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Mark Lau Branson

Homer L. Goddard Senior Professor of the Ministry of the Laity

As senior faculty at Fuller, this professor primarily mentors students and only occasionally, if ever, teaches courses.

BA, Wichita State University
MA, School of Theology at Claremont
EdD, University of San Francisco

Courses Taught

CF526: The Congregation as a Learning Community
GM506: Foundations for Ministry
PM514: Missional Churches and Leadership
PM849: Learning Communities: Practical Theology and Christian Education
PM856: Practical Theology Methods
TC501: American Culture: Social Location and the Gospel
CF531: Christian Education and Ethnic Diversity
OD7xx: DMin Cohort in Missional Leadership
OD7xx: DMin Cohort in Latino Missional Leadership
TM507: Churches & Ethnicities

Campus Affiliations

Center for Advanced Theological Studies
Center for Missiological Research

Areas of Expertise

Congregational life and community engagement, congregational revisioning and transformation, leadership development, intercultural studies, urban churches, missional ecclesiology, practical theology

Current Research

Branson’s research and consulting focuses on congregational life and community engagement with focused attention on the unraveling of societies and institutions and our vocation of discerning God's initiatives in the local.

“The church is the primary means through which God loves the world . . . continuing to watch and listen as the Holy Spirit shapes men and women to engage this changing American environment as a mission field.”


Mark Lau Branson, reflecting on church planting with a variety of voices from the Fuller community.


Mark Lau Branson is the Homer L. Goddard Senior Professor of the Ministry of the Laity and has taught at Fuller since 2000. As a senior professor, his work focuses on PhD students.

Dr. Branson was ordained at San Francisco Christian Center, an African American Pentecostal church, and has served on the pastoral teams in United Methodist and Presbyterian churches. He has worked with several agencies active in education, community development, and community organizing, and continues to serve as a consultant and speaker. His most recent books are Leadership, God’s Agency, & Disruptions: Confronting Modernity’s Wager, coauthored with Alan Roxburgh (2021), Churches, Cultures, and Leadership: A Practical Theology of Congregations and Ethnicities, coauthored with Juan Martínez (2023), Memories, Hopes, and Conversations: Appreciative Inquiry, Missional Engagement, and Congregational Change (2016), and Starting Missional Churches: Life with God in the Neighborhood, coedited with Nicholas Warnes (2014). Branson has also contributed chapters to books, including “Gratitude as Access to Meaning” in The Three Tasks of Leadership (2009), “Ecclesiology and Leadership for the Missional Church,” in The Missional Church in Context: Helping Congregations Develop Contextual Ministry (2007), “Forming God’s People” in Leadership in Congregations (2007), and “Religious Leaders and Social Change” in Religious Leadership: A Reference Handbook (2013). He has published articles in the Journal of Religious Leadership and the Encyclopedia of Christian Education (2015). He is on the editorial board of the Journal of Missional Practice.

Branson is on the national Advisory Board of the nonprofit CHERP Solar Power, and has served on the boards of the Institute of Urban Initiatives, the Ekklesia Project, and the Academy of Religious Leadership. He is a senior consultant with the Missional Network. Mark and his wife, Nina Lau-Branson, are active at La Fuente Ministries, a bi-lingual, multicultural church in Pasadena; they have two adult sons.

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