Australian College of Ministries

Australian College of Ministries

Australian College of Ministries (ACOM) (see Dowson, Devenish & Passmore, 2007), is one of Australia’s largest Christian leadership and discipleship colleges, offering an extensive range of accredited vocational, undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications through flexible delivery (distance education with optional face-to-face contact)modes.

ACOM is recognized amongst its peers, students and key stakeholders for its focus on developing Christian disciples and leaders for the church, the workplace and the community using an innovative educational model that integrates academic studies, skill-enhancement competencies and character-formation (Farmer & Dowson, 2000). ACOM's model of training has been commended by internationally recognised scholars (e.g., Banks, 1999) for its commitment to: (a) the integration of theory and practice, (b) situated learning and the importance of context, and (c) the role of the mentor in student learning.

In its four main schools (Bible, Theology, Leadership and Spirituality), ACOM houses an internationally recognised faculty with a substantial track-record in leadership, teaching and research (e.g., McInerney, Dowson & Yeung, 2005; Miner, Sterland, & Dowson, 2006). This faculty serves over 700 students across Australia (comprising 450 vocational, 180 undergraduate, and 100 postgraduate students), and employs staff in five Australian States and the Australian Capital Territory. ACOM also maintains a global research and teaching profile, including ongoing relationships with academics, universities and seminaries across the United States, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific.

ACOM’s diverse student body, its focus on practical ministry and effective mission, its commitment to a student-focused rather than an institution-focused approach to teaching and learning, and its multidenominational organizational networks and relationships are among its most widely recognized strengths. ACOM also maintains a strong research emphasis on issues concerning leadership, discipleship, spirituality, and practical Christian living in 21st century social and cultural contexts.

Since its formation in 1999 from two pre-existing Churches of Christ colleges, ACOM has experienced a significant transformation and is currently among the most influential leaders in Christian education in Australia. However, ACOM has been criticized for not following a traditional, campus-based model of theological education, and for being too focused on practical ministry skills and spiritual formation at the expense of research and scholarship. Recent doctoral and professorial staff appointments have begun to ameliorate the latter of these two criticisms.


Banks, R. (1999). Reenvisioning theological education: Exploring a missional alternative to current models. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

Dowson, M., Devenish, S., & Passmore, J. (2007). Standards in higher education distance learning environments: A sociocultural perspective In D.M. McInerney, S. Van Etten, & M. Dowson, (Eds.), Research on sociocultural influences on motivation and learning, Vol. 7: Standards in education. Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.

Farmer, K., & Dowson, M. (2000). Networking against the ‘tyranny of distance’ in ministry preparation. Reo: A Journal of Theology and Ministry, 18, 25-42.

McInerney, D.M., Dowson, M., & Yeung, A.S. (2005). Facilitating conditions for School Motivation: Construct validity and applicability. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 65, 1046-1066.

Miner, M., Sterland, S., & Dowson, M. (2006). Coping with Ministry: Development of a multidimensional measure of orientations to the demands of ministry. Review of Religious Research, 212-230.

External links

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