Laidlaw Centre for
 Church Leadership

Laidlaw Centre for Church Leadership was established to help Aotearoa’s church leaders navigate the challenges of a rapidly changing landscape.

An increasingly polarised and complex world needs healthy churches which embody the good news of the Gospel more than ever.

The Church herself needs transformative and resilient leaders who can discern the times and contexts they lead in and equip their congregations to be active participants in God’s renewing work in the world. Healthy leaders are committed to their own growth for the sake of the communities they serve, both in and beyond the Church.

They recognise that their best leadership comes in the company of others. Laidlaw Centre for Church Leadership (CfCL) was established in response to these genuine needs in the Church today. CfCL's heart is to bless, love and serve as Jesus did.

We believe healthy church leaders cultivate healthy churches, that in turn undertake the work of the Gospel in their communities. CfCL is committed to holistically supporting, resourcing and growing leaders to lead in ways that increase the Church's faithfulness and fruitfulness in ministry and mission in Aotearoa.

Laidlaw College

Laidlaw College has been resourcing robust Biblically engaged Christian life, ministry, and mission since 1922.

At the heart of Laidlaw's world-class theological education and research is a vision to see the Church and her leaders shaped by love, compelled and informed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ to renew their communities with a faith as intelligent as it is courageous.

CfCL stands firmly in this Laidlaw story, and is thus well equipped to support, resource, and grow church leaders to serve in ways that deepen the Church's faithfulness and stimulate discipleship in Aotearoa.

Find out more about Laidlaw  →

Our Team

The Laidlaw CfCL team are experienced practitioners, and share a passion for the building up of the Church, and equipping Christian leaders. They are supported by a growing network of pastors, researchers, and network leaders.


Clint Ussher

Clint serves as both the Director of CfCL and Lead Pastor of The Well Church in Ōtautahi Christchurch. Nothing is more thrilling for Clint than seeing church leaders who live and lead out of an overflow of their own union in and with Christ and seeing the Church flourishing in ministry and mission.


Ness Johnson

CfCL’s Operations Lead and Laidlaw’s Event Manager, Ness brings her 20+ years of event and project management experience within the Christian non-profit sector to ensure smooth running of operations. Ness is passionate about curating meaningful spaces that help facilitate moments of memorable transformation.


Christine Harding

CfCL Senior Coach & Lead Trainer, Christine brings over 40 years of experience in church ministry and leadership with over 10 years experience as a coach and coach trainer in this area. Her passion is sustaining leadership, growth and wellbeing.


Karen Kemp

CfCL Senior Coach & School of Theology Lecturer, Karen brings a lifetime of ministry and educational leadership experience. She is passionate about the church as a restorative community, forming resilient leaders, and building intercultural bridges.


Graeme Flett

CfCL Senior Coach & School of Theology Lecturer, Graeme brings a focus on church leadership, organisational culture, media ecology and identify formation.


Maja Whitaker

Maja is responsible for overseeing our growing relationships with partner churches and is the Practical Theology Lead for Laidlaw’s School of Theology. Maja is a pastor in the Equippers Church network and she is passionate about equipping people for life in Jesus Christ.


Lui Ponifasio

CfCL Senior Leadership Fellow, Lui is passionate about activating and mobilising leaders and churches to engage in global missions and church planting. Lui leads CCCi, a network of churches globally, and also chairs Pacific2Nations missions movement and is a member of the Laidlaw National Governing Council. Lui and his wife Ane are Senior Pastors of Life Church.


Amy Page Whiting

CfCL Senior Leadership Fellow Amy is the Senior Pastor at The River Ōpāwaho and the National Director for Arrow Leadership NZ. These two roles capture the key areas of leadership she feels called to and passionate about – mission, discipleship, and leadership formation.


Jonathan Dove

CfCL Senior Leadership Fellow Jonathan (or ‘JD’ as most call him) is the Senior Pastor of Gracecity and also convenes Auckland Church Network. He is passionate about people coming to know Jesus and building a strong community of believers that renew people and places in the way they work, play and live.


Steve Graham

CfCL Senior Leadership Fellow Steve Graham is Principal of Equippers College in Auckland & England - the training arm of Equippers churches. Steve enjoys relating across a wide range of churches and denominations, ministering in churches and having input into leadership teams.