Alan McMahan, department chair of the undergraduate

intercultural studies program at Cook School of Intercultural Studies (CSICS), received the Great Commission Research Network’s Donald A. McGavran Award in Fall 2015 for exceptional contributions to the church.

This award is given once a year to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the church growth movement in the U.S. McMahan has spent his career heavily involved in the movement, teaching, mentoring, and advising leaders in the church across the country.

Conceived in 1988, the Donald A. McGavran Award was created to encourage and affirm outstanding contributions to the field of effective evangelism. Previous award winners include: Ed Stetzer, renowned missiologist and contributing editor for Christianity Today; Rick Warren, founder and senior pastor of Saddleback Church and Gary McIntosh, Talbot professor at Biola.

McMahan considers himself privileged to be a recipient of this award.

“I am honored to be included in such a distinguished list of previous award winners,” said McMahan.  “This is an important calling and a chief priority of the church, to effectively communicate the good news of Jesus to those who have never heard or never understood this good news was for them.  It has been a privilege to work with these thinkers and practitioners to explore how the church is growing in the U.S. and around the world.”

Founded in 1985, the Great Commission Research Network (GCRN) is an international community committed to helping local churches expand their missional role through effective disciple-making. CSICS, in cooperation with GCRN, publishes the Great Commission Research Journal twice a year — a journal committed to communicating recent thinking and research related to church growth.

Allen Yeh, professor of intercultural studies and missiology at Biola, commended McMahan for his dedication to the field of missions.

"An insightful missiological thinker as well as a skilled practitioner, Alan McMahan ably blends both in his contributions to Biola and in impacting the world for Christ,” said Yeh.

McMahan completed his Ph.D. in intercultural studies at Fuller Seminary in the areas of leadership and church growth, and won two awards in the field with his dissertation in 1998.

Since 1989, he has taught continuously in theological schools around the globe in the areas of evangelism, church growth, church planting, leadership, conflict resolution, organizational development, leading organizational change, and other related fields.

McMahan also served as president of the American Society for Church Growth, and currently serves on the board for the GCRN.

In 2012, he co-authored, “Being the Church in a Multi-Ethnic Community: Why It Matters and How It Works” with Gary McIntosh, and has been a dissertation mentor for Ph.D., D. Miss. and D. Min. students at CSICS and other schools.

Written by Kathryn Toombs, Public Relations Intern. For more information, please contact Jenna Loumagne, Media Relations Specialist, at or via phone at (562) 777-4061.