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Centre for Preaching and Pastoral Ministry

SMBC has a long tradition of commitment to the priority of biblical preaching. The Word of God is our guide, our delight, our final authority, and our prized tool for ministry. As a college focussed on ministry outcomes, we want our graduates to communicate this word with love and skill.

Our Centre for Preaching and Pastoral Ministry (CPPM) equips and inspires its students to pursue deep and transformative biblical knowledge, understanding, and application. We provide opportunities for students to discover cultural wisdom and communication skills that connect with diverse contexts.


In this video, hear from SMBC Principal, Derek Brotherson and Director of the Centre for Preaching and Pastoral Ministry, Kirk Patston.


At SMBC, preaching and pastoral ministry are woven closely together.

Why Preaching and Pastoral Ministry?

Preaching most often occurs in a pastoral context so our goal is to prepare and develop preachers who regularly feed God's people with God's word in the local church, whether in Australia or overseas in cross-cultural ministry.

Pastoral ministry is grounded in the preaching of God's word that proclaims Jesus as Lord. Preaching is necessarily informed by pastoring God's people to love and follow Jesus. We aim to prepare our students to not only be skilled preachers of the word but also to have a holistic understanding of the primary context in which preaching takes place week by week. Critical to this is a foundation of personal godliness and a life of prayer.

Preaching is not an end in itself. Its purpose is to prepare God's people for works of service so that the church may be built up to be united in Christ and to grow up into Christ (Ephesians 4:11-15).

The Priority of Preaching at SMBC

To prepare students for a lifetime of gospel ministry SMBC gives priority to training students in preaching. This training involves teaching and modelling ministry, with a strong emphasis on practising preaching. It's our conviction that students only improve as preachers by preaching regularly.

‘FOUNDATIONS OF PREACHING’
All full-time students study 'Foundations of Preaching'. This unit of study offers training by experienced preachers in how to prepare, structure and deliver an expository sermon that situates the text in the grand gospel message and connects it to life in Christ. Students learn how to illustrate and apply the biblical text and develop clarity on the goal of preaching. 

'PRACTICAL PREACHING'
Classes Students prepare and preach an expository sermon in these weekly, small group workshops. In a collaborative environment, the lecturer and students discuss each sermon and provide feedback.

PRINCIPAL'S HOUR
At Principal's Hour each week, the College community gathers to sit under God's word, where SMBC lecturers and guest speakers open up the biblical text and connect it to life in Christ.

COLLEGE CHAPEL SERVICES
Students have the opportunity to preach at College chapel services, where they receive feedback from a lecturer and fellow students.

MINISTRY PRACTICE WEEK, CONFERENCES AND ENRICHMENT EVENTS
Every second year the College sets aside several days to focus on preaching skills and pastoral issues with a range of experienced local and international speakers. The CPPM also runs conferences and enrichment events to bless the wider Christian community. These aim to create space for:

  • exploring current issues for ministry practitioners (whether church-based or para-church based, full-time or part-time or unpaid);
  • inspiring regular and occasional preachers to remain committed to Christ-centred, expository preaching that opens up the biblical text and connects to life in Christ;
  • developing skills and insights in connecting the truths of God's word to contemporary listeners and culture;
  • offering 'Preaching I’ as an intensive unit.

ONGOING TRAINING AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
The CPPM is developing formal professional development pathways for those wanting to deepen their biblical preaching, pastoral depth and leadership skills. Units will include:

  • Specialised intensive units on preaching books of the Bible and advanced perspectives on biblical preaching;
  • Specialised intensive units on pastoral matters, for example, Christian mentoring, Self-Care and Resilience, and Disability.

Who is on the team?

Rev Dr Kirk Patson leads an experienced and diverse team. Kirk is a very gifted and widely respected preacher. He has considerable experience as a pastor, His research in Old Testament studies has always pressed into the field of Practical Theology, connecting the Bible to ministry.

Rev. Mark Adams is Pastoral Vice-Principal and lectures in theology, spiritual formation, pastoral care and preaching. Prior to joining SMBC in 2013, Mark was senior minister at New Life Presbyterian Church, Gungahlin in Canberra for twelve years.  He previously practised as a lawyer in Sydney for ten years until 1998.

Dr Derek Brotherson is the principal of SMBC and lectures in cross-cultural mission. A graduate of SMBC, he served for over 10 years in cross-cultural ministry in S.E. Asia.

Dr Geoff Harper assists the CPPM as he brings a depth of knowledge in Old Testament theology and interpretation. He guides students in connecting the ancient text to contemporary Christian life and ministry.

Janet Riley is Dean of Women and lectures in Greek, pastoral care and preaching. Prior to joining SMBC, Janet worked as women’s and children’s pastor at Randwick Presbyterian Church. Janet speaks regularly at women’s events and conferences.

Jenny Salt is Dean of Students and lectures in spiritual formation, pastoral care and preaching. She has taught at SMBC since 1997. Jenny speaks regularly at women’s conferences and events both internationally (Gospel Coalition in US; South Africa) and throughout Australia (Katoomba, Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne, Tasmania), and has recently contributed to the ESV Women’s Devotional Bible (2014).

Pierre Thielemans is Dean of Single Residential Men and lectures in Greek, spiritual formation and preaching. He serves as an elder at Ashfield Presbyterian Church, where he also preaches. Pierre is an experienced TESOL teacher, who has preached in numerous cross-cultural contexts both locally and overseas.

Matt Vander Heiden lectures in New Testament. Prior to joining the faculty in 2019, Matt taught at the Portuguese Bible Institute.

Want more info?

For enquiries regarding SMBC’s Centre for Preaching and Pastoral Ministry, please contact us here


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Sydney Missionary and Bible College (SMBC) is an Affiliated College of the Australian College of Theology, CRICOS: 02650E
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