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Centre for Church Development & Leadership

The Centre for Church Development & Leadership (CCDL) was established within the operations of Toronto United Church Council by its Board of Directors in 2004.  From its inception, the Centre had four goals:

  • to formalize and manage the program activities of Council.
  • to provide opportunities for networking and training of leaders and members of church development ministries.
  • to identify, develop, and promote program resources.
  • to gather together educators and individuals with skills in church development from within Toronto Conference to create, guide, interpret, and evaluate these program activities of Council (the Steering Committee).

The need for the Centre and its ministry has significantly increased since 2004.  There continues to be immediate and critical challenges facing congregations and mission units today:

  • a questioning of identity and erosion of confidence;
  • a need to adapt and respond to a significantly changing social context;
  • creating community from diverse groups of people defined by generation, status, values, and culture;
  • responding to external demographic growth and managing internal growth or decline in the congregation or mission;
  • redeveloping facilities in light of health, safety, accessibility, and environmental requirements;
  • realigning human and capital resources for changing ministry;
  • finding renewed hope, energy, and purpose for ministry in the midst of decline;
  • encouraging innovation and sustaining it.

Through the Centre, Council is committed to supporting congregations and mission units enabling them to be real, relevant, and reachable.  Current programs of the Centre include:

  • Training to give leaders skills and vision for their ministry (delivered through creative and relevant learning circles, education courses, and mentoring programs).
  • Networking to offer supportive peer learning and accountability or to enable a partnership for individuals, congregations, and mission units in common form of mission or ministry.
  • Consulting Services to provide fee-for-service on-site facilitation in areas of church redevelopment such as new member ministry, leadership training, strategic planning and visioning, mission design, navigating major transitions, stewardship development, capital budgeting, directing financial appeals, and property management.
  • Research to find, develop and distribute relevant resources to ministry leaders.

The work of the Centre is guided by a team of creative people who have a rich and varied experience in congregational development in a wide variety of settings, both at the local and national level.  The current members of the Steering Group are Linda Butler, Elizabeth Cunningham, Bonnie Greene, Catherine Hions, Pam Lock, Glenn Smith, Christopher White, and Ron Ewart serves as staff support.

Within its current consultancy and facilitation work - shaped around the specific challenges and opportunities presented by each congregational context - the Centre team offers two major programs.

Church Futures Program: is for congregations that are at a crossroads. The program gives the congregation the chance to faithfully explore all the options available - downsize, redevelop its facility, relocate, reinvent its culture, amalgamate, and end its ministry. Click here for full description .

The Church Turnaround Project: A 'Turnaround' project is for congregations that need to renew and transform some part of their church in order to turn it around and allow it to move into sustainable mission in the years ahead. The program focuses on training and mentoring in 2 or 3 of the five key systems that are vital to congregation energy and health. Click here for full description .

Find announcements of upcoming events and programs here

Programs offered by the Centre

Seminars and Workshops
Learning events to introduce and develop key skills for transformational leadership in congregations. 

Church Futures and Church Turnaround Programs
Two major church development programs shaped around the specific challenges and opportunities presented by each congregational context.

Church Development Consulting
The Centre provides training, networking, and fee-for-service on-site facilitation to congregations, mission units and Presbyteries on many of the challenges facing contemporary congregations.

Networks and Learning Communities
Building networks of church development leaders.  These networks can be for supportive peer learning and accountability or emerge through partnership in a common form of mission and ministry.  Current networks and learning communities include the Green Awakening Network.

Church Development Resources
The Centre develops resource materials to guide congregational development with topics such as: Becoming an Inviting Church, Church Redevelopment, Leadership, Small Group Ministries, and more.

For more details, contact Janet Marshall at or at 905-771-5124 / 1-800-235-8822 ext 25.


The Toronto United Church Council works with the church community to connect resources with ministry. Offering access to professional advice, financial support and leadership development, Council helps our church address the social and spiritual challenges of the day.