Pastoral Theology and Ministry

Researchers in the Ministry and Pastoral Theology cluster address the ever-changing needs of congregations and Christian communities, providing ministry leaders with the insights and tools they need to offer effective spiritual care and leadership. Themes explored in this cluster include church leadership and administration, family dynamics in pastoral life, the role of music and worship in ministry, pastoral care and counselling, and the role of digital media in congregations. Through these themes, AC's researchers seek to enhance both the theoretical understanding and practical application of effective ministry in diverse contemporary contexts.

Recent Publications

Toh, H. L. and Thornton, D. (2024). Understanding “Love” in the English Lyrics of the Original Songs by the Multilingual New Creation Church Singapore. Religions, 15(5) 603.

Potts, D. J. (2023). Eco-theology and Pentecostal Pastor’s Families: Could an Intentional Focus on Eco-theology Strengthen Pentecostal Pastor’s Families?. Journal of Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity, Volume 43, 2023 – Issue 2.

Thornton, D (2023). “This Is No Performance”: Exploring the Complicated Relationship between the Church and Contemporary Congregational Songs. Religions, 14(5) 578.

Potts, D. J.(2021). Suffering in Silence: Examining the Silent Suffering of Christian Clergy Wives, A call to acknowledge their voice and value. Journal of Pastoral Care and Counselling, 75(1) 51–59.

Potts, D. J.(2021). Investigating Theoretical Frameworks for Researching the Ministry/Family Journey – A Literature Review. Family Process

Potts, D. J.(2020). The Triple ‘A’ Formula for Flourishing Ministry Families: An analysis of the ministry/family journey of credentialed ministers and their spouses within the Australian Christian Churches. Pastoral Psychology, 69(2) 149 - 167.

Thornton, D (2021). Meaning-Making in the Contemporary Congregational Song Genre. Palgrave Macmillan.

Thornton, D. (2021). How YouTube Mediations of Global Contemporary Congregational Songs Contribute to an Understanding of the Genre. Journal of Religion, Media and Digital Culture, 10 445-466.

Thornton, D (2021). A “Sloppy Wet Kiss”? Intralingual Translation and Meaning-Making in Contemporary Congregational Songs. Religions, 12 (10).

Thornton, D. (2021). Music In Adam Possamai & Anthony J. Blasi (Eds), The SAGE Encyclopedia of the Sociology of Religion. SAGE Publications.

Potts, D. J.(2020). As for Me and My House: Keys to a Flourishing Family and Fulfilled Ministry. Wipf & Stock

Thornton, D (2020). A Match Made in Heaven: Why Popular Music is Central to the Growth in Pentecostal Charismatic Christianities In Rocha, C., Hutchinson, M., and Openshaw, K. (Eds.), Australian Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements: Arguments from the Margins (pp. 109-125). Brill

Groza, A. (2019). The Seldom Acknowledged Difficulties of Leading Missional Churches: Challenges Faced by Those Who Seek to Explore Different Forms of Being and Doing Church. Ecclesial Practices, 6.2 163-181.

Thornton, D (2019). Star Wars Soundtracks: The Worship Music of John Williams. Journal of Religion and Popular Culture, Star Wars Special Edition

Pegram, N. (2018). Emotion and Ministry, a Study in Research Methodology. Journal of Contemporary Ministry, 4 47-60.

Thornton, D (2018). Preaching and Worship In White, A. (Ed), The Power of a Good Story: Five Views on Pentecostal Preaching. CTP Press

Pegram, N.D.(2017). Passion and Sustainable Ministry. Pointers: Bulletin of the Christian Research Association, 27(2) 7-10

Pegram, Nigel (2017). Appreciative Inquiry — A Strategy for Being a Healthy Church. Journal of Contemporary Ministry, 3 67-81.

Thornton, D (2017). On Hillsong’s continued reign over the Australian contemporary congregational song genre. Perfect Beat, 17 (2) 164-182.

Fogarty S. G.(2016). Light a Fire: How to effectively motivate volunteers in your church. Australasian Pentecostal Studies (translations: French, Finnish)

White, A. G.(2016). Pentecostal Preaching as a Modern Epistle: A Comparison of Pentecostal Preaching with Paul’s Practice of Letter Writing. Journal of Pentecostal Theology, 25.1 123-149.

HDR Theses

An, Seong. Toward a model for the development of a missional church congregations in /GAPCK' of Korean Presbyterian Church (PhD)

Asnicar, Paul. The Church as a Learning Community: Communal learning and inquiry as locally embodied expression of the gospel (PhD)

Chandler, Geraldine. The nexus between church leadership and children's church volunteerism (working title) (PhD)

Chung, Hye. Parental Education Plan for the Development of Youth Children’s Intimacy with God: Focusing on the Korean Church in Australia (PhD)

Delport, Vicki. Facilitating the progression of women into positions of senior leadership in the Australian Christian Churches: identifiying opportunities and obstacles (DMin)

D'sa, Pamala. Workplace Gender Equality within CRC Churches International (DMin)

Green, Aziza. Approaching digital wisdom: How do Christian ministry leaders understand and apply digital literacies to participate and lead in digital contexts? (PhD)

Han, Dahan. Examination of the Possibility of Development of Ancient and Future Worship as an Alternative to the Worship Crisis of Immigrant Churches due to Postmodernism (PhD)

Hukkinen, Esa. Testing the effectiveness of a coaching approach for discipling Christians (PhD)

Law, Matthew. What leadership theories are exhibited in the thoughts and practices of ACC pastors and what are the potential implications for the next generation of pastors? (DMin)

Lim, Chungkyung. The Reality of Jesus Christ-centered Preaching through Hermeneutical Practical Theology (PhD)

Moores, Robert. The Impact of Retirement on Pastors, their Families and the Church (working title) (MPhil)

Narlapati, Suresh. How are small group leaders navigating the COVID-19 pandemic crisis in Perth? (DMin)

Rengger, James. A Mixed Methods Study of the Trinitarian Foundations of Local Church Caregiving 'In the Moment': Integrating Clinical Pastoral Education Practices and the Theology of Jürgen Moltmann into C3 Church Caregiving Praxis (PhD)

Staggs, Andrew. Supernatural Transformational Leadership and Strategic Intuition: Towards A Practical Theology of Strategic Pentecostal Leadership Development (PhD)

Tam, Susan. The Lived Experiences of Women in Leadership in the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada (PhD).

Webb, Mark. Pastors’ Perceptions About Leadership in Ministry and their impact on Burnout? A Phenomenological Study (PhD)

Winchester, Ross. Developing Transformational Pentecostal Leaders in Chiang Mai Province, Northern Thailand: A Model for In-Service Leadership Training (PhD)

Yi, Seong Ho. Mission of the Gospel of the Triune God in the Australian Korean Diaspora Church: Focusing on Christopher Wright's Missionary Hermeneutics (PhD)

HDR Theses (Completed)

Botross, Peter. Theological and Pedagogical Approaches to Equipping Disciple-makers in Victorian Baptist Churches (DMin)

Cat, Christopher. Unrealised Pentecostal Divine Healing Expectations: A Pastoral Dialogue With The Psychology Of Religion And Coping (PhD)

Creed, Fleur. The Church as a Place for Connection: Building Social Capital Across Social and Cultural Boundaries in Australian Communities (PhD)

Gurung, Bhupendra. What is the problem? The Restrictions of Female Leadership in Nepalese Pentecostal Churches (MPhil)

Kruithoff, Uwe. Factors influencing monoethnic churches’ longevity (DMin)

Polley, Nathan. Spiritual development of servant leaders in Aotearoa-New Zealand tertiary education contexts (DMin)

Reid, Stephen. The effectiveness of sports chaplaincy as Christian ministry in Australia (DMin)

Rhodes, John. Divine healing in Australian Christian Churches: a review of contemporary ministerial practice and perspective (DMin)



  • Paul Asnicar
  • Geraldine Chandler
  • Vicki Delport
  • Pamala D'sa
  • Aziza Green
  • Esa Hukkinen
  • Matthew Law
  • Robert Moores
  • Suresh Narlapati
  • James Rengger
  • Andrew Staggs
  • Susan Tam
  • Mark Webb
  • Ross Winchester


  • Dr Peter Botross
  • Dr Christopher Cat
  • Dr Fleur Creed
  • Dr Uwe Kruithoff
  • Dr Nathan Polley
  • Dr Stephen Reid
  • Dr John Rhodes
  • Bhupendra Gurung


This research cluster contributes to the advancement of the following goals: