Experts on "Church Planting"

Gary L McIntosh

  • Professor of Christian Ministry and Leadership

Gary L. McIntosh is a nationally and internationally known professor of Christian Ministry & Leadership. He is recognized as the foremost spokesperson for classical Church Growth Missiology in the USA. As a church growth expert, he publishes Growth Points, a monthly publication read by over 7,000 church leaders. McIntosh is in wide demand as a speaker and seminar leader on numerous subjects related to church life and ministry. He has published over 300 articles and reviews in Christian magazines and theological journals, and is the author of twenty-two books including One Size Doesn't Fit All; One Church, Four Generations; Staff Your Church for Growth; Biblical Church Growth, and the award-winning What Every Pastor Should Know: 101 Indispensable Rules of Thumb for Leading Your Church (Baker Books, 2013).

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Alan McMahan

  • Undergraduate Chair, Cook School of Intercultural Studies
  • Program Director Undergraduate Studies for Intercultural Studies
  • Professor of Intercultural Studies

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.

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Walter Russell

  • Professor of Bible Exposition

Walt Russell's areas of expertise are exegesis, hermeneutics and New Testament theology, especially as they relate to world evangelism and the spiritual growth of the church. He has an extensive background in collegiate ministries, university teaching and the pastorate, having planted two churches. He authored The Flesh/Spirit Conflict in Galatians and Playing with Fire: How the Bible Ignites Change in Your Soul. Russell has contributed articles to Bibliotheca Sacra, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Grace Theological Journal, Westminster Theological Journal, Trinity Journal and Christianity Today. His life themes are the primacy of the Great Commission in the life of the church, the renewal of the church through the development of dynamic community and the strengthening of the church through vibrant teaching of the Scriptures.

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Joshua Smith

  • Assistant Professor
Dr. Joshua Smith is a literary scholar with a primary interest in both the nineteenth century and American West. As a professor at the Torrey Honors Institute, he also teaches the classics, the knowledge of which he employs to explore the intellectual influences on important American thinkers, writers and historical developments. He is most interested in the ways that American territorial expansion and frontier mythology shape antebellum writing and national identity. Looking far beyond traditional frontier themes in literature, his research on the influence of the West on American narrative has forged links between such disparate subjects as Nat Turner, Herman Melville, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Ralph Ellison and Quentin Tarantino. The relationship between the South and the West is of particular interest to him. He pays attention to the historical interdependence of these two regions of the country, but also to the curious western trek of minstrelsy and other lampoons of southern life and culture to Hollywood.
As an accomplished alto saxophonist, he explores the relationship between music and thought. In particular, he is interested in the ways that jazz exposes a rich intellectual tradition and both parallels and informs literary production. Understanding jazz to be a way of thinking and not merely an artistic style, he employs his creative acumen to exploit the inherent musical quality of oral communication. As a public speaker, he is attuned to the same performance dynamics as an artist. His saxophone sensibilities equip him as an orator to improvise and compose words in ways that mimic musical and theatrical nuances.
Though animated, humorous, thought-provoking and explosive on stage, Dr. Smith, like many academics, is an introvert in an extrovert’s world. He’s learned how to turn the socially awkward into social empowerment. The life lessons he’s picked up along the way have translated into compelling talks on leadership and emotional intelligence. Dr. Smith is a highly requested campus and conference speaker who engages audiences with both a personable and inspirational style.

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Tom Steffen

  • Professor Emeritus of Intercultural Studies

Dr. Steffen served 20 years with New Tribes Mission, 15 of those in the Philippines. He is Professor Emeritus of Intercultural Studies in the School of Intercultural Studies at Biola University in La Mirada, California.

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K. Erik Thoennes

  • Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies
  • Chair, Biblical & Theological Studies – Theology Department

Erik Thoennes is committed to teaching biblical and systematic theology so that he and his students love God and people more fully. He strives to make the necessary connections between the study of theology, obedience to Jesus and fulfilling the Great Commission. He has taught theology and evangelism at the college and seminary levels for several years and is a frequent guest speaker at churches, conferences and retreats, in addition to co-pastoring a local church. Thoennes has received the University award for faculty excellence and professor of the year. His research interests include godly jealousy, the atonement, the exclusivity of Christ and theology of culture.

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Biola University
13800 Biola Ave. La Mirada, CA 90639
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