Resources for Pastors

The Pastoral Leadership Support & Development team provide a variety of resources – both through relationships and processes – to support and develop healthy pastoral leaders and empowering them to effectively lead their churches in mission.

The BUV Code of Ethics for Pastoral Leaders provides us with a resource as we seek to be faithful to our calling and healthy in our practice of Christian ministry. It contains principles to aspire to and guidelines against which we are held accountable. The BUV Professional Standards Group has recently completed a revision of the Code. As part of that, Pastors were invited to provide feedback on a draft and that feedback was considered in the review process. Union Council has approved the revised Code and it is now in place.

If you have any questions about our BUV Code of Ethics, please contact BUV Professional Standards Consultant, Brenda Williams at

Download BUV Code of Ethics

The Baptist Union of Victoria believes that it is not healthy for pastors to be “lone rangers”. Amidst the many privileges and complexities of our vocation, we all need good people alongside us to support us spiritually, emotionally and in maintaining healthy balance and perspective. One of the most helpful ways to do this is to be part of a small group of pastors who commit to meeting together regularly, providing mutual support, encouragement and solidarity. The Baptist Union of Victoria is not prescriptive as to how pastors do this; there are many different effective models. However we do believe that healthy pastoral peer groups usually have the following 5 features:

  • A group that is a “safe place” where trust can grow
  • A group where participants make a reliable commitment to meeting together on a regular basis
  • A group where expectations are clear to all members
  • A group that provides for breadth and inclusivity
  • A group that works through simple, effective organisation

The BUV’s Pastoral Leadership Support and Development team including its Regional Pastors, and Generations and Emerging Leadership Pastor are all active in initiating and supporting pastoral peer groups. If you would like to talk to one of us about this, please contact the PLS&D Administrative Assistant, via email

The Pastoral Leadership Support & Development team offers Exit Interviews to Pastoral Leaders as part of their process of leaving a pastoral role in a BUV church. These interviews have 3 purposes:

1. To give pastors an opportunity to talk about their experience of pastoral leadership within the church they are leaving, and particularly to focus on its impact on them and their families. It asks questions like:

  • What are the aspects of your ministry that you look back on with real satisfaction and achievement?
  • In what ways do you feel you have grown over this period of ministry?
  • What have you learnt about yourself?
  • What are some of the disappointments/frustrations of this period of ministry?
  • What do you feel are some of your own areas of vulnerability and limitation in ministry?
  • What will you seek to change in the way you approach ministry as you move on?
  • How has the church cared for you and your family?
  • How would you summarise your feelings about leaving?
  • How do you plan to respond when people from the church contact you in future to ask your pastoral advice or to officiate at a wedding, funeral, baptism or infant dedication?

An Exit Interview can identify emotional wounds an exiting pastor may be carrying and can offer a chance to work together on a strategy to address these through counselling, supervision or through the BUV’s Pastoral Recovery Process.

2. To give an opportunity for Pastors to reflect on their sense of God’s call upon their lives as they approach a time of pastoral transition? An Exit Interview can explore:

  • What have you discovered about yourself and God’s call?
  • What do you now see as your gifts and strengths?
  • How might these insights be expressed in your next stage of life and ministry?

3. To give the BUV office an opportunity to learn from the rich reservoir of a Pastor’s knowledge about the functioning of that church to enable us to wisely support it in the future. The Exit Interview may ask the following questions:

  • What do you see as the strengths of the church?
  • What brings the greatest inspiration and cohesion to the church?
  • What is the greatest threat to the well-being of the church?
  • What is the church most reluctant to face?
  • Have you experienced areas of inconsistency between what the church believes about itself and how it actually behaves?
  • What are the most important ministry opportunities currently available to the church?
  • If you could say anything to the leaders at the church as you move on, what would you want to say?
  • Is there anything else that you would want an incoming pastor to know?

It is a core commitment of the Pastoral Leadership Support and Development team that a Pastor who participates in an Exit Interview is able to determine how the information they share is used.
Exit interviews provide strong foundations for ongoing care of both the Pastoral Leader, their family and the church they are leaving as they embrace a time of transition.
Please contact your Regional Pastor if you would like to arrange an exit interview or contact Priscilla Flett, PLS&D Administrative Assistant on 9880 6150 or email

Pastoral Leadership is a highly relational vocation. Pastoral Leaders are constantly working with people and communities who express great gift and vulnerability. Of course, the Pastoral Leader also carries his or her own unique capacities and vulnerabilities. Unless there is a high commitment to conscious processing of a Pastoral Leader’s own vulnerabilities, there is potential for a Pastoral Leader to be projecting their own needs rather than supporting the needs of others.

With this in mind, one of the goals of the Pastoral Leadership, Support and Development team is for all Pastoral Leaders within Baptist ministry to have a committed relationship with someone who has the skill and care to help them to process and grow through these relational realities. Mostly such a person will be a trained and accredited mentor, coach, supervisor or spiritual director.

If you would like assistance in finding such a relationship, please contact any member of the Pastoral Leadership Support & Development Team by emailing Priscilla Flett on

The BUV is committed to ensuring Pastors have access to counselling and other supports when particular needs arise in their lives. Please contact the Pastoral Leadership Support & Development Team if you require more information.

Pastoral Care For Pastors

Spiritual Health Victoria has provided a Credentialing Framework Document, for the purposes of helping church denominations meet the new standards to ensure that people appointed by churches – both paid and voluntary – have adequate qualifications, experience and competence to provide safe, high quality pastoral/spiritual care in a healthcare environment. Comprehensive templates are available in the “Spiritual Care Providers Credentialing Framework” on their website. Credentialing for Pastoral Carers

The call of God on our lives is not static; part of our life with God is seeking to be always open to the renewing call of God. There comes a time for most pastors when they sense that it is the right time to be open to the possibility of seeking a new pastoral position. The Pastoral Search Advisory Group (previously Advisory Board) of the Baptist Union of Victoria provides a process for pastors who wish to enter such a process of discerning anew God’s leading.

The Pastoral Search Advisory Group is responsible for helping churches to find a new pastor when a vacancy occurs as well as working with pastors in identifying fresh possibilities for ministry in other places. In both instances the Pastoral Search Advisory Group is a service group to pastors and churches.

The Group is made up of up to eight experienced BUV pastors, the Head of Pastoral Leadership, Support & Development and is chaired by the Director of Mission & Ministries. At any given point of time the Group will be co-operating with anywhere between ten and forty churches depending on the pastoral needs being experienced.

The Pastoral Search Advisory Group undertakes a number of tasks with pastoral search committees in particular:

  • Support is offered when an impending pastoral vacancy is notified.
  • A moderator is appointed upon request to assist the church through the interim period and to give easily accessed assistance to the pastoral search committee.
  • On the basis of information provided by pastors about themselves, the Group liaises with pastoral search committees of churches seeking new pastoral staff.
  • Assistance is given in preparing a church profile and pastoral profile.

In every respect, it is an advisory role only. Each local church committee is left to make its own decisions and, of course, the church membership itself has the final responsibility for the issue of a call.

There is also assistance offered to pastors seeking fresh opportunities for ministry. While no guarantees can be offered with respect to outcomes, every effort is made to alert churches to the availability of pastors who have indicated their desire for such a move where their gifts and experience are seen to be appropriate to the needs of a given congregation. The Pastoral Search Advisory Group depends heavily on information provided by pastors about themselves and makes comprehensive (and confidential) use of information provided by pastors.

If you are a member of a pastoral search committee, be aware of the energy and enthusiasm of the Pastoral Search Advisory Group to help you seek the Lord’s guidance as you ponder the best way forward for the filling of the pastoral vacancy in your congregation. If you are a pastor feeling that the time may be right to be open to other possibilities in ministry, remember that the Pastoral Search Advisory Group is there to help you also. Hopefully, as often as is possible, the needs of both pastors and churches can be happily matched in order that the Kingdom may continue to be extended.

Please email or phone Liah Coombs on 9880 6188 if you require further assistance.

Pastoral Positions

Job advertisements for pastoral positions are posted here

The Baptist Union of Victoria has had more than 20 years of developing pastoral review processes and has facilitated hundreds of pastoral reviews in its churches. This strong history of learning is offered to Baptist Churches and pastors through the work of the Pastoral Leadership Support and Development team.

Along the way we’ve discovered that Pastoral Reviews are unlike reviews in most workplaces:

  • While the pastor is a servant of the church, the church – i.e. the “employer” – is not the pastor’s master. God is. So the pastor’s role must always be discerned and negotiated between the pastor and the church.
  • Pastors do not have a single manager to define their priorities; they have a whole congregation of people with needs, desires and expectations. The fact that the people doing the review are the pastor’s congregation creates all sorts of unique dynamics.
  • Pastoral performance is often dependent on the church’s circumstances and constraints. For example, it is not unknown for churches to encourage goals for the pastor to achieve and then deny the pastor the resources and opportunities to achieve them.

So… what we review in a pastoral review is the relationship between the church and the pastor. We ask:

  • What’s working well in the relationship between church and pastor that can be celebrated… and further enhanced and developed for the good of the Kingdom of God?
  • What’s causing some tension that can be put on the table and resolved together before it becomes the source of conflict?

As part of the process, it is usually appropriate to do some evaluation of how the pastor is going about their job… but only evaluated in the context of an agreed pastoral job description/statement of pastoral priorities. Even here the purpose is to see how the relationship between church and pastor can be enhanced.

The Pastoral Leadership Support and Development team has developed a variety of templates and approaches for Pastoral Reviews which can be accessed through your Regional Pastor:

  • A 12-month review (to gain an initial sense of how a new Church-Pastor Partnership is forming)
  • A more developed Pastoral Review Process
  • A Pastoral Review that involves more detailed review the Church’s ministries
  • A process of ongoing or formative review

Pastoral review processes can involve:

  • Questionnaires filled in by the Pastor and an appointed Pastoral Review Group
  • Questionnaires filled in by the whole church
  • Interviews
  • Conversations between the Pastor and a Pastoral Review Group
  • Processes of prayer and discernment

There is enormous value in a Pastoral Review being facilitated by someone from outside the church who is committed to the wellbeing of Church and Pastor without being a stakeholder in the recommendations that emerge. Such a person can facilitate a process that is fair, robust and gracious.
Good Pastoral Reviews never subject a Pastor to unfair scrutiny. Managed by a good process, they can richly enhance the experience and fruitfulness of both Church and Pastor.

To discuss Pastoral Reviews further, please contact your Regional Pastor. Their contact details can be found HERE

To those who are called to it, pastoral leadership is a vocation of unparalleled privilege. It is also an intensely relational vocation that exposes its practitioners to some of the most painful and damaged aspects of human life and community. As none of us are fully integrated, Pastoral Leaders almost inevitably find that their own vulnerability is exposed. While the BUV provides all sorts of resources for its Pastoral Leaders to maintain emotional, psychological and spiritual health, some Pastoral Leaders will find themselves carrying deeper wounds.

The Pastoral Recovery Process may be activated in these circumstances. Usually following an exit interview, recommended by a member of the Pastoral Leadership Support and Development team and approved by the BUV’s Leadership team, the Pastoral Recovery Process provides some financial support, releasing a Pastoral Leader for the need to immediately take up another pastoral appointment. A Pastoral Recovery Support Group then works with the Pastor in processes of support, counselling, spiritual renewal and learning that are tailor made for the Pastoral Leader concerned. The process also involves active discernment in terms of future vocation.

The Pastoral Recovery Process is available for BUV Accredited Pastoral Leaders, depending on what is discerned as best for the Pastoral Leader concerned and budget availability.

To find out more, please contact your Regional Pastor

The resources below may be helpful for those experiencing transitions

Discerning Well
When Is It Time to Move On
Towards Healthy Transitions in Pastoral Ministry

Resources and information on Pastoral Stipends available through our BUV Finance Team on the link below:

Stipend guidelines, Statement of Understanding and recommended fees for visiting Pastors
2023 Guidelines for Healthy Church Pastor Relationship

A BUV Pastoral Health & Growth Covenant is a tool for all BUV pastoral/missional leaders who want to invest in ongoing health and growth. As such, it is encouraged for all pastors, but it is not compulsory.

A BUV Pastoral Health & Growth Covenant is seen as a reaffirmation of pastoral call through attention to godly and healthy ministry practice in all its dimensions including maintaining spiritual vitality, leisure and fitness, healthy relationships (family and with others outside the church), support and accountability, ongoing learning, broad ministry horizons and ethical practice.

A BUV Pastoral Health & Growth Covenant is for the benefit of pastoral leaders and does not need to be lodged with our BUV office. Those applying for BUV Pastoral Leadership Accreditation will need to retain а copy of their BUV Pastoral Health & Growth Covenant.

Ongoing support and accountability is important whenever we work toward achieving long-term plans. A ‘Covenant Companion‘ can serve as a sounding board as you set your goals and can meet with you regularly (at least 4 times a year) to help you keep on track.

There are two ways you can achieve this:

  • Asking someone you trust to work with you in the achievement of the covenant plans you set yourself. This could be your mentor. supervisor coach or spiritual director or a pastoral colleague you trust to encourage, support and challenge you in the fulfilment of your goals; OR
  • Inviting your pastoral cluster or peer group to work with you in the achievement of your covenant plans. This would provide a more collegial process of ongoing input, support and accountability in your desires for healthy and growing ministry.

To enhance the ownership of the church or ministry context in the pastoral leader’s health and development, a pastoral leader may choose to ask a church leader to sign off or hold them accountable to the BUV Pastoral Health & Growth Covenant.

Please click on the link below to complete your own covenant commitments, once completed save the document as a pdf in your files.

 BUV Pastoral Health and Growth Covenant

Download the most recent updated version of the Guidelines for Healthy Church Pastor Relationship – noting an update in 4.6

2023 Guidelines for Healthy Church Pastor Relationship