Brian D. McLaren

Grace and Brian McLaren, January 2007
Brian D. McLaren is an author, speaker, activist, and networker among innovative faith leaders. His dozen-plus books include A New Kind of Christianity, A Generous Orthodoxy, Naked Spirituality, Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?, We Make the Road by Walking, and The Great Spiritual Migration. He is a senior fellow with Auburn Seminary, and a board member and leader in Convergence Network, Center for Progressive Renewal, and Wild Goose Festival. He and his wife, Grace, live in Florida and have four adult children and five grandchildren.
Brian 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 especially 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. And in 2010, he was awarded a second Doctor of Divinity Degree (honoris causa) from Virginia Theological Seminary.
He began his career teaching college English. In 1982, he helped form Cedar Ridge Community Church, an innovative, transdenominational church in the Baltimore-Washington region ( He left teaching in 1986 to become the church’s first full-time pastor, and served until 2006, when 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 1980’s, 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; multi-faith collaboration, and faith and social justice.
McLaren’s 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 Today’s “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. 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.
His 2010 book, A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith (HarperOne), has been identified as one of his major works, as has his 2011 release on the spiritual life, Naked Spirituality: A Life with God in Twelve Simple Words (HarperOne). His 2012 release, Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? (Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World (Jericho, 2012), grapples with the globally-important issues of faith, identity, and hostility. His newest book, We Make the Road by Walking (Jericho, 2014) provides a fresh overview of the Bible, and is being used by congregations, study groups, classes, families, and individuals around the world to discover a new vision for Christian faith.
Brian’s September 2016 release, The Great Spiritual Migration (Convergent) will challenge Christians to move decisively forward in three critical areas of spirituality, theology, and mission.
Brian has also co-authored and edited several books, and has contributed articles, columns, and interviews to many periodicals, including Leadership, Sojourners, Worship Leader, Tikkun, and Conversations. He has been profiled in Christian Century, Christianity Today, The Washington Post, and many other print media, and Time listed him among twenty-five influential Christian leaders in America. He has appeared in a variety of national media, including CNN, ABC, FOX News, PBS, NPR, and The New York Times.
His popular blog along with links to many of his articles, interviews, videos, and liturgical resources can be found at He also is active on Facebook, Twitter, and Slideshare.
He has served on several nonprofit boards and has taught or lectured at many universities and seminaries.
Brian has traveled extensively in Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Asia, and his personal interests include the outdoors, songwriting, and literature.
Trout fishing in Colorado