Alex Bryan

Alex Bryan (1970?-) graduated from Southern Adventist University (then Southern College) in 1993 with majors in history and religion. He then earned his Master of Divinity from Andrews University in 1996, and his doctoral degree in ministry from George Fox University in 2009 (Leadership in the Emerging Culture, Doctor of Ministry track; Lead mentor: Dr. Leonard Sweet). His dissertation was entitled "The Role of Human Emotion in Christian Discipleship." He serves as co-chair and presenter for the One Project, a movement celebrating the supremacy of Jesus Christ in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.


In an article in the Feb. 20, 1997, Adventist Review, Alex Bryan credits many of his ideas to leadership seminars he attended at Willow Creek Community Church. He began his ministry at the New Community Fellowship in Atlanta, Georgia, during 1996. It was a Generation-X-targeted church sponsored by the Georgia-Cumberland Conference and a member of the Willow Creek Association.

At first, his group held church services on Sabbath and Sunday mornings. Shortly after starting his new type of church, Bryan decided that, instead of holding his church worship services on Saturday,—he would switch them to Sunday morning.

But, after this had continued for a time, Georgia Cumberland Conference officials suggested that Alex had better change back to Sabbath meetings. This went on for a number of months; but, ultimately, when he kept refusing to abandon Sunday morning church services,—Bryan was fired .

In 2002, he resigned from the conference, and switched his church over to Sunday-only services.

However, Alex recognized that it was coming; and, so, he prepared his congregation for the event. (The conference made the mistake of not getting rid of him before he won over his church members.) The liberal Adventists in the Atlanta area had initially flocked to his church out of curiosity, but many had become enchanted by the high excitement and loud entertainment they experienced there. So Bryan carefully transferred their loyalties from the denomination to himself. When he was finally discharged from the ministry, he took all of his members—about 70—with him. Alex’s church, located in a northern suburb of Greater Atlanta, was then called The New Community Church of Roswell.

Bryan remained a Sunday-keeping independent for five years until 2007. Bryan then rejoined our denomination December 1, leaving the Sunday­keeping group with his brother, David, to pastor. Since then it has faded out of existence.

Bryan and his wife, Nicole, came under increasing conviction to reconnect with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. In October 2007 the Executive Committee of the Georgia-Cumberland Conference offered Bryan renewed employment. Bryan then served as Pastor for Mission and Ministry on the staff of the Collegedale Church from early December, 2007.

In March 2009, Alex obtained a Doctor of Ministry degree (The Role of Human Emotion in Christian Discipleship) at George Fox University under the direction of Leonard Sweet. Bryan was hired by Southern Adventist University, and Bryan invited Sweet speak to the student body, and separately to the faculty. (Bryan said he did it “to indoctrinate them.”)

Bryan served as senior pastor of the Walla Walla University Church from 2009 to june 2013. In 2013 he was named president of Kettering College of Medical Arts in Kettering, Ohio.  Bryan returned to Walla Walla University to serve as the church’s senior pastor in 2014 Walla Walla Church’s search Committee had extended an invitation to Sam Leonor at La Sierra, but had been turned down.

In summer 2019 Alex  began working as administrative director for Adventist Health, the denomination’s health care organization for the two union conferences on the U.S. west coast, based in Roseville, California.



  • There was some controversy about the president candidacy of Dr. Alex Bryan to the Walla Walla University. Here is the Response to the letter.
  • Alex Bryan’s blog page, August 7, 2007, shows his “Must Reads” page:

  • Alex Bryan's dissertation in March 2009 was entitled "The Role of Human Emotion in Christian Discipleship." Here is a list of selected emergent and contemplative books among the bibliography:

    • The Forgotten Ways: Reactivating the Missional Church, by Alan Hirsch
    • They Like Jesus but Not the Church: Insights from Emerging Generations, by Dan Kimball
    • Unchristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity ... and Why It Matters, by David Kinnamen
    • Abba's Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging, by Brennan Manning
    • Here and Now: Living in the Spirit, by Henri Nouwen
    • The Life You've Always Wanted: Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People, by John Ortberg
    • The Message, The Bible in Contemporary Language, by Eugene H. Peterson
    • Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places: A Conversation in Spiritual Theology, by Eugene H. Peterson
    • The Jesus Way: A Conversation in the Way Jesus is the Way, by Eugene H. Peterson
    • Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer, by Richard Rohr
    • The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective, by Richard Rohr
    • Summoned to Lead, by Leonard Sweet
    • The Gospel According to Starbucks: Living With a Grande Passion, by Leonard Sweet
    • 11: Indispensible Relationships You Can't Be Without, by Leonard Sweet
    • The Spirit of Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives, by Dallas Willard
    • The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering the Our Hidden Life With God, by Dallas Willard
    • Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ, by Dallas Willard
    • The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus's Essential Teachings on Discipleship, by Dallas Willard
    • Jesus and the Victory of God, by N. T. Wright
    • The Challenge of Jesus, by N. T. Wright

Alex Bryan’s blog page, March, 2010, shows his “Good Places & People", among them are:

From Lead

Bible Studies Conversations with Alex Bryan

Necessary Background/Further Resources (Of the 39 books listed, almost 90% are in the emerging/spiritually category - and only one is written by adventist):

10.03.2009 A New Order of Connecting

  • They Like Jesus but Not the Church, by Dan Kimball
  • Unchristian, What a New generation Really Thinks about Christianity? and Why It Matters by David Kinnamen (president of Barna Group)
  • Aquachurch, 2.0, by Leonard Sweet

10.10.2009 Preparing People

10.17.2009 Worship and Dedication

  • The Irrestible Revolution, by Shane Clairborne
  • Same Kind of Different as Me, by Ron Hall and Denver Moore (social)
  • The Jesus Creed, by Scot McKnight

10.24.2009 Trumpet, Blood, Cloud and Fire

10.31.2009 From Complaints to Apostacy

  • The Winning Attitude, by John C. Maxwell
  • The Art of Possibility, by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander (conductor)
  • Generation Me, by Jean M. Twenge (psychologist and social commentator)

11.07.2009 Planning Ahead

11.14.2009 Power Struggle

  • The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse, by David Johnson and Jeff VanVonderen
  • A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, by Eugene Peterson
  • Relational Holiness, by Thomas Jay Oord and Michael Lodahl (Nazarenes)

11.21.2009 Priests and Levites

  • What are Spiritual Gifts? Rethinking the Conventional View, by Kenneth Berding
  • Simply Put: What God's Been Saying All Along, by Loron Wade (adventist)
  • Let Your Life Speak, by Parker Palmer

11.28.2009 The Sin of Moses and Aron

12.05.2009 The "Madness" of the Prophet

  • The Challenge of the Disciplined Life, by Richard Foster
  • Money, by Bob Russel

12.12.2009 Immorality on the Border

12.19.2009 The Second Generation: Admonitions

  • Loving God, by Charles Colson (Prison Fellowship)
  • God Is Closer Than You Think, by John Ortberg
  • God Wants to Save Christians, by Rob Bell

12.26.2009 Cities of Refuge

  • The Ragamuffin Gospel, by Brennan Manning
  • Lion and Lamb, by Brennan Manning
  • The Signature of Jesus, by Brennan Manning
  • Building Strong Congregations, by Bruce Wrenn (marketing), Philip Kotler (marketing management) and Norman Shawchuck (author in the religion, meditation og self-improvement category)


HUB online resource center for preaching, September 2011

ALEX BRYAN, senior pastor, Walla Walla University Church recommends this (Complete) list on "Others' sermons, papers, blogs":


On May 24, 2014, the WWU community experienced a very remarkable church service. Alex Bryan, co-founder of the One Project, preached about prayer and he requested that all the lights should be turned off during his sermon. In complete darkness he repeated many times: "Close your eyes when you pray." He further explained: "because in the darkness you shall see even more clearly." He stressed the value of darkness as a necessity to communicate with God, evidently inspired by a 14th Century mystical source The Cloud of Unknowing, edited by Emilie Griffin. In this apparently, rather nicely presented sermon, there was, however, a mixture of truth and error. Amidst Bible texts about clouds, darkness, and night, Bryan quoted from this Catholic source of discipline of contemplative prayer. He quoted the following passage:

"This darkness and cloud is always between you and God, no matter what you do, and it prevents you from seeing him clearly by the light of your reason and from experiencing him in sweetness of love in your affection. So set yourself to rest in this darkness as long as you can, always crying out after him whom you love. For if you are to experience him or to see him at all, insofar as it is possible here, it must always be in this cloud and in this darkness"(p. 15).   [This quote seems to be the intended highlight of the sermon.  It starts at 29:00 and is the only qoute presented on the screen.]

Video can be found at Carl McColman on The Cloud of Unknowing: "Anonymously written around the year 1375, The Cloud of Unknowing — a lucid and deceptively simple manual on contemplative spirituality — offers a fascinating glimpse into the practical side of medieval mysticism… The Cloud’s author advocates contemplation: prayer steeped not in language or the imagination, but in cultivated inner silence… One remarkable feature of The Cloud of Unknowing is that it advocates the use of a single-syllable ‘prayer word’ to effectively discipline the mind and to keep it focused while the heart attempts to grow in its supramental task of loving God. This spiritual exercise involves repeating a short word like ‘God’ or ‘love’ repeatedly, in order to help surrender all extraneous thoughts and seek the place of inner silence, where one may ‘be still and know’ the God who is lavish love. This practice of using a prayer word has been adapted in our own day by the monks who developed the method of centering prayer, a form of meditation which again relies on the repeated single-syllable word as a tool of ‘centering’ or allowing the mind and body to come to a place of resting in the Divine presence… In the eyes of God, we are already mystics and contemplatives. All we have to do, now, is to learn how to simply allow that to unfold. Even within the mysterious mists of the cloud of unknowing." [During a meeting with the Western Australia Conference and its pastoral team summer 2014,] Alex Bryan was questioned over the video of a sermon he preached that went viral - Bryan had preached the sermon in total darkness. The assertion was that Bryan was teaching that one could find God by isolating oneself from the world - entering darkness. Bryan explained that he darkened the hall during that sermon to emphasize how how the simple act of closing one's eyes (and "entering" darkness) immediately cuts off distractions that we are bombarded with, and for some, helps to better focus attention on God. In short, the darkness was used as an object lesson and the point of the sermon was that we can experience God better without distractions. Bryan denied that the sermon was intended to promote some kind of mystic theology and even went as far as to deny the "contemplative spirituality" charges so often made against him.

Pages directing here: