Eldership & Local Church Leaders in a Changing Context TRS1038

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Critical Studies
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 1 (SCQF level 7)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Taught Wholly by Distance Learning: Yes

Short Description

This course explores the meaning and role of local leadership in the Church of Scotland and other Reformed churches, both historical and contemporary. It examines how changed circumstances and the mission calling of the church might reshape the calling and tasks of elders and local leaders in the congregation, and what this kind of practice looks like, especially in the midst of difficult church change. It will engage participants in reflecting on their own experience and calling and introduce approaches and tools to enhance their contribution in their local setting.



9 x 2hr evening 'online live' lectures with individual and group activities over 9 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus

Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses





800 words written reflection on local case study (40%)

1200 words portfolio (60%)

Course Aims

This course aims to

■ Involve participants in reflecting upon the meaning and role of elders and local leaders, and their own calling in changed circumstances for the church in contemporary Scotland.

■ Develop a deeper awareness of Reformed theology and practice as background to local church leader patterns and the reform and renewal needed.

■ Increase understanding of the role of local leaders in revitalising the church's contextual mission, worship and discipleship.

■ Grow skills in understanding and negotiating church change

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Identify some key challenges to the inherited practices of local church leadership and eldership.

■ Assess the difference between an institutional and a missional understanding of the church and how this shapes the meaning and role of elders and local leaders.

■ Identify a necessary change relevant to their own church circumstances and a potential strategy for responding to this.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.