pastors and leaders. You’ll meet and find encouragement from others in the same boat. It’s worth every ounce of time and energy.

James Grady
Campbelltown Baptist Church Sydney

The best thing I’ve done post-college. It’s helped me mobilise others for ministry and helped me lead better at church. I’m feeling further equipped for the future.

Simon Nixey
Crossroads Church Canberra

Such a blessing. Encouraged and feeling pumped and hopeful for what God’s going to keep doing through the program. Always grateful.

Pier Francini
Central Valley Church Brisbane

The impact for us has been building leaders. We’ve been more deliberate about raising up new leaders and equipping them. We’re actually seeing the fruit of that.

Rob Doyle
Lake Mac Church NSW

If you think you’ve got it all together, don’t come. You’ll be challenged in your heart, in your convictions and in your practices.

Gavin Rosser
Lugarno Anglican Church Sydney

With your denomination you get accountability and a theological framework. With the Development Program, you get training in how to lead a church that holds to those convictions.

Linden Fooks
Ann St Presbyterian Church Brisbane

Our church had been wanting to grow for a long time, and I didn’t have the skills to help it grow. I needed better leadership skills to make changes that were lasting.

Daniel Presland
Riverwood Presbyterian Church Sydney

It’s fantastic. It’s been really beneficial for our church and seeing growth and developing leaders at church. How do we work well together as a team and not just silo ourselves?

Dan Wilton
Crossroads Presbyterian Church Canberra

We’ve grown so much that we’ve started a new church down the road. So many people are coming to Christ.

Al Blanch
Dubbo Presbyterian Church NSW

We found it really fruitful. It grew us as leaders, it was insightful and flexible enough to be adapted to our specific needs.

Rod Bayley
Wollongong Baptist Church NSW

The most significant intervention in our church. You come out of Bible college, and then 80% of your job consists of things you weren't trained for. It's been huge for us, we're seeing fruit that we're very thankful for.

Rory Shiner
Providence Church
Perth

You get lots of good input from people who have been in ministry for a long time, along with peers. People on your side, asking you hard questions and helping you implement change.

Greg Lee
Hunter Bible Church Newcastle

It’s helped us put together a thoughtful process to help people engage with the gospel. We want people to become Christians - how do we get there?

Dave Ferres
Dubbo Presbyterian Church NSW

Upcoming 2024 intakes

Intensive 1: August 12-15 2024

Intensive 2: Dates TBC

Intensive 3: Dates TBC

Take the next step:

Got questions?

The Reach Australia network is made up of over 260+ churches from over 12 denominations. We are a national, reformed and evangelical movement with shared convictions.

Under God, the leaders of churches are key to the vibrancy and progress of the church in Australia. Our vision for thousands of healthy, evangelistic and multiplying churches means we must work together across denominations. In fact we believe that a network can do things other structures are not set up to do. We’re excited to serve pastors from across Australia including Presbyterian, independent evangelical, Reformed, Baptist, Anglican and others who affirm our biblical convictions.

We long to encourage and equip gospel ministers to become spiritually vibrant, theologically driven, evangelistically urgent, practically skilled leaders, and to lead churches that also display these attributes. Our framework outlines five key gospel convictions that lie behind everything we do. These principles are like a thread through the cohort programs we run for pastors; they are the basis for the consulting we do with churches. You’ll find that we theme our conference around these ideas. Read the Reach Australia Framework ebook.

While it’s important that the Leadership Development Program be concentrated on senior leaders, we recognise that their ability to lead change depends to a large degree on their teams alignment with the senior minister. Therefore we’re excited to be able to announce that we are piloting a Development Program stream for men and women on ministry staff teams in the later half of 2023 (e.g. assistant pastors).

 

Reach Australia’s National Conference is also an excellent way to introduce your team to some of the principles of the Development Program, while at the same time as having a week of wonderful fellowship and wider networking. You might consider treating the conference as your annual staff retreat, as many church teams do.

One of the outcomes we long to see from the Leadership Development Program is a network of leaders joined together in the vision of thousands of healthy, evangelistic and multiplying churches. We believe we really are better together! This can take many forms, but could include being trained as a coach, assisting on consultations and being willing to share your experiences with others in similar situations to you. You may also consider partnering with us financially, by contributing the resource library fund or to Reach Australia’s ministry generally. Some leaders have been so helped they’ve made supporting others in the program part of their budgets each year. Being connected with a group of leaders from around the country and across denominational lines who share a similar heart of urgency for the lost is deeply refreshing and encouraging. We hope the network persists for many decades stirring leaders towards healthy, evangelistic and multiplying churches.

 

Reach Australia (originally Geneva Push) began as a network of church planters, with a single focus on establishing new churches across the country and seeing Australia won for Christ. As our network and resources have grown, so too has our focus – expanding to senior leadership of established churches, ministry wives, and now men and women in key leadership roles. In 2023, 40% of National Conference attendees were female, and 43% of the Reach Australia staff team are women, with female representation at many different levels of our organisation including governance.

As we seek to grow healthy, established and multiplying churches, we have two key networks for women:

Women in leadership: We’re growing a network for women in key leadership roles in churches across Australia. A place for women to belong, a space to connect and contribute, and strategic springboard programs to see more women mobilised for gospel ministry. This includes coaching and leadership development opportunities. 

It’s a network for current and emerging leaders, in both paid and high level volunteer roles –  women in ministry, women in ministry support and governance roles. As we reach Australia with the gospel, we need the diverse gifts, experiences and perspectives women bring as we build healthy, evangelistic, multiplying churches. 

Wives Network: Wives of church planters and pastors have unique challenges, joys and opportunities. The Ministry Wives network seeks to grow ministry wives in giving their lives over to Jesus and the cause of his gospel as fully as they can, using their particular strengths, opportunities and settings which God has given them.

We currently have 39 coaching relationships and regularly run Wives Network Intensives.

The Reach Australia network is made up of over 260 churches of different sizes and structures from over 12 denominations. As a result there is a wide range of church models and incredible diversity in roles for women. Women are serving on teams as Associate Ministers,  as portfolio Ministry Directors, in ministry support (including admin, comms and graphic design), Next Gen ministries (YA, youth and kids), pastoral care, hospitality, operations, and governance. These include part-time and full-time roles, both paid and volunteers. 

Our focus on making mature disciples in ever-increasing numbers has led to innovative and new roles being created across the ecosystem purpose areas including Deep in Word, On Mission, Serving Others, In Community and Loving God. These roles allow for specialisation and depth around  personal interests and gifting, and have opened up more roles for women than are often available in a congregational pastoring model. Our emphasis on building team-based ministry and mobilising the whole church for gospel ministry has seen an increasing number of roles for women at different levels of leadership. 

Here are examples of women serving in diverse roles across the network.

It’s not an imperative that staffing and organisational structures move to an ‘M’* or any other ‘purpose driven’ model. We’re keen to help facilitate robust conversations about what is most helpful for churches in their contexts, as they seek, under God, to lead healthy, evangelistic, multiplying churches.

Churches and pastors in our network have different opinions about organisational models. The Reach Australia framework encourages churches to break down complex church life by thinking of church life in two ways: first, as a pathway seeking to move people from death to life in Jesus (this enables both a people and systems/structures analysis); second, aiming to see both individuals and the church pursue various outcomes.

What does this look like? It varies across the network based on local context, lifecycle of the church and leadership capacity. Some of the churches in the network have structured around outcomes and others  use a congregational model to see people move from death to life.

As a network, we encourage churches to be intentional. Every church needs to reflect on the effectiveness of the model and structures they are using, and we want to encourage and enable churches to make change if it’s helpful. Churches need to have regular robust conversations about their structures and organisational systems in all contexts – small and large churches, regional churches and city churches.


* We’ve broken down what a disciple looks like into five things (deep in word, on mission, serving others, belongs in community and loving God). Many churches in our network have structured their churches with an  outcomes focus.

We have churches of different sizes in the network, from new churches launching with 30 people to large churches with over 2,500 people regularly gathering, including many churches in regional and remote parts of Australia. One size of ministry doesn’t fit all. Different sized churches suit different contexts and will reach different people.

As a network, we’re committed to equipping churches of all sizes. That could look like helping churches to grow bigger or multiplying lots of smaller churches. 

Reach Australia is committed to planting more churches – 300 by 2030.  These churches invariably start small and will grow.

Being married to a church leader can bring great joy and also unique challenges. Our Wives Network, with a program parallel to the Leadership Development Program at no extra cost, recognises these challenges and the importance of investing in ministry couples. The Wives Network includes access to a free 3-day getaway, free coaching, free coaching training, and partial subsidy to a 4-day leadership getaway.

We’re convinced about central importance of leadership in the church. The Leadership Development Program is a huge investment backed by gospel patrons for the cause of Christ. The cost to you represents a partnering with us in about half this cost. 50% of Development Program costs are generously covered by giving from a generous foundation.

Here are the costs over the two years for your church to be involved:

Year 1: $5,500 (+ GST)
Year 2: $5,500 (+ GST)

* $1,000 deposit to be paid before the first intensive

* Costs include participation by women in the Reach Australia Wives Network, including coaching

This is what’s included:
• Full church health consultation: including onsite visit

• Coaching: 10 x 1-2 hour sessions
• Development intensives: 3 x 3 day intensives
• Core resources: Access to Reach Australia content library
• Wives Network: Access to 3 day getaway, coaching, coach training, and partial subsidy of 4 day leadership and ministry skill training

Note: If this level of partnership presents a difficulty for you, we’re keen to chat with you.

The more information you can provide the better we can assess the current health of your church. Our team will guide you through what’s required, but an indicative list we will ask for is:

Church congregation

• Number of newcomers during the last 12-24 months
• Past 10 years of weekly church attendance with breakdown of adults, youth and kids

• Median church age
• Past 10 years of conversions and baptisms
• Key postcodes and map of church members’ locations

Church programs and ministry

• Past 10 years of small group attendance
• Number of small groups and leaders
• Number of volunteers and percentage of church serving

Church information

• Past 10 years of budget, total giving and/or financial statements.
• Current detailed budget
• List of ministry staff: role, start date and days per week
• List of current church communications – bulletins, newsletters, social media

• Number of church seats

• Total usable acreage (rented or owned) for the church
• Responses to key issues in the church and recent pivotal events

• NCLS or NCD data
• Church constitution and bylaws
• Church polity and structure
• Most recent eldership or leadership meeting minutes