Richard W. Marrs

Dr. Rick Marrs was called to the Concordia Seminary faculty in the fall of 2006. His primary role here is to teach courses in pastoral counseling. He also serves as Director of the M.Div and RAR programs (sine July 2013). Prior to that he was dean of faculty (2010-13) and director of continuing education and parish services from 2007 to 2009. Prior to coming to Concordia Seminary, he served at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Junction City, Kansas (first as vicar, then as pastor) from 2000-2006. His prior experience includes being a professor of psychology and counselor at both St. John’s College in Winfield (1983-86; admissions counselor 1982-83) and Concordia University (River Forest, now Chicago) from 1986-98. At Concordia University Chicago he directed one of the master’s degree programs in counseling. He has also done counseling, clinical and/or consulting work with Lutheran Child and Family Services, the Baldwin Center for Psychological Services, the Center for Applied Psychology and Forensic Studies, Kansas State  University Counseling Center (doctoral intern and instructor, 1990-91), Rapha (a Christian inpatient psychiatric group), Concordia University Ann Arbor’s Admissions Office, and Lutheran Special Education Services. From 1998 to 2000 he was an alternate route student at Concordia Seminary. He completed his M.Div. in 2008.

Dr. Marrs graduated from St. John’s College, Winfield, Kan. (A.A. 1978) and Concordia University Chicago, Ill. (B.A. 1980). In addition, he has a Master’s degree in Counseling from the University of Kansas (1985) and a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology (APA approved program) from Loyola University of Chicago (1994). He is a licensed clinical psychologist in Illinois with about 7000+ hours of clinical/counseling experience prior to his pastoral experience. He is married and he and his wife have two adult daughters, a son-in-law, a son-in-law-to-be and a beautiful granddaughter. His wife Laura works as head of research services at Concordia Historical Institute.

Dr. Marrs enjoys playing competitive tennis, table tennis, and is a nationally-ranked stair climb racer. He is the coach for the Seminary’s varsity tennis team. He grew up on a sheep/wheat farm outside Arkansas City, Kansas.



  • Director of Master of Divinity/Alternate Route Program
  • Associate Professor of Practical Theology


  • A.A., St. John’s College, Winfield, Kan.
  • B.A., Concordia University – Chicago, Chicago, Ill.
  • M.S.Ed (Counseling) University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kan.
  • Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, Loyola University of Chicago, Chicago, Ill.
  • Alternate Route Certification, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo.
  • M.Div., Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo.

Contact Information:

Concordia Seminary
801 Seminary Place
St. Louis, MO 63105
Office phone:  314-505-7487


In his previous college teaching experiences Dr. Marrs taught a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate courses, including Interface between Psychology and Theology, Counseling Courses, Research, Statistics & Assessment Classes, Personality theory, Educational Psychology, Career Counseling, Introductory Psychology, Developmental Psychology, etc.


  • Current book project entitled Making Christian Counseling More Christ-Centered which will attempt to teach the relevance of a Lutheran Law/Gospel dynamic in Christian counseling. Blogs about this book’s progress are available at
  • Lenz, B.K., Marrs, R.W., Schumaker, J.B. & Deschler, D.D. (1993).  The Lesson Organizer Routine (A special education learning strategy trainer that has sold more than 20,000 copies).

Major Psychology Article:

  • Marrs, R.W.  (1995). A Meta-Analysis of Bibliotherapy Studies, American Journal of Community Psychology, 23, 843-870. (based on dissertation, article cited in The Encyclopedia of Psychology (2000), Volume 5, p. 372)

Other publications:

  • Marrs, R.W. (2010). New Introduction to the reprint of Walter J. Koehler’s book (1982) Counseling and Confession: The Role of Confession and Absolution in Pastoral Counseling. Originally published by Concordia Publishing House; Reprint published by Concordia Seminary Press.
  • Marrs, R.W. (2010, February). Conserving Relationships: Faithful & Afire LCMS Circuit Bible Studies 2009-2010. A Bible study on the importance of building and maintaining pastoral relationships; available on the LCMS website.  Invited publication
  • Marrs, R.W. (2009, Summer). What Does God Want Me to be When I’m an Adult? Higher Things Magazine, pp. 10-11. Invited publication.
  • Marrs, R.W. (2008, Winter). What Does a Congregation’s Call and Promise of Supporting a Church Worker Mean? Issues in Christian Education, 23, pp. 18-25. Invited publication. Issues Winter 2008, Vol. 42, No. 3 Called Church Workers: Do We Know How To Nurture?
  • Marrs, R.W. (2007, 2009). Homiletical Helps on various texts. Concordia Journal (A publication of the faculty of Concordia Seminary).
  • Marrs, R.W. & Castele, R. (1997) How Christ-Centered is Christian Counseling? The Use of the Law/Gospel Framework in Counseling Christians. Poster presented at the World Conference of the American Association of Christian Counseling, then an invited publication in 2000 in The Journal of Christian Counselling (England).
  • Marrs, R.W. (1997). Jet Streams and Favorite Songs: The Use of Contemporary Analogies to Communicate the Gospel.  InFOCUS: A Publication of the Concordia University System, 2, 14-16.
  • Marrs, R.W. (1997). Christian Counseling: What it is, What it is not, and What Lutheranism can Contribute.  Lutheran Education, 133, 86-95.

Professional Presentations (partial list):

  • Making Christian Counseling more Christ-Centered. Presentation at the AACC (American Association of Christian Counselors) World Conference, September 2009, attended by about 260.  Also presented at the AACC West National Conference, October 2008.
  • That Provocative Sixth Commandment: Pastoral Care in a Sexualized Culture. Keynote Presenter at Tri-Circuit Pastors Meeting for Southeastern Missouri, May 2011.
  • We are HIS Workmanship.  Keynote Presenter for the National New Year’s Gathering of Ongoing Ambassadors for Christ in Quincy, IL, December 2010
  • Be Strong and of Good Courage. Weekend Leader of a Men’s Retreat at Camp Wartburg, IL, January 2010.
  • Peacemaking in the Parish – Presented for the Lay Bible Institute at Concordia Seminary (October 2007) and at numerous times for various church groups.
  • Regular guest speaker on KFUO Radio programs since 2007 (Morning Program, Ask the Pastor, Afternoon Program) on a wide variety of theological topics.
  • Working with Wiccans.  Presentation to the Kansas District LCMS Professional Workers Conference, October 2005
  • Pastor, You were a Psychologist!  What should I do with my kids?  Presentation to the Kansas District LCMS Teachers Conference, October 2002 (Emphasized Biblical and Large Catechism teachings about the importance of the Commandment “Honor your Father and Mother” Presentation now renamed Toward a Hidden Majesty: The Importance of the 4th Commandment in Family Life).
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