John Ortberg, Jr. (born May 5, 1957, Rockford, Illinois) is an evangelical Christian author, speaker, and senior pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in Menlo Park, California, an evangelical church with more than 4,000 members. Ortberg has published many books including the 2008 ECPA Christian Book Award winner When the Game is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box, and the 2002 Christianity Today Book Award winner If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat. Another of his publications, The Life You've Always Wanted, has sold more than 500,000 copies as of 2008.
Ortberg earned his undergraduate degree from Wheaton College, and his M.Div. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Fuller Theological Seminary. He has also studied at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. From 1985 to 1990 he served as senior pastor at Simi Valley Community Church, and then from 1990 to 1994 at Horizons Community Church. He then moved from California to Illinois to serve as a teaching pastor at Willow Creek Community Church until 2003, when he assumed his current role at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, a multi-campus church in Northern California.
A central theme of his teaching and books is spiritual formation, the transforming of human character through authentic experiences with God. Ortberg argues that the desire for comfort and security often stands in the way of an authentic relationship with God ... when people place too high a value on being secure and comfortable they may be reluctant to make the sacrifices God asks of them.
Ortberg has warned against the societal pressures which tell people that bigger is always better, saying "I think for all of us, whatever your ministry or job, bigness will never satisfy the call." In his books he has described his own desire for importance and success, and how achieving them did not ultimately bring him happiness. "Your cravings," according to Orberg, "if you could get to the bottom of them, are for the eternal."