About us

Our Vision

The Centre for Church Development (ZKE) is a university location where people interested in theology and the church inform themselves and exchange information about future issues of church development, form networks and inspire each other.

Our Mission

Our research focuses on how questions of faith are addressed in church practice and where religion becomes visible today: in church services, but also on the street and in houses, in congregations, schools and other institutions, analogue and digital. We conduct theological research in fruitful interdisciplinary and international dialogue with university, social, political and media institutions. We maintain close contact with church leaders, church boards and parishes, with volunteers and full-time staff, and with all those who have the future of the church at heart.

We offer

We offer the following specific possibilities for participation:

  • Impulses through courses, lectures, conferences, publications and study trips
  • Reflection in seminars, colloquia, workshops and discussions
  • Accompaniment and counselling during church departures, project evaluations, qualification work, sabbaticals and expert opinions.
  • Practical-theological and systematic research on church theory in the context of current social issues.
  • Networking, counselling and training in innovative theological areas such as: digital communication of the gospel, public presence of the church, innovative parish development and church leadership practice.

Current and Future Projects

Social megatrends such as individualization, religious pluralization and digitization are challenging churches.
Far-reaching processes of cultural change are increasing the need for reflection in all institutions and organisations.
At the ZKE we analyse and interpret these changes and ask what consequences might arise for the self-understanding and  significance for civil society of the practice of church actors.
Current developments in the field of digital communication of the Gospel form an integral part of our research focus.
We keep our finger on the pulse at all times, researching with innovative methods and a high level of human participation.

A small insight into current research projects and thematic networking possibilities can be found here:

Innovative research projects:

  • Digital Religion and Church
  • Fresh Expressions of Church and mixed economy
  • Reform and parish collaboration reform processes
  • Church development and educational work
  • Community Care by parish
  • Theology for Church Boards
  • Future of the parish office and ecclesiastical professions


As a university centre for church development, we are financed almost exclusively by third-party funds. The ZKE is not profit-oriented, the proceeds of applications and commissions flow back into concrete research work.

Since 2011, the Association of Protestant Church Parishes of Zurich foundation has generously supported several doctoral positions, as well as administrative activities for sustainable research in church theory.

The Evangelical Reformed Church of the Canton of Zurich and the Concordat support the ZKE with funds. Conferences and publications can be financed through the support and commissions of various other national churches.  

The Faculty of Theology of the UZH ensures ongoing equipment on site.

It is our concern to work on topics of innovative church development and digital and public theology sustainably and profitably, to expand our research and to be in dialogue with interested parties.

In order for this work to continue to be possible and to expand, we are dependent on your support in terms of content, ideas and finances. Please feel free to contact us at any time! Donations can be transferred to the following account marked "for the benefit of the ZKE" and are tax-deductible.

Bank account


Universität Zürich, CH-8001 Zürich


(BC 700) - Zürcher Kantonalbank, 8010 Zürich

Swift-Code: ZKBKCHZZ80A

IBAN: CH51 0070 0110 0001 0959 4

Add payment reference:

"for the benefit of the ZKE"