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01 October 2008

Brian McLaren

Brian D. McLaren is an author, speaker, pastor, and networker among Christian leaders. From 1978 to 1986, McLaren taught college English, and in 1982, he helped form Cedar Ridge Community Church, a nondenominational church in the Baltimore-Washington region. He served as its pastor until 2006 and is now a popular conference speaker and a frequent guest lecturer at seminaries and denominational gatherings, nationally and internationally. He is the author of several books including A New Kind of Christian (2001), A Generous Orthodoxy (2004), and The Secret Message of Jesus (2006).

Here's a taster of Brian's podcast interview:

What are some of the challenges and temptations of being on the road that younger leaders need to be aware of?

I think that to be a pastor of a local church - and not just a pastor but a layperson part of a local community - and to be living your faith in a neighbourhood is really where the action is. What happens to some people is that they get this celebrity mindset - people who write books, people who speak at conferences. I used to feel this way. I would feel that those are the important people, and I’m not important. And then the people on the road, they can start to think: “I’m the important person, and they’re not.” And all of that is insanity, it’s stupidity, it’s dangerous, it’s destructive.

In my mind, the most important people in the kingdom of God are the people who are working among the poor, the people who are taking care of those who are mentally ill, the people who are serving the least of these. We have to turn the whole importance pyramid upside down. That’s what happens in the kingdom of God. It’s not the most famous, it’s the humblest – the last are first. We’ve actually got to believe that. I would say that would be really important.

I’m so grateful that God did not allow me to get any notoriety at a younger age. It would have been so bad for my soul. And I think that’s another thing that we ought to help people to do - to really be suspicious of all of our definitions of success...