Church Leadership Resources

The Change or Suppression Act comes into operation on February 17th, 2022.  This is an important Act for pastors and churches to be aware of with regard to individual and organisational responsibilities.   

Recently the BUV hosted information sessions with the Victorian Equal Opportunities & Human Rights Commission, which is responsible for overseeing the Civil Response Scheme under the Act. 

The BUV has drafted some Guidance for churches with regard to carrying out ministry in view of this Act.    Please click here to view or download this document

A church’s capacity to engage with God’s mission in a particular time and place is dependent on the capacity of its people to work together in unity and act with integrity as ambassadors of Christ. This ‘Guide to Developing a Code of Conduct for Church Leaders’, assists churches to develop their own Code of Conduct within the context of healthy relationships, rather than waiting for situations of conflict or concern to emerge. Codes of Conduct should be reviewed and confirmed regularly. If you would like help in developing a Code of Conduct for your church, please contact the Church Health and Capacity Building Team. Please note that all Pastors accredited with the Baptist Union of Victoria will continue to be accountable to the BUV’s Code of Conduct for Pastoral Leaders.

 A Guide to Developing a Code of Conduct for Church Leaders

We recognise the value of regular check-ups in many areas of life (cars, gym, personal health, etc). These check-ups help us to see how things are going and to address minor issues before they escalate. They also encourage us to celebrate what’s going well. It is good for church leaders to review regularly how their church is going. To assist with this, a simple Annual Church Health Check-Up tool is now available

 Annual Church Health Check-Up Tool

Leadership is challenging at any time, but it can be particularly stressful during times of disruption and change such as during the global pandemic. To assist leaders to be resilient during this time, the Church Health & Capacity Building Team has produced a set of short videos with a Participants Guide about maintaining emotional and spiritual health.

Download Participants Guide

Session 1 by Christine Wanstall


Session 2 by Rev Mark Wilkinson


Session 3 by Peter Botross

Here are some powerful questions for churches, and leaders in particular, to reflect on as they consider their life and mission.

  • Who are we, now? (Identity)
  • Who is our neighbour, now? (Context)
  • What does God call us to do, now? (Purpose)
  • In order to address God’s call, what difference do we believe God has called us to make in the next three to five years? (Outcomes)
  • What would it look like in three to five years if we are faithful to and fruitful with our call? (Vision/Possibilities)
  • How will we do it? (Strategy)
  • How will we measure our progress toward fulfilling our call? (Metrics)
  • What have we learned from our experience? (Learning/Evaluation)
  • What reshaping or changing do we need to work on because of what we have learned? (Growth)

(Source: Gil Rendle, Doing the Math of Mission, Rowman & Littlefield (USA), 2014).

This partnership guide is one of three that are being prepared for churches considering partnerships. This is the level two partnership guide which is aimed at churches exploring sharing staff and programs with other churches. The level three partnership guide is aimed at churches considering a complete merger with another church. The level one partnership guide will be aimed at churches wanting to consider sharing property and physical resources with other churches.

This is designed when two or more separate churches or groups are considering a partnership involving sharing people or programs. Note. Partnerships involving groups other than churches can be equally as beneficial; however they are significantly more complex. If you are considering working with a government or non-church group please feel free to contact the Church Health and Capacity Building team.

 Template for Churches Considering Collaboration

This partnership guide is one of three that are being prepared for churches considering partnerships. This is the level three partnership guide which is aimed at churches considering a complete merger with another church. The level two partnership guide will be aimed at churches exploring sharing staff and programs with other churches. The level one partnership guide will be aimed at churches wanting to consider sharing property and physical resources with other churches.

 Template for Church Considering a Full Merger

The BUV’s Church Health & Capacity Building Team is available to assist churches to assess and overcome the seeds of congregational decline.


Church Size Dynamics is an online training resource that includes a 15minutes video and workbook. 


This training resource aims to help church leaders and Pastors understand how different churches operate at different sizes and implement required changes to transition to a desirable future. 


Through the learning activities, leaders will be able to: 

  • Recognize the dynamics associated with your church size 
  • Identify the implication of your current church size upon the function of pastors, governance and congregational life
  • Consider the next phase of your development/growth 
  • Agree on key transitions that would assist the church’s growth into the desired future 
  • Create an action plan for the church’s transition into a desirable future

Church Size Dynamics

All churches have volunteer and sometimes paid leaders who take on governance or operational roles such as Eldership, Diaconate, Ministry Team Leaders. It is important that there are clearly expressed expectations about these roles – authority, responsibilities, accountability, etc.

The Church Health & Capacity Building Team have developed sample role descriptions that we encourage churches to adapt to reflect their context. Churches can contact the Team for assistance in implementing these documents.

Elders Role. Sample Description and Expectations

Deacons Role. Sample Description and Expectations

Ministry Leaders Role. Sample Description and Expectations

Members Role. Sample Description and Expectations

One of the features of our BUV is our cultural diversity. We see this not only in the 70+ churches and congregations who have a primary language other than English, but in the growing range of ethnic backgrounds represented in most of our churches. This is a testimony to the global scope and hospitality of the Gospel of Jesus Christ we all share. This diversity offers the opportunity for enriching experiences as we share our cultural gifts with one another. But it also presents challenges as we seek to understand and engage with one another inter-culturally. Our different ideas, methods and values can generate conflict. And even the ways we deal with conflict differ across cultures. The attached article offers some helpful insights into this. It may help us to understand others, relate better to them and learn from them as we all seek to do church and life better together. If you want to explore this further, please contact Marc Chan or Meewon Yang from our BUV’s Church Health and Capacity Building Team. This article was originally published by Congregations Magazine, available in The Alban Institute’s Conflict Management in Congregations.

 From Surgery to Acupuncture – Managing Church Conflict

This document is provided as a way of exploring the possibility of sharing premises with another group / church. The BUV Church Health and Capacity Building Team is available to support churches to think through this option.

Guidelines for Churches Considering Sharing Premises Document

We all have experiences of doing things with others. Sometimes teams are a joy, with the combined outcomes being greater than the sum of the individual parts. Sometimes teams can be difficult, with lots of time and energy being taken away from the activities and outcomes we are meant to be working towards. Team health is a major factor in the success of all organisations and endeavours, including the Church and our mission of advancing the Kingdom.

If you are interested in improving you team’s effectiveness then follow the link below. We have developed a tool for reviewing your team health. The tool has been developed using the principles from Patrick Lencioni’s book, Five Dysfunctions of Team, only they have been reframed in the positive, Five Functions of Team.

Also provided below is the Team Evaluation Scale developed by Tim Dyer, to further assist in the assessment of team’s health.

If you need any help with these tools, or following up on improving your team health, then please call the BUV Church Health and Capacity Building team.

Church Team Health Tool
Tim Dyer’s Team Evaluation Tool

One of the key factors influencing the health of a church is the well-being of its leaders. A major study of Australian Christian workers has been conducted at the University of Western Sydney. It makes some important findings for Pastors, others who make heavy commitments to ministry or mission, and those who care for them. (Written by Grant Bickerton).

 Well-Being in Ministry Study overview and results
 Being on fire without burning out in ministry Handout

Spiritual Vitality is one of the single biggest factors in having a healthy faith community. It is no surprise that the ‘Natural Church Development’ research pin pointed passionate spirituality as being more important than worship style, when it came to churches that are doing well around the world.

Jesus’ words in John 15:4-5 explain it pretty clearly.

4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

This deep connection to Christ and the strength and guidance that we can draw from that, is foundational for growing in faith and advancing the kingdom of God. So we’ve provide this tool as a way of exploring with your leadership team and congregation how you are going with spiritual vitality. Within the tool you can find three different types of questionnaires that can help to generate discussion within your leadership team through different approaches.

Spiritual Vitality Resource

The Church Health and Capacity Team has produced a simple tool to assist a group of leaders to talk together about the life and mission of their church. It might be used on a planning retreat or could be extended into a congregational forum in a smaller church.

 Talking Together About Church Life

The National Church Life Survey is a powerful evidence based tool helping churches identify: strengths, congregational vitality, signs of hope for future direction and opportunities to connect more effectively with the wider community. Thousands of churches have taken part in the survey and are benefiting from the information. Here are a couple of clips explaining, very briefly, how you might understand and use the results from the survey. We hope they are helpful. Go to to follow along with the video.