DepartmentCook School of Intercultural Studies
Biola AffiliationsFaculty



  • Ph.D., Fuller Theological Seminary
  • Th.M., Asbury Theological Seminary
  • M. Div., Alliance Theological Seminary
  • B.S., Nyack College

Member of


Alan McMahan has served in churches in North America and on the Pacific Rim as well as taught in the areas of missiology, church growth, leadership, organizational development and evangelism. He has been active in training undergraduate and graduate students including mid-career professionals, Bible school teachers, pastors and denominational leaders through the U.S., Canada, Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia in the effective means to develop leaders and grow churches. He maintains an active consulting service in churches and is the former President of the American Society of Church Growth. He has earned degrees from Fuller Seminary, Asbury Seminary, the Alliance Theological Seminary and Nyack College. His Ph.D. dissertation was entitled, "Training Turnaround Leaders, Systemic Approaches to Reinstate Growth in Plateaued Churches." He has served as a Vice President for the Alliance Theological Seminary, and as the Academic Dean at The King’s College in mid-town Manhattan. McMahan now works at Biola University as an Associate Professor in the School of Intercultural Studies and serves as the Department Chair for the Undergraduate Intercultural Studies Program. He is married to Terri, and has two sons.


  • American Society for Church Growth
  • American Society of Missiology
  • Evangelical Missiological Society
  • Member of the Missions Leadership Forum at the Overseas Missions Study Center (OMSC) in New Haven, CT.


  • Republished: “The Strategic Nature of Urban Ministry” in Great Commission Research Journal,” Vol. 7, No. 1 - Summer 2015.
  • “Effective Practices of Growing Churches,” National Association of Evangelical’s newsletter, Insight, March, 2013.
  • “In Pursuit of the Multi-ethnic Church: How Much Is Too Much?,” Unity in Christ Magazine, March 2013.
  • Being the Church in a Multi-Ethnic Community: Why It Matters and How It Works, Wesleyan Publishing House, June, 2012. – Co-authored with Gary L. McIntosh.
  • “Opportunities and Challenges for Social Justice Mission in Asia,” in Discern What is Right, Asia Society of Missiology, 2012.
  • “The Strategic Nature of Urban Ministry,” in Compendium of the Evangelical Missiological Society, Volume 20, 2012.
  • General Editor, Great Commission Research Journal, Volume 1, No. 1 – Summer, 2009.
  • General Editor, Journal of The American Society for Church Growth, Volume 20, Winter 2009.
  • “Church Growth By Another Name: Challenges and Opportunities for the Future of a Movement,” in Great Commission Research Journal, Volume 1, No. 1 – Summer, 2009.
  • “Training Turnaround Leaders: Systematic Approaches to Reinstating Growth in Plateaued Churches.” 1998. University Microfilms, Inc.
  • “Book Review: Human Capital: What it Is and Why People Invest It.” Strategies for Today's Leaders Third Quarter 2001 (Web edition).
  • “Church Growth Consulting: Evolution of an Intervention.” Journal of the American Society for Church Growth Fall 2004.
  • “Guest Editor” Journal for the American Society for Church Growth Fall 2004.

Research Interests

  • Rapidly growing urban churches in Asia
  • Understanding successful leadership patterns in multi-ethnic churches
  • Re-examining receptivity theory in light of contemporary research into epidemiology (or the spread of infectious diseases and the diffusion of innovations)
  • Exploring the frontier of systemic church growth interventions
  • Understanding and predicting effective transformational leadership development experiences and examining these practices in various cultural contexts

Areas of Expertise for Media Interviews

  • Anthropology
  • Asia
  • Bible
  • Character Development
  • Church
  • Church Growth
  • Church Planting
  • Clergy
  • Comparative Religion
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Cross-cultural Issues
  • Cultural Diversity
  • Culture
  • Discipleship
  • Evangelism
  • Faith
  • Faith-based Organizations
  • Higher Education
  • Immigration
  • Indonesia
  • Intercultural Studies
  • L.a Urban Ministries
  • Leadership
  • Leading Change In Communities And Organizations
  • Mentoring
  • Ministry
  • Missions
  • Multicultural Issues
  • Organizational Development
  • Para-church (faith- Based Organizations)
  • Pastoring
  • Postmodernism
  • Salvation
  • Theology
  • Urban Affairs
  • World Religions
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