Seeking effective ways to share the gospel, surveying where and why the church is growing rapidly and exploring some of the obstacles the church faces as it moves towards fulfilling the Great Commission are just some of many issues Biola University examines in its fourth academic journal — The Great Commission Research Journal. The newly released journal is published by Biola’s Cook School of Intercultural Studies in collaboration with The Great Commission Research Network.

The journal was formerly known as the Journal of The American Society for Church Growth, published by the American Society for Church Growth since 1991. The new journal marks a move to a peer-reviewed journal and reflects the expansion into reporting on international research and successful models of evangelism from around the world. The first edition, published this fall, featured an introduction and article from general editor Alan McMahan, associate professor and chair of intercultural studies at Biola.  

“This inaugural issue of the Great Commission Research Journal represents a fresh start, a new beginning, the promise of the greater things,” wrote McMahan in the introduction. “It has roots in the past, standing on the firm foundation established by its predecessors, yet looking toward the future with an optimism and purpose that is expansive and wide and full of new challenges and opportunities.”

The purpose of the Great Commission Research Journal is to communicate recent thinking and research related to effective church growth and evangelism.

Published biannually in the summer and winter, each issue will represent the collaborative efforts of many authors, reviewers and editors. The journal provides church growth research available from dissertations, articles, and books; promotes good practice; provides a comparative U.S. and International church database; and provides opposing viewpoints in moderated discussion.

Contributors from the first issue include Charles van Engen, Michael Waldrop, Allen H. Quist, Phil Stevenson, J.D. Payne, Hansung Kim, Hutz Hertzberg, Francis Lonsway, Joshua Rhone, Danny R. Von Kanel, and Michael Wilson.

For an introduction to the journal, download Alan McMahan’s article, “Church Growth by Another Name: Challenges and Opportunities for the Future of a Movement.”

Subscribe to The Great Commission Research Journal.

Biola’s three other academic journals include the Christian Education Journal, the Journal of Psychology and Theology and the Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care. 

Written by Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Coordinator. Jenna can be reached at (562) 777-4061 or through email at