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 served in Indonesia and the U.S. and has extensive experience in equipping church leaders and cross-cultural professionals in the areas of missiology, cross-cultural ministry, 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 and minister cross-culturally. He 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 midtown Manhattan. McMahan works at Biola University as Professor in the School of Intercultural Studies in the Master's and Doctoral programs. He is married to Terri whose specialization is in English as Second Language Studies.


  • The Great Commission Research Network
  • American Society of Missiology
  • Evangelical Missiological Society
  • Vision 5:9 Network
  • Christian and Missionary Alliance


  • The Strategic Nature of Urban Ministry in the Ukrainian language Journal of the Ukrainian Theological Society, on January 9, 2023.
  • Ferment in the Church: Missions in the 4th Era, in Evangelical Missions Quarterly, Volume 56, Issue 4 – October – December 2020.
  • 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.

Research Interests

  • Developing leaders to turn around plateaued churches.
  • 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
  • Developing a new missiological toolkit for globalized, urban missions
  • Understanding people group strategies in the contexts of hybridity and diasporas

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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