The Rev. Brian McLaren

Denomination: Other

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

He graduated the 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. And in 2010 he was awarded a second Doctor of Divinity Degree (honoris causa) from Virginia Theological Seminary.

McLaren 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 1980's and has assisted in the development of several new churches. He is a popular speaker worldwide for campus groups, seminaries, and clergy and leadership conferences. 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.

McLaren has written or co-written more than a dozen books including The Church on the Other Side: Doing Ministry in the Postmodern Matrix, (Zondervan), Finding Faith (Zondervan), A New Kind of Christian (Jossey-Bass, which received Christianity Today's "Award of Merit"), More Ready Than You Realize: Evangelism as Dance in the Postmodern Matrix (Zondervan), A is for Abductive (coauthored with Dr. Leonard Sweet, Zondervan), Adventures in Missing the Point (coauthored with Dr. Anthony Campolo, Emergent/YS), Church in the Emerging Culture (Emergent/YS), A Generous Orthodoxy (Emergent/YS/Zondervan), The Story We Find Ourselves In (Jossey-Bass), The Last Word and the Word After That (Jossey-Bass), The Secret Message of Jesus (Thomas Nelson), Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope (Thomas Nelson), Finding Our Way Again (Thomas Nelson), and A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith (HarperOne).

In 2011, Naked Spirituality: A Life with God in 12 Simple Words (HarperOne) will arrive; it describes a dozen spiritual disciplines that facilitate a "naked" life with God and others. Writes McLaren, "A life centered on simple, doable, durable practices helps you begin and sustain a naked encounter with the holy mystery and pure loving presence that people commonly call God."

Brian McLaren 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.  TIME listed McLaren as one of the twenty-five most influential Evangelicals in America in 2005, and he has appeared on "Larry King Live," "Nightline," CNN, FOX, PBS, and many other national media outlets.

Brian has served on the international steering team and board of directors for emergent, a growing generative friendship among missional Christian leaders (, as well as several other nonprofit boards including Off the Map (, International Teams (, Mars Hill Graduate School, 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. Many of McLaren's articles and liturgical resources, including his popular weblog, can be found at


Articles by The Rev. Brian McLaren

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Brian McLaren: Why I Wrote 'We Make the Road by Walking'

Tuesday July 15, 2014
Since I was a teenager, I've been searching for a new kind of Christianity. The confident fundamentalism of my childhood, the Jesus Movement with its vigorous piety in my late-adolescent years, the charismatic movement with its joyful celebration after that, the moderate Evangelicalism of my early adulthood (before the religious right stole the brand) ... each gave me precious gifts. And each made me long and pray for something more.

The Rev. Brian McLaren: Harmony: The Season of Spiritual Deepening

Wednesday April 27, 2011
In the final excerpt from his new book "Naked Spirituality," Brian McLaren writes about stage 4 spirituality, "In some ways, this is the stage when faith takes off its dualistic, pragmatic, and relativistic clothing and seeks to encounter God nakedly."

The Rev. Brian McLaren: Perplexity: The Season of Spiritual Surviving

Wednesday April 20, 2011
In the third excerpt from his new book "Naked Spirituality," Brian McLaren writes, "The spring of Simplicity and the summer of Complexity slip away, and now the autumn winds of Perplexity blow in a biting cold rain. Now, what matters most to us””more than being right, more than being effective””is being honest, authentic, even brutally so."

The Rev. Brian McLaren: Complexity: The Season of Spiritual Strengthening

Wednesday April 13, 2011
In the second excerpt from his new book "Naked Spirituality," Brian McLaren writes, "Our focus now shifts from right versus wrong to effective versus ineffective. To the degree we feel we have orthodoxy (right belief) nailed down, we now turn to orthopraxy (right behavior)."

The Rev. Brian McLaren: Simplicity: The Season of Spiritual Awakening

Wednesday April 06, 2011
In the first of four excerpts from his new book "Naked Spirituality," Brian McLaren writes, "Many of us have memories of when our spiritual lives first came alive””the season of our 'first love.'"