What is Shepherd and who is it for?

Shepherd is a new 2-year course that helps equip new and emerging elders for the responsibilities of pastoral ministry. The course helps to complement, not replace, the work that is already being done by local eldership teams to develop new elders by providing high value, focussed training to prepare new and future elders for the demands of the role.

Who is leading the course?


Goff Hope is the course leader and is responsible for shaping the overall content of the course, as well as delivering much of the live training. He is an elder at King’s Church Norwich and has been involved in training for Relational Mission and Newfrontiers for a long time. He has decades of experience in ministry. Angie Hope will be helping support the course administratively as well. Both of them will bring a passion for pastoral ministry and a wealth of experience to the course.

What is involved in the course?

Shepherd involves a number of components, each geared towards equipping men for the tasks of pastoral ministry:

Live Training Weekends

Over 3 weekends per year (2 x Sat-Sun; 1 x Fri-Sun) trainees will have live teaching from experienced elders. These will be residential weekends in either Norwich or High Leigh and will be geared specifically towards equipping students for the demands of eldership. Each training weekend will include a high-value mix of the following:

  • Exegesis on a number of key Biblical passages from a range of Biblical genres

  • Pastoral Equipping (e.g. Biblical foundation; counselling skills; marriage and divorce; church discipline…)

  • Family DNA - understanding our ways as a family of churches

  • Leadership skills, including lessons learnt from experienced elders (team dynamics; vision; culture setting; preaching & teaching…)

  • Personal Life (Spiritual growth; emotional wellbeing; devotional…)

The dates for live training weekends for 2019–2021 are:

  • 12-13 October 2019 (Norwich) – Biblical Eldership in Life and Ministry

  • 20-22 March 2020 (Norwich) – Biblical Leadership Culture

  • 27-28 June 2020 (High Leigh) – Pastoring through the lens of Scripture (part 1)

  • 10-11 October 2020 (Norwich) – Building a Spirit-filled community (NB: this weekend will include an event with wives)

  • 12-14 March 2021 (High Leigh) – Pastoring through the lens of Scripture (part 2)

  • 26-27 June 2021 (High Leigh) – Building with a vision of a glorious Church

Local Church Involvement

Shepherd is not a substitute for local church input. All students should be heavily involved in elder-related roles in a local context and we want eldership teams to journey alongside anyone they are sending on the course. We expect students to be given opportunities and receive input from their local eldership teams to help them grow.

A couple of specific ways in which the local eldership team will support their students are:

  • Feedback on assignments (see below)

  • Mentoring: each student will have a mentor for the duration of the course. This mentor will ideally be an elder from their local church.


All students will be part of a small group of students led by an experienced elder. 3 times a year, students will meet with their huddle and huddle leader to process, discuss their experiences and receive input.

Remote learning and assignments

Twice a year, students will be given a compulsory assignment to do on a selection of key Biblical issues. They will be directed to resources and spend time in personal study to develop their discernment and ability to think Biblically. These assignments may be essays, or sermons to prepare and preach or discussions to lead within their local eldership team.

Feedback on these assignments will be the responsibility of the local eldership team (support and suggestions for how to do this will be available).

Please note that unlike LEAD, applications for Shepherd only open every 2 years. There will be no opportunity to apply in 2020.

"This course will strengthen our planting and flourishing of churches in a big way! The importance of focussed preparation and equipping from seasoned leaders can't be over-emphasised." Stef Liston, Head of RM Training.


How much does it cost?

Fees for the course are £750 per year (£1500 in total) payable before the start of each year. The fees will cover:

  • The cost of tuition

  • Accomodation at High Leigh conference centre and Norwich (if required)

  • Meals at High Leigh and a number of meals in Norwich

Contact and application

If you would like to find out more, please email

Application is a joint responsibility between the student and the local eldership. Once a potential applicant has discussed this application with his local eldership team, he can begin completing the application form. The form must be filled in by the student and the referee (one of the local church elders) and sent to

Please note that in order to create the most effective learning environment, numbers are limited to 25 students for the 2 years.

Shepherd is run and administered by Revelation Church London.