TAM322 Leading ecclesial change and growth in contexts

All versions:
TAM322 (2024—2025)
TAM322 (2023—2024)
TAM322 (2022—2023)
TAM322 (2021—2022)
TAM322 (2020—2021)
TAM322 (2019—2020)
TAM322 (2018—2019)
TAM322 (2017—2018)

Course code: TAM322

Course name: Leading ecclesial change and growth in contexts

Semester: Autumn

Location: Bergen

Academic year: 2023–2024

Language: English

Credits: 15 ECTS Credits

Available for course students: Yes

Application: Apply at our local applicationpage

Required prerequisite knowledge

The basic educational pathway is an obtained bachelor's degree with 80 ECTS specialization in theology and with a grade average of C or higher (ECTS). Language requirements apply as for the entire Master program. For details and alternative pathways, see the curriculum for Master in Theology and Ministry.

Recommended prerequisite knowledge

Knowledge of Biblical Hebrew and/or New Testament Greek.

TAM 304 Missional Ecclesiology, or similar

Relevance within study programme

Elective for Master in Theology and Ministry

Elective for Master of Theology 

Continuous educations for congregation leaders


The course provides candidates a deep theoretical and methodological understanding and basis for leading processes of change and growth in contexts in local congregations.

Learning outcomes descriptors


The candidate:

  • has specialized knowledge of congregational leadership in sociological and theological contexts
  • has specialized knowledge of theories of church growth both from an insider`s and outsider's perspective
  • has thorough knowledge of theological underpinnings for understanding church growth and change
  • can apply theological and interdisciplinary knowledge in an innovative manner in leading ecclesial change and growth in contexts
  • can analyze traditional churches, with regard to the changing role of the churches, rites of passage, initiation rites, sacraments and worship, and how these issues interplay with each other and relate to church growth and change


The candidate:

  • can analyze the context of a local congregation to identify possibilities for and obstacles for change and growth
  • can reflect on the role of motivating volunteers in church growth and change
  • can reflect on the role of the congregational leadership and how this relates to the church's missional ministry
  • can critically analyze theological arguments for church growth and change, and articulate theological arguments with a distinct voice, with regard to a particular context
  • is sufficiently equipped with theory and methodology from the forefront of ecclesial leadership research and theory in order to design a limited research project of his/her own

General competence

The candidate:

  • can relate to professional ethical problems relevant for church leadership in a reflexive manner
  • can apply his/her knowledge and skills about leadership in order to carry out assignments
  • can communicate scholarly work and masters language and terminology of the academic field of leadership in church
  • has the ability to give qualified responses to public debates about leadership, culture and religion
  • can contribute to processes of innovation and change in congregational ministry


The subject gives advanced knowledge of two important areas for congregational leadership focusing on growth and change: Theories of church growth and change related to missional ministry, and theories on leading change and motivating others for change and growth in context. The subject thus takes both and insider's and an outsider's view of congregational leadership, as these two areas are seen together, highlighting their mutual influence and relevance to each other. To help this reflective process, the subject also draws on cultural-analytic perspectives on the changing role of the church, and particularly how traditional churches in the West relates to the tension between the church as worshiping, gathered assembly and the church as folk church, walking along side people`s "life experiences" captured in the church`s rites of passage, baptism, confirmation, marriage, and funeral services.

The students are trained to reflect critically and constructively on their own context and background to prepare them for leading congregational growth and change in the present and in the future.

Central topics also include: Analyzing the context for leadership, Leading change and growth in contexts : in organizations, in society, and in the church, Emerging leadership roles, theological argumentation, disruptive leadership and theological communication and rhetoric in times of change and crisis, working with volunteers, and collaborative ministry.

Teaching and learning methods

Two learning sessions on campus comprised of lectures, group-seminars, and case-based classes.

Participation in an online learning-program stretching over eight weeks before and between the learning sessions. Each week is comprised of at least one video-lecture, self study of syllabus related to the week's topic, online office hour (a live-chat with a lecturer), and a small assignment (coursework requirement).


375 hours

Coursework requirements

  • 80% attendance at the learning session is a requirement. (Alternative assignments will be provided for students prohibited from attending).
  • 7 minor online assignments.
  • A field report (2000 words +/- 10%), where the student analyzes the context of a particular congregation.

Grading, coursework requirements

Approved / Not approved

Final assessment

Final assessment in TAM321 is the subject of one Term Project: a project-plan. This is a written essay comprised of 5000 words (+/- 20%).

The project plan should identify one particular challenge with regard to growth and/or change in that particular context. With the help of theoretical insights and the context analysis of the field report the project plan should present a way to address the desrcribed challenge and articulate the consequences for both leadership and collaborative ministry.

The assignment runs through the entire term, and is to be finally submitted on a date set by the exam administration.

The Term Paper could be an individual piece of work or joint effort and is assessed according to the standard ECTS grading scale.

A jointly design Term Project is expected to comprise of 5000 word per person, and represent deeper analysis and more detailed description of strategy.

Grading, examination

The Term Paper is assessed according to the standard ECTS grading scale, A-F.

Permitted aids under examination


Assessment language


Alternatively, one of the Scandinavian languages.

Other languages could be accepted by application.



Course evaluation

Students will be encouraged to evaluate the course module online upon completion. Lecturers will evaluate the course module through mutual conversation, and based on student evaluations.

Available as Single Course


Digital reading list

Follow this link for reading list and academic resources.