City to City loses staff, overhauls its management

Eight staff have recently left the church planting and ministry training organisation City to City Australia (CTCA). The highly-regarded body is focused on having churches flourish in cities, and is one of a group of City to City organisations around the world inspired by the work of Tim Keller in New York City.

Two senior staff were made redundant, and another resigned. The best-known of the first two was author and blogger Stephen McAlpine. Five other staff then resigned, some at least in protest. These events occurred in August and September this year.

Tim Dyer from the Johnmark group was then asked to write a report for the City to City board. A summary of the report provided to staff provides background. The Other Cheek has obtained a copy of the confidential summary. City to City Australia grew significantly from 2022, but arguably had a narrow donor base. This meant that a delay in a decision by a significant donor caused staff concern. The two senior staff who were made redundant were told it was for financial reasons. The report summary also mentions unresolved tensions between the CEO and COO. (The COO was the staff member who resigned.) Some other staff had raised concerns with the board about leadership.

The Other Cheek is not in a position to know which, if any, of these concerns were justified. We simply note what concerns were raised.

While there was no finding of misconduct or a breach of the CTCA code of conduct, the report found some members of staff pointed to significant issues around leadership and culture, according to the summary. That these concerns were taken seriously is evident from the response described in the summary.

The Chair of the board of CTCA, Justin Moffatt, told The Other Cheek: “The board acted as soon as the difficulties surfaced, inviting a thorough external review by a leader in the field, The Johnmark Extension, and has acted on the basis of that review, after many of the voices had been heard, including almost all who had left. CTCA is aware from its own experience that growing pains can lead to mistakes and opportunities to set a new course to better thrive.”

A significant change to the structure of CTCA is being pursued. The existing CEO will focus on ministry and content, with CTCA creating a new position to look after the staffing, finance and admin functions. Both positions will report to the board.

Johnmark Extension will be asked to assist with reconciliation for CTCA. If this involves those who have left, this could be both difficult and worthwhile.

The Other Cheek has reported that CTCA has had many wins in assisting churches to review their ministry, plant new churches and in some cases, merge churches. Just like the churches it helps, CTCA is now aware it has to learn from its mistakes to thrive.

Image Credit: Sacha Fernandez flickr

Justin Moffatt’s name was corrected – two “t”s