Ryan K. Bolger

Associate Professor of Church in Contemporary CultureSchool of Intercultural Studies

Contact Information
BA, UC Davis
MACCS, MAT, PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary

Ryan Bolger joined the Fuller faculty in 2002 and is associate professor of church in contemporary culture in the School of Intercultural Studies. Combined with his research focusing on church and contemporary culture, he teaches classes on missiology, technological culture, church and mission, church planting, and church renewal.

Most recently, Bolger edited Gospel After Christendom: New Voices, New Cultures, New Expressions (2012), convening 28 authors throughout Western culture who initiated new churches within post-Christendom. With Fuller’s Senior Professor of Church Growth Eddie Gibbs, Bolger coauthored Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Communities in Postmodern Cultures (2005), based on research and interviews with church leaders throughout the United States and United Kingdom. His publications also include chapters in Phylis Tickle: Evangelist of the Future (2013), Mass Culture (2008), Worship That Changes Lives (2008), An Emergent Manifesto of Hope (2008), and Evangelical, Ecumenical, and Anabaptist Missiologies in Conversation: Essays in Honor of Wilbert R. Shenk (2006). In addition, he has published articles in Missiology and the ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science and is a frequent conference speaker on church and culture.

For his research on pastoral leadership in the emerging church, Bolger received an award from Duke Divinity School in 1999, and in 2005, he received an award from Yale for his teaching on American culture and the gospel.

Bolger mentors PhD, DMin, and DMiss doctoral students in the areas of contemporary culture and the church.

Classes Taught

  • IS503 Missiology
  • MC500 Church and Mission
  • MC509 Church in a Technological Age
  • MC520 Church Planting
  • MC532 Evangelizing Nominal Christians (Church Renewal)

Areas of Expertise, Research and Writing

Faith and technology, emerging church, missional church, church growth, contemporary culture, contextualization, local theology, Jesus and mission



  • Editor. Gospel after Christendom: New Voices, New Cultures, New Expressions. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 2012.
  • Coauthor with Eddie Gibbs: Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Community in Postmodern Cultures. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 2005.
Chapters and Articles
  • “Evangelicals on a Journey to Emergence: What to Take, What to Leave Behind,” in Phyllis Tickle: Evangelist of the Future, ed. Tony Jones (Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2013).
  • Bolger, R., and Landres, J. “Emergent religion,” in Encyclopedia of Global Religion, ed. M. Juergensmeyer and W. Roof, pp. 340-342 (Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2012).
  • “Emerging Churches within Denominational Structures,” Theology, News & Notes, Fall 2008, Fuller Theological Seminary, co-edited issue with Eddie Gibbs.
  • “Communion and the Emerging Church in the US,” in Mass Culture, ed. Pete Ward, 2nd edition (Oxford: Bible Reading Fellowship, 2008).
  • “Contemporary Perspectives on Worship: Emerging Forms of Worship in the US and UK,” in Worship that Changes Lives, ed. Alexis Abernethy (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2008).
  • “Practice Movements In Global Information Culture: Looking Back to McGavran and Finding a Way Forward,” Missiology 35, no. 2 (April 2007): 181-93.
  • “Following Jesus into Culture, Emerging Church as Social Movement,” in An Emergent Manifesto of Hope, ed. Doug Pagitt and Tony Jones (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2007).
  • Landres, J. Shawn and Bolger, Ryan K. “Emerging Patterns of Interreligious Conversation,” in The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 612, no. 1 (2007): 225-39.
  • “Postmodern Forms of the Church,” co-author Eddie Gibbs, in Evangelical, Ecumenical, and Anabaptist Missiologies in Conversation: Essays in Honor of Wilbert R. Shenk, ed. James Krabill, Walter Sawatsky, and Charles Van Engen (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2006).
  • “The Local Church in Mission: Becoming a Missional Congregation in the Twenty-First Century Global Context,” editor, Track 10A, Lausanne Conference for World Evangelization, Pattaya Thailand, Sept. 29–Oct. 6, 2004.
  • “The Evangelical Strategy of MTV,” Strategies for Today’s Leader, Fourth Quarter, 2001, vol. 38, no. 4.
  • “Dwelling, Distinctiveness, and Dialogue: The Missiological Triad of John Howard Yoder,” Mission Focus: Annual Review, 1998, volume 6.
  • “Jesus For and Against Modernity: Practice-Redemption As Missiological Response to the Rules of the Modern Powers,” Fuller Seminary, 2003. Mentor: Wilbert R. Shenk; Committee Members: William Dyrness, Eddie Gibbs.
Popular Writing
  • Landres, J. S., and R. K. Bolger. 2007. “Evangelical-Jewish Dialogue: The Emerging Conversation.” Sh’ma 37/638 (May), 11.
  • Landres, J. S., and R. K. Bolger. 2006. “Objevující se duchovní paradigmata [Emerging spiritual paradigms],” DINGIR (in Czech).
  • “Lesslie Newbigin and the Church in the 21st Century,” November 6, 2006. http://www.24-7prayer.com/cm/articles/784
  • “Why Emerging Churches are Nonviolent,” in Next Wave, February 2006.
  • “Please No More Doing Church for Them,” in Next Wave, November 2005.
  • “Brian McLaren is the Real Thing,” in Next Wave, September 2005.
  • “On Emergent,” in Next Wave, August 2005.

Additional Information

Dr. Bolger’s CV and blog

Faculty Search

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Pasadena, CA 91182