The work of the Centre for Christianity in Society is carried out by a varied team of Directors, volunteers and associates who are all committed to our vision of connecting Christ with contemporary culture and united in our core beliefs and values.


Our Directors are responsible for setting the strateghic priorities of the Centre and ensuring that its ministries are furthering its aims.  They serve on a voluntary basis.

Dr Paul Coulter,
Executive Director

Paul lives in Lisburn with his wife, Gar-Ling, and their two children.  He is Head of Ministry Operations for Living Leadership

Dr Keith Gardiner,
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Keith lives just outside Lisburn with his wife Ruth and their two daughters.  He is Church Growth Officer in the Diocese of Down and Dromore

Michael Shaw,
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Michael lives in Belfast with his wife, Lauren, and their son, Ezra.  He serves as Associate Pastor in Strandtown Baptist Church.

Rachel Shields,
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Rachel lives outside Belfast with her husband John.  She is a part-time student in theology.

Paul started his working life as a doctor in hospitals in Northern Ireland and in the Northern Ireland Hospice before leaving  medicine to work with churches as a youth worker and pastor-teacher within his own culture and across cultures.  More recently he was a lecturer in practical theology and missiology and he continues academic work in these areas.  Living Leadership trains and supports Christian leaders across the UK and beyond.


Paul holds primary degrees in medical genetics and medicine, an MA and PhD in theology, and a post-graduate certificate in higher education teaching.  In his spare time he enjoys cycling, walking and reading historical novels.


For more about Paul visit his personal website:

Keith trained as an academic surgeon before being appointed as a general and colorectal surgeon in Northern Ireland. In addition, he has undertaken regional leadership roles in surgical research, nutrition support and medical education. 


Keith holds degrees in medicine, medical research and clinical education as well as qualifications in general surgery and quality improvement.  He is currently undertaking a Masters’ degree in Theology through Belfast Bible College.


His new role in church growth, since March 2021, involves nurturing generosity in the church and attracting investment in the extension of God’s Kingdom.

Michael previously worked as a Broadcast Journalist at the BBC in Belfast and as a Media Manager at Procter and Gamble in London.


He holds degrees in Theology from Oxford University and in Law from Durham University. 


Michael is passionate about gospel-centred Bible teaching and apologetics.

Although born in the UK, Rachel spent her childhood in the USA and Canada before emigrating to Edinburgh, Scotland to study nursing. Following her marriage to John and the subsequent births of their four children, Rachel experienced a sudden conversion to faith in Christ. She spent the following years raising her family and studying theology at Belfast Bible College and Cornhill, Belfast.  


Rachel is currently pursuing post-graduate work at St Andrew’s University, studying the interface between Christian faith and contemporary culture. Last year she joined the adjunct faculty at Belfast Bible College, teaching John’s Gospel to the Women’s Study Fellowship. Her other interests include conversational apologetics and reading.


Our associates contribute to the work of the Centre as speakers and authors in areas of expertise. To find out about the criteria associates must meet click here.

Sarah Coffey,

Sarah lives in the Ards Peninsula with her husband Kurtis. She graduated from Queens University Belfast in 2019 with a degree in Adult Nursing and currently works as a Registered Nurse in Community & Primary Care setting. 

Sarah has a keen interest in gospel-centred apologetics with a particular focus on young people and women. In addition, she has a passion for standing for life and speaking out truthfully against abortion and currently serves as spokesperson for NIvoiceless. 


As an Associate with the Centre, Sarah is one of our Knitted Together speakers.

Tim Houston,

Tim lives in Belfast with his wife Claire. He is studying a Bachelor of Divinity at the Irish Baptist College and preaches regularly. He has a Bachelor of Arts in History and Theology from Queen’s University. Previously he has worked in banking and hospitality but always with a sense of God’s call on his life for full-time ministry. He is serving as a student assistant with Dundonald Baptist Church alongside his studies.


Tim has taught English and Bible lessons with CEF Romania online and in-person and he and his wife have a passion for the work in Romania. In his spare time he enjoys reading, board games, drums and playing basketball. 


As an Associate with the Centre, Tim is one of our Knitted Together speakers.