Calvin Miller was born in Enid, Oklahoma. He graduated from Enid High School and attended Oklahoma Baptist University, graduating with a B.S. degree in 1958. He attended Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, graduating with a Master of Divinity degree in 1961 and a Doctor of Ministry degree in 1975.
In 1959 he was married to Barbara Joyce Harman. They are the parents of two children: Melanie and Timothy. His first full-time pastorate was Plattsmouth Baptist Church, Plattsmouth, Nebraska, 1961-1966. He went to Westside Church, Omaha, Nebraska, in January 1966, where he served as senior pastor for 25 years. During his pastorate the congregation grew from 10 members to more than 2500 members. From 1991-1998, Miller served as Professor of Communication and Ministry Studies and Writer-in-Residence at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Ft. Worth, Texas. In January 1999, he joined the faculty of Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama, where he is currently Professor of Preaching and Pastoral Ministry.
He is the author of more than forty books of popular theology and inspiration. His poems and free-lance articles have appeared in various journals and magazines such as Christianity Today, Campus Life, Leadership, and His. He has served as an inspirational speaker in various assemblies and religious convocations, both in his own denomination and other Christian gatherings.
Dr. Miller believes in the primacy of evangelism for the church in every age. In his own church ministry he has sought to be both a contemporary apologist, helping the church provide answers for a secular culture, and the equipper of the contemporary church for the task of missions and evangelism. His most recent books and articles have dealt with spirituality as a journey and the pilgrimage which strives for union with Christ.
One of the church’s most important and provocative thinkers. Voted ‘One of the 50 Most Influential Christians in America” (2006, 2007) No church leader understands better how to navigate the seas of the 21st century. A writer of vast imagination, poise and charm. ‘I can’t imagine a Christian leader in America who hasn’t read one or more of Leonard Sweet’s books. ‘Some statistician-types will drown you in doom and gloom. Sweet’s message is uplifting, hopeful and relevant.’
These are but a sampling of responses to Len’s three-ring mission: as a historian of American culture; as a futurist/semiotician who “sees things the rest of us do not see, and dreams possibilities that are beyond most of our imagining;” and as a preacher and writer who communicates the gospel powerfully to a postmodem age by bridging the worlds of academe and popular culture.
Currently the E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism at Drew University, Madison, NJ and a Visiting Distinguished Professor at George Fox University, Portland, Oregon, Len has been Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the Theological School at Drew University for five years, Previous to Drew Len served for eleven years as President and Professor of Church History at United Theological Seminary, Dayton, Ohio. Prior to 1985, Len was Provost of Colgate Rochester/Bexley Hall/Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, New York. Involved in leadership positions in the United Methodist Church, Len has been chosen to speak at various Jurisdictional and General Conferences as well as the 1996 World Methodist Congress in Rio de Janeiro. He also serves as a consultant to many of America’s denominational leaders and agencies. He is a member of the West Virginia Annual Conference.
Author of more than one hundred articles, over six hundred published sermons, and dozens of books, Len is the primary contributor (along with his wife Karen Elizabeth Rennie) to the web-based preaching resource, http://www.preachingplus.com. For nine years he and his wife wrote Homiletics, which became under their watch the premier preaching resource in North America. His best-selling book FaithQuakes (1994), selected as one of the “10 best religion books” and “10 must-read books” of 1994 has been succeeded by a new best-seller SoulTsunami: Sink or Swim in New Millennium Culture (1999).
Soul Tsunami was the first in a trilogy of third millennium resources to help leaders come to terms with postmodern culture. The second installment on how to “do church,” AquaChurch, was published in 1999. How to “do life” is the focus of the third volume, SoulSalsa: 17 Surprising Steps to Godly Living, which hit the bookstores in 2000 at the same time an original theme song for the book “Soul Salsa” hit the charts (you had to be age six to like it). Each book in Len’s postmodern trilogy has its own website and multi-medial components, some of which have already received national awards. One was even nominated for a Grammy.
In 2000 two more books appeared. Postmodern Pilgrims, and the first religion e-book on Amazon.com written as an e-book, The Dawn Mistaken for Dusk: If God So Loved the World, Why Can’t We? The e-book came out in an expanded hardback version in the summer of 2001 under the title Carpe Manana: Is Your Church Ready to Seize Tomorrow? In the past two years, five books have been published: “A” is for Abductive: the Language of the Emerging Church (with Brian McLaren and Jerry Haselmeyer); Jesus Drives Me Crazy: Lose Your Mind, Find Your Soul; The Church in the Emerging Culture (with Michael Horton, Erwin McManus, Frederica Mathewes-Green, Andy Crouch, and Brian McLaren), Summoned to Lead, and his two most recent books, Out of the Question . . . Into the Mystery: Getting Lost in the GodLife Relationship and The 3 Hardest Words in the World to Get Right. His a Web-based preaching resource PreachingPlus.com (in partnership with Group Publishing) was launched in February of 2001, and has now become Wikiletics.com, the first open-source preaching resource on the Web. His most current book is The Gospel According to Starbucks (2007).
Founder and President of SpiritVenture Ministries (SVM), in 1995 Len launched Sweet’s SoulCafe, a spirituality newsletter for postmoderns that was purchased by Broadman&Holman Publishing. Current projects include a biography of Phoebe Palmer in the American religion biography series, a textbook on preaching entitled Giving Blood, The Leadership Myth (with Joseph R. Myers), and Pay Attention: Every Bush is Burning. Len is also working on his first novel (A Postmodern Pilgrim’s Progress), and a multi-media leadership resource yet untitled.
Len has served a term on the council of the American Society of Church History, was an associate editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Religion for ten years, and is a member of numerous professional groups. An honors and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Richmond, he earned his Master of Divinity degree from Colgate Rochester Divinity School and Ph.D. from the University of Rochester. The recent recipient of honorary doctorates from the University of Richmond (Virginia), Baker University (Kansas), Otterbein College (Ohio), Coe College (Iowa), and Lebanon Valley College (Pennsylvania), Len has held distinguished lectureships at various colleges, universities and seminaries, and has presented academic papers before major professional societies. He is a frequent speaker at national conferences, state conventions, pastors’ schools, retreats, and a featured columnist for REV. magazine.
Len is increasingly being asked to lecture around the world, and has spoken in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Brazil, South Africa, Korea, Iceland, Scotland, etc…
Tricia McCary Rhodes
Tricia McCary Rhodes has served in full time Christian ministry for over 28 years. Since her teenage years, she has pursued an intimate connection with Christ, and she delights in helping others come to know Him through writing, speaking and personal ministry. Tricia’s first book, The Soul at Rest: a Journey into Contemplative Prayer, was a Gold Medallion finalist and has helped thousands develop their relationship with God by giving them the tools they need for quiet meditation and reflection. Since then she has written five other books, all with the goal of providing inspiration and practical helps for drawing others into the joy of walking with Jesus.
Sacred Chaos: Spiritual Disciplines for the Life You Have, is Tricia’s latest book. She originally set out to write about sacred space, dreaming of weekend retreats and long walks along the beach as she prepared. But God had a different idea and got her attention by sending her son, his wife and their two children to live with her for a season. They moved in the week she was to begin writing, and moved out the week she was to have finished. The result? SACRED CHAOS! Tricia says she learned through that crazy season how faithful God is, and how simple it can be to meet Him within the busy pockets of a life with no spaces at all. In Tricia’s Sacred Chaos blog, she shares her ongoing spiritual journey, with its ups and downs, its detours and u-turns, while offering practical tidbits as well. Join her there!
Tricia writes and ministers from her heart as a woman whom God has deeply touched with His grace. Her primary ministry is with her husband, Joe, senior pastor of New Hope Church, which they started together almost 24 years ago in San Diego, California. They have two sons, one of whom is married, and has blessed them with a wonderful daughter-in-law and three grandchildren. Tricia’s favorite ministry is overseeing New Hope’s 24-7 prayer room, a place to connect with God through art, poetry, graffiti, prayers, music, dance and worship.
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