Leadership 21

Every 2-3 years Christian Projects sponsors 10-15 ministers on a study tour to the United States for a 2 week period.


In 1988 a group of ministers from larger Churches of Christ in Australia brought together the first training program for younger ministers who demonstrated a capacity to lead or develop larger congregations. The first program was held in Singapore and eight  subsequent programs in the United States. The Christian Projects, a non profit organization that uses income from investments and underwrites these training programs.


.Approximately 10-15 are chosen for each tour. Ted Keating of the Bayview Community Church and Graham Agnew of Northside Community Church as well as other experienced senior ministers have led recent study tours.

Preference is given to ministers/church leaders who either have a church that is going through growth phases or is already categorized as “large” (more than 300 at worship). Its focus is on training people for leadership of larger churches and seeks to develop the capacity to formulate and share vision, lead effective teams and to shape a system of governance suitable for larger congregations.

Christian Projects Directors are of the conviction that the larger churches also have a significant role in the mission of the Church.


A mixture of mega churches, large congregations, church plants and some medium sized congregations are included in the schedule. The church traditions  vary. We visit some “experimental” churches and have also included some great African American churches in the itinerary. These churches are chosen because of the nature of their growth, leadership factors, growth “pains”, architecture etc.


Christianity and church life in the USA are different to what we experience in Australia! Every day during the tour time is spent analyzing what has been seen and what could be transferred to the Australian Church scene. There is also a challenging follow up program outlined below that ensures that this process continues.

Why the United States? While there are many fine models of larger churches in Australia we find a degree of excellence generally beyond Australian standards that challenges participants to “lift the bar.”


  • Participants sign an agreement that they will contribute to internal travel costs in the US ($200) and that they will repay 50% of the costs of travel and accommodation to Christian Projects if they resign from Churches of Christ ministry within 12 months of completing the tour.

  • They are expected to attend the follow up seminar with at least 2 of their Board members at a venue yet to be decided.


  • Participants are also expected to be involved in the totality of the study tour. They would pay for their own meals when required and would meet other costs such as passports, travel insurance, etc.


The tour can be used as the basis of the extended report included in the MA (Leadership) degree offered by the Australian College of Ministry (Sydney College of Divinity).  There is also a similar facility available through Stirling College (Victoria)   ACOM also has a course related to the Leadership of Larger Congregations and details are  available from Neale Meredith (


October 2017  



FROM:           ANDREW BATTISTELLA  Mt Clear,Ballarat, Vic

I just would like to say that  I think the trip is well planned and purposeful. The ability to open my mind,affirm my call, and confirm some of the things I hold dear was brilliant.
It has encouraged me with where I am at and where I am going. It had given me food for thought and tools that will empower.
I would have liked to have seen some other diverse churches, similar to the
DNA of City of that we can compare strategies, but also to give us other methods and ideologies that are also working.
I loved it. It was beneficial, it was brilliant, it was a blessing.  Thank you

PS: a better hotel in Phoenix would be



FROM:           ROD CLEMENTS, Associate Minister, One Community, Vic

The L21 Trip to LA and Phoenix this year was a once in a life time experience.The timing of this trip has been amazing in terms of widening my vision for mypastoral role and getting valuable input for my leadership position. The takehome insights and applications are many. One particular insight was seeing theapplications of previous L21 participants already in action in my home church.This trip will help me take welcoming and assimilation ministries in my ownchurch to a new level. This trip has encouraged me greatly through the newfriendships and ministry network of fellow participants. Graham's and yourleadership has been extremely positive and I wish you both well in yourrespective ministries.



FROM:           BENFAIR,  Door of Hope, Launceston, Tas
The 2013 L21 trip has done heaps for my development as a leader. Not only haveI developed strong, important relationships with the fellow travellers whichwill last a long time and be valuable for my time in ministry, but theexperience also taught me some key lessons on what it takes to be a leader of alarge church  Some of these are:

-Humility: Whether theyhad 2,000 or 20,000 people at their church, every
leader had time for us, and none were "rockstars".
- Confidence: Every leader knewtheir calling, knew their vision, and were not threatened by other leaders
- Heart for lost people: Everyleader we talked to had a strong evangelistic drive.
I have pages and pages of notes, and hundreds of photos - all inspiring me tobe a better leader, as well as a few cool ideas that might work back inLaunceston! It was a fantastic trip, and I thank the team at Christian Projectsfor the amazing opportunity!



FROM:           JUSTIN GALL,  Kardinia,Vic

Over the past nine years I haveobserved time-and-again how my senior pastors, Rick and Leonie Wright wereimpacted by their L21 tour. It has impacted everything from the set up of ourleadership team to the Sunday service to the thoughtfulness around facilities.

After taking the trip myself Iknow two things. One, so much of what has happened over the past nine years iseasily attributable to L21 and two, so much of where we go next will be thesame. The diversity of leaders and the proximity of access that we wereafforded was incredible. There is no way we would have been able to get upclose and personal like this in any other format.

It was a privilege to have beengifted this trip and I look forward to attributing growth of our church anddiscipleship of mant to the inspiration we have received over this pastfortnight.


FROM:           MATT HOLT, Bayview, Vic

Thank you so much for theopportunity to participate in this year's Leadership21 tour. As someone who isabout to begin in a new leadership role, it has been priceless to be able todraw deeply from the amazing leaders we've met along the way. I am confidentthat the learnings from this tour will be a great blessing to me in myministry, and to congregations and communities, as I develop as an effectiveleader. I look forward to being able to share reflections of the tour alongsidesome of my leadership team, in the coming report-back weekend.



FROM:           BLAKE MOORE, York Street, Ballarat, Vic
The opportunity to be involved in the 2013 trip has been the most impacting andstretching professional development that I have ever undertaken. This is a oncein a lifetime opportunity to be exposed to world class ministry leaders andpractitioners and it was a great honor to sit and learn from their wisdom andinsight. Seeing the large campuses and buildings were helpful and appreciated,but for me I will take away transferable leadership principles, a greaterpassion for the lost and the permission to dream BIG when it comes to God'schurch. There was so much valuable input and learning that I will carry with meinto the future and help me to be a better servant of the church. I would liketo thank Christian Projects for their ongoing commitment to leadership developmentand to Ted and Graham for the way they champion leadership in the local church.It is making a difference!


FROM:           DAVE RYDER   Kelmscott,WA

Whilst the tour enabled me to seeand observe great facilities it was the hearts of the leaders that truly impacted.This happened in two specific ways. Firstly their relentless heart for thelost. Many pastors echoed the sentiment of doing everything short of sin toreach more people for Jesus. Secondly this trip confirmed and solidified manyof the convictions I hold to be true in particular to values and mission. Ibelieve that "Mission Community Church" resonated very well in this regard.

I am going back to Western Australia with an increased heart and certainty as to what Ibelieve God has called my family and church to be part of in Perth and a new resolve to lead change courageously.

Thank you so much for this greatopportunity.



FROM:           DOROTHY ROBERTS, Door of Hope, Tas

This trip has given me a cleanline of sight with some markers on how to move from here to there. It hasconfirmed our general direction and clarified some strategies to maximisemomentum. I have been energised, refreshed and genuinely built up. The groupexperience is one of the key elements that magnifies the potential impact as wehave bonded as a group of leaders, creating a new network of solid support andgenuine appreciation for each other's giftings. We each have a personal cheersquad and that is not to be underestimated in ministry!
I so greatly appreciate being given the opportunity to participate in this gamechanging experience.


FROM:           LEESYKES,  Cornerstone Church ofChrist Busselton, WA
I counted it a rare privilege to be invited to participate in the
US tour in 2013. Although I have dreamed and read ofleading larger churches, my training and experience up until this point has notprovided input at the level required. Now that I am leading a church which ison a growth curve and reaching around 300 attendance on a Sunday, this trip hascome at a perfect time for me. There have been countless points of application,but the overriding message was the exceptional calibre of leadership andintense focus on mission and evangelism within these churches and the peoplewho lead them. It speaks to me about the need to develop a strong leadershipculture, both in myself and the church I lead, and also to develop a culture ofmission and evangelism, as opposed to a maintenance or inward looking culture,which can so easily prevail. Once again, thank you for the opportunity, it has beensuper fruitful.


FROM:           DAVID TAYLOR, Pine Rivers, Queensland
Thank you for having me come on the 2013 L21 tour. The visits to the variouschurches and the time with the senior leaders has been revolutionary to me instimulating my heart for the church and for being a leader in the church. Iwould say that it has significantly changed me. I have been challenged, had my'cage rattled' and has helped me to go back to Pine Rivers Church of Christwith a new vigor and so much for me to consider as move forward together.
I look forward to the follow up day next year in



FROM:           SIMON WARRICK, Swan Hill, Victoria
I just wanted to say thanks so much for everything over this last fortnight. Whata privileged position I found myself in to have been invited.
Graham and Ted lead the team with distinction, and really made sure we all wrungout every ounce of learning we could through this trip.
I have learnt so much that it's challenging to put it all in words. However Iknow I will return to the Grain Shed with new insights and ideas and anincreased depth in my leadership skills.
To spend so much time interacting with leaders of the calibre we met is a uniqueprivilege and no doubt all the churches represented by our team will be greatlyblessed by the experience. From what we saw it was obvious that the key togrowing a large church is having a quality leader who is willing to make thetough decisions whilst still loving people.




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