Since its formation, the World Church Leadership Council has been the deliberative and consensus forming body for a number of important decisions, such as the 2002 Statement on Homosexuality, formation of mission centers, and setting of dates for specially called World Conferences. The World Church Leadership Council assisted with the recommendation to the World Conference by the Council of Twelve that Stephen M. Veazey be ordained as Prophet-President of the church. In 2006, the World Church Leadership Council deliberated significant restructuring of the church's headquarters operations and reduction in the number of paid field ministers. It has contributed to development of a new format for the 2007 Community of Christ World Conference.
Before the adoption of the 2002 bylaws, the predecessor body known as the Joint Council served essentially the same role as the new World Church Leadership Council. During their deliberation of the vision and mission statements of the church at a 1994 Joint Council retreat, President Wallace B. Smith first suggested a new name for the church, Community of Christ. The Joint Council was often designated as the policy approval body in legislation passed at World Conferences over a period of many decades.