MA Christian Approaches to Leadership Modules

Both core modules in the MA in Christian Approaches to Leadership run every year with optional modules running every other year in rotation.

All of our MA modules are open to all, so anyone may enrol in a module as an “auditorwithout registering for the full MA programme. An auditor participates in a module in exactly the same way as students on the MA, but does not prepare an essay at the end of it.

See all forthcoming modules in the MA in Christian Approaches to Leadership

Core Modules


Christian Faith and Leadership

The module explores and analyses ways in which theology and spirituality underpin and challenge an understanding of leadership within and outside faith-based contexts. It encourages critical reflection on how leadership and management within the changing nature of contemporary society can be informed by insights from spiritual and theological traditions, especially Christianity, and be related to a theological view of faith, vocation, the Church and its mission. The connection between spirituality, theology and leadership is explored to reflect how these perspectives are integral to a Christian understanding of leadership. Different leadership models, secular and religious, are critically examined. Participants are encouraged to become confident in handling disciplines and methodologies that can inform an understanding of Christian approaches to leadership, including reflection on their contexts and preferred leadership styles. Students are introduced to relevant academic disciplines that are essential for study at level 7 as part of their induction to the programme.


Reflective Practice

The module is a methodological and hermeneutical study of how reflective practice can underpin and challenge an understanding of leadership. It will introduce students to contemporary models of reflective practice both in the educational, theological and business worlds and encourage reflection on how these models inform and critique one another. The module will provide practice in a variety of methods so that students can select and design their own model which they will be able to apply in their back home situations. At the conclusion of this module, students will gain the skills and confidence to use reflective practice as a research method for their own work.

Optional Modules


Change and Conflict

This module critically examines theoretical and practical aspects of change and conflict through a number of disciplines, especially theology, ecology, psychology and complexity theory. Issues of discerning authentic from inauthentic change will be raised. Lessons from the natural world introduce organizations as living systems, with particular examination of the significance of decay and disturbance. Psychological insights examine differing reactions to change, with special reference to the leader’s role in co-creating a secure environment from which exploration can occur. Emergence and self-organisation are studied alongside Newtonian concepts of control. The various strands are brought together to provide a holistic view of the origins and potentially transforming role of conflict. Throughout, students are encouraged to apply the concepts to their own situations, both to increase shared learning and provide practical insights for their own practice.


Understanding Organisations

This module examines contemporary images and models of organisations, bringing multi-disciplinary critical insights into the emergence of organisational culture. The role of the leader is examined, especially through questions of power and authority and comparisons made between different approaches to ecclesiology and church organisation. Systems theory is used to examine organisations, including congregations: students are encouraged to reflect on their own situation and experience in the light of 3 this. Contemporary approaches to organisational culture and organisational development (OD) are examined. The possibility of churches as learning organisations is examined, with students being encouraged to reflect on the practical implications of this. Differing methodological approaches to ethics are examined, with particular reference to alternative models for explaining and sustaining corporate values.


Personal Development

The module will make a methodological and hermeneutical study of contemporary management strategies for using feedback to develop and evaluate personal development plans in a variety of both faith based and secular contexts. There will be a critical study of the significance of emotional and spiritual intelligence theories for the development of self awareness and management of self in a leadership context. The module will provide an opportunity for students to design a feedback mechanism and personal development plan that they can test out in their context, and assess collaboratively as to their value.


Leadership and the Unconscious

The module will use both theoretical presentations and experiential methods to introduce students to an understanding and working knowledge of unconscious processes, with special reference to their understanding of organisational life and their practice as leaders. There will be an examination of how contemporary understandings of the unconscious have been understood within a religious and faith perspective. The module will provide understanding in the light of peer and staff feedback in case studies from students own experience.


Christian Approaches to Leadership in the Public Square

This module will make a methodological/hermeneutical/theological study of the potential impact of Christian approaches to leadership on and within secular institutions at a time when religion is being marginalized and faith is under attack. It will encourage reflection on the current place of the Christian faith in the public square and will evaluate existing and emerging models of engagement between Christianity and the prevailing secular and pluralist culture of contemporary society, in e.g. business, education, and politics through the framework of business ethics and corporate social responsibility (CSR). The connection between personal faith and leadership in different workplace contexts, including organisations run by or on behalf of the Church, will be explored to enable participants to analyse their own leadership practice and the ethical issues that they may face. Potential areas of conflict, both internal and external, will be examined to illustrate this. How far should a leader’s personal faith influence the development of the ethos that may be felt to be desirable? An integral part of the module will be opportunities for reflection by the participants on their own experience of the relationship between the leadership of a secular organisation, values and personal faith.


Working Together

This module encourages engagement with a hermeneutical approach grounded in the Holy Trinity, which is examined through a number of traditions. Biblical examples of ministry and working together are critiqued through the disciplines of sociology, psychology and organisational studies and implications drawn for an understanding of the various forms of authorised ministry and the role of the laity. A focus on relationships highlights both the significance of followership and the importance of internal and external boundaries: the latter are examined from the perspective of ecosystems. Students are encouraged to understand themselves and each other better through the use of teamwork profiling instruments and models. This leads to consideration of particular models of collaborative ministry in different traditions and the wider applicability of learning in the public square.

Co-validated Modules


Re-imagining the Church in a Changing Culture

From the MA in Theology, Imagination and Culture

Much has been written about the continuing decline in Church membership and attendance as evidence of ‘the death of Christian Britain’, raising questions about the future of ‘organised religion’. This module aims to go beyond such ‘headlines’ and to equip students to critique the contemporary church, using both theological and sociological tools. The Church in Britain will be ‘read’ in the wider context of social, religious and cultural change, and compared with the situation in Europe, America and the developing world. Both the challenges facing the contemporary church, and the responses offered, will be critically examined, with particular reference to patterns of community, mission and ministry. This module will enable students to acquire the tools necessary to understand the Church in mission in contemporary culture. It will offer the opportunity to appraise new ways of being Church and assess the different types of Church growth both past and present. Students will be encouraged to learn about different cultures and explore different theologies in relation to mission e.g. liberation theologies, black theologies and green theologies.