Brian D. McLaren is an author, speaker, pastor, and networker among innovative Christian leaders, thinkers, and activists.
He is a frequent guest on television, radio, and news media programs. He has appeared on many broadcasts including Larry King Live, Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, and Nightline. His work has also been covered in Time (where he was listed as one of American's 25 most influential evangelicals), Christianity Today, Christian Century, the Washington Post, and many other print media.
Born in 1956, he graduated from University of Maryland with degrees in English (BA, summa cum laude, 1978, and MA, in 1981). His academic interests included Medieval drama, Romantic poets, modern philosophical literature, and the novels of Dr. Walker Percy. In 2004, he was awarded a Doctor of Divinity Degree (honoris causa) from Carey Theological Seminary in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
From 1978 to 1986, McLaren taught college English, and in 1982, he helped form Cedar Ridge Community Church, an innovative, nondenominational church in the Baltimore-Washington region (crcc.org). He left higher education in 1986 to serve as the church's founding pastor and served in that capacity until 2006. During that time, Cedar Ridge earned a reputation as a leader among emerging missional congregations.
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 conference speaker and a frequent guest lecturer at seminaries and denominational gatherings,nationally and internationally. His public speaking covers a broad range of topics including postmodern thought and culture, Biblical studies, evangelism, leadership, global mission, spiritual formation, worship, pastoral survival and burnout, inter-religious dialogue, ecology, 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. His third book, A New Kind of Christian (Jossey-Bass/Leadership Network, 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. 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, and a sequel to A New Kind of Christian, entitled The Story We Find Ourselves In (Jossey-Bass, 2003), seeks to tell the Biblical story in a new 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 conclusion to the A New Kind of Christian trilogy was released in 2005, entitled "The Last Word and the Word After That" (Jossey-Bass).
"The Secret Message of Jesus" (W, April 2006), explores the theme of the kingdom of God in the teachings of Jesus. "This book was written for a broad audience," he explains, "from the spiritual-but-not-religious to Christian pastors and leaders. Everything I've written to this point has been a preparation for this book."
He serves as a board chair for Sojourners/Call to Renewal (sojo.net), and is a founding member of Red Letter Christians, a group of communicators seeking to broaden and deepen the dialogue about faith and public life. He is also a board member for "Orientacion Cristiana," and formerly served on the boards of International Teams (www.iteams.org) in Chicago, Mars Hill Graduate School in Seattle (mhgs.edu), and Off The Map (off-the-map.org). He has taught or lectured at several seminaries in the U.S. and abroad.
Brian is married to Grace, and they have four young adult children. He has traveled extensively in Europe, Latin America, and Africa, and his personal interests include ecology, fishing, hiking, music, art, and literature.