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Brian McLaren


Brian D. McLaren is an author, speaker, activist, and networker among innovative Christian leaders.

He graduated from University of Maryland with degrees in English (BA, summa cum laude, 1978, and MA, magna cum laude, 1981). His academic interests included Medieval drama, Romantic poets, modern philosophical literature, and the novels of Walker Percy. In 2004, he was awarded a Doctor of Divinity Degree (honoris causa) from Carey Theological Seminary in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

He began his career teaching college English. He left teaching in 1986 to become founding pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church, an innovative, transdenominational church in the Baltimore-Washington region ( The church grew to involve several hundred people, many of whom were previously unchurched. In 2006, he left the pastorate to devote full time to writing and speaking.

Brian has been active in networking and mentoring church planters and pastors since the mid 1980s, and has assisted in the development of several new churches. He is a popular speaker for campus groups, seminaries, and clergy and leadership conferences, nationally and internationally. His public speaking covers a broad range of topics including the gospel and global crises; theology and postmodernity; liturgy, preaching and spiritual formation; evangelism and inter-religious dialogue, and faith and social justice.

McLarens first book, The Church on the Other Side: Doing Ministry in the Postmodern Matrix, (Zondervan, 1998, rev. ed. 2000) has been recognized as a primary portal into the current conversation about postmodern ministry. His second book, Finding Faith (Zondervan, 1999), is a contemporary apologetic, written for thoughtful seekers and skeptics (later re-released in two shorter volumes). His third book, A New Kind of Christian (Jossey-Bass, 2001) further explores issues of Christian faith and postmodernity, and won Christianity Todays Award of Merit in 2002. His fourth, More Ready Than You Realize: Evangelism as Dance in the Postmodern Matrix (2002) presents a refreshing approach to spiritual friendship. A is for Abductive (coauthored with Dr. Leonard Sweet, Zondervan, 2002) and Adventures in Missing the Point (coauthored with Dr. Anthony Campolo, Emergent/YS, 2003) explore theological reform in a postmodern context. He is one of five co-authors of Church in the Emerging Culture (Emergent/YS, 2003). His 2004 release, A Generous Orthodoxy (Emergent/YS/Zondervan), is a personal confession and has been called a manifesto of the emerging church conversation.

The second release in the A New Kind of Christian trilogy, entitled The Story We Find Ourselves In (Jossey-Bass, 2003), seeks to tell the Biblical story in a new context. The Last Word and the Word After That (Jossey-Bass, 2005) completed this trilogy, grappling with the critical issues of hell and judgment.

In 2006, he released The Secret Message of Jesus (Thomas Nelson), followed in 2007 by Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope and in 2008 by Finding Our Way Again (Nelson, April 2008). These three books lay out a contemporary approach to the Christian life, message, and mission. In 2009, he co-edited The Justice Project (Baker), which brings together over thirty voices on the biblical vision of social justice. His 2010 book, A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith, is predicted to be his major work to date.

He has written for or contributed interviews to many periodicals, including Leadership, Sojourners, Worship Leader, and Conversations. He has been profiled in Christianity Today and Christian Century, The Washington Post, and many other print media, and Time listed him as one of the twenty-five most influential Evangelicals in America. He has appeared on Larry King Live, Nightline, CNN, FOX, PBS, and many other national media. Many of his articles, liturgical resources, and his popular weblog can be found at

He has served on the international steering team and board of directors for emergent, a growing generative friendship among missional Christian leaders (, and has served on several other nonprofit boards including Off the Map, an organization helping people cultivate a practical spirituality (, International Teams (, an innovative missions organization based in Chicago, Mars Hill Graduate School in Seattle, and Sojourners ( He has taught or lectured at many universities and seminaries (including Yale, Princeton, Fuller, George Fox, Biblical, Asbury, Western, Mars Hill Graduate School, Wesley, and Dominican).

Brian is married to Grace, and they have four young adult children. He has traveled extensively in Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Asia, and his personal interests include the outdoors, songwriting, and literature. His website is