Glenn A. Nielsen

Dr. Glenn Nielsen was born in rural central Wisconsin (Neillsville) and spent his childhood on a farm. He and his parents moved to a nearby small town for his high school years (Pittsville). After one year at a Community College (Marshfield, Wis.), he transferred to Valparaiso University. After his B.A. in Theology, he attended Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, receiving his M.Div. in 1981 and his S.T.M. in 1987. His first call was to Immanuel Lutheran Church in St. Charles, Mo. (1982-1987). He returned to full time academic work at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., and received both an M.A. (1989) and Ph.D. (1993) in Communication Studies/Rhetoric. For his second and only other call, he returned to Concordia Seminary in 1990 as the director of vicarage and a member of the Practical Department. His administrative duties have also included acting director of resident field education for six months and acting director of the doctor of ministry program for over a year. In 2007 he also assumed responsibilities for the internship program for Deaconess Studies at Concordia Seminary.

While his various administrative duties occupy much of his time at Concordia Seminary, he has maintained a commitment to be involved in the parish ministry. During his time at Northwestern University and Concordia Seminary, he has regularly taught adult Bible classes and has preached about twice a month. Much of that parish activity has occurred at Grace Lutheran Chapel in Bellefontaine Neighbors, Mo., where he has assisted four different pastors over the course of 17 years. His involvement at Grace Chapel has also allowed him to make a few pastoral calls, conduct weddings and funerals, but only rarely attend an evening meeting.

Due to the increased responsibilities in the vicarage program with the addition of such programs as Deaconess Internships, DELTO and SMP vicars, and keeping tabs on vicars in the EIIT, CHS and CCMC programs, his teaching responsibilities have decreased. However, he continues to offer courses in both homiletics and communication skills, for both the M.Div. and Graduate School. His research interests focus on the intersection of the art of homiletics and the craft of communication theory and skill. Recent interest has particularly focused on the use of creative means by which the message proclaimed from God’s Word might be heard. Rather than seeing these communication skills as an accommodation to current cultural communication techniques, he has turned his attention to how God has created both the preacher and his hearers with a variety of senses and learning styles and what that means for the preaching task.

Outside of the Seminary and congregational responsibilities, he and his wife, Sue, have four grown children who all live in St. Louis, plus two grandchildren who regularly come and visit. He enjoys riding his bicycle for exercise and pitching for an intramural softball team in the spring. He is an avid fantasy baseball player, and roots for both the Cubs (having grown up in Wisconsin in a family of Cub fans) and the Cardinals (having lived in St. Louis area for most of the last 34 years with a family of Cardinal fans).


  • Director of Vicarage and Internship
  • Professor of Practical Theology


  • B.A., Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Ind.
  • M.Div., Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo.
  • S.T.M., Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo.
  • M.A., Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.
  • Ph.D., Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.

Contact information:

Concordia Seminary
801 Seminary Pl.
St. Louis, MO 63105
Office Phone:  314-505-7211


Most Recent Conference Topics:

  • Preaching in a Post-Modern World
  • Adding to the Box: Preaching in a Digital World of Screens and Text Messages


  • Concordia Journal: Book Reviews in January 1992; January 1993; April 1993; April 1993; January 1999; April 2002; January 2003


  • Remembering the Worshippers (January 1995)
  • Creating an Experience (January 1997)
  • No Longer Dinosaurs: The Relationship Between Lutheran Homiletics and Communication Practice (January 1999)
  • Preaching Doctrine in a Post Modern Age (January 2001)
  • Preaching in a Changed Public (January 2003)
  • Numerous Homiletic Helps (Most recent: April 2000; April 2001; July 2002; January 2005; January 2008; Winter 2010; Winter 2011)
  • Concordia Pulpit Resources
    • Book Reviews (Vols: 2-1; 4-4; 7-1; 20:2)
      • One article on Sermon delivery (3-1) and one on preaching in a series (6-3)
    • Sermons (10-2; 12-4; 17:4; 18:3; 19:2; 21:1)
  • Concordia Publishing House
    • Articles for the Life Light Bible Study on Miracles
    • Study Notes for Psalms 90-105 in the Lutheran Study Bible

Recommended Resources:

  • Recent texts I have found helpful are:
    • Bryan Chapell, Using Illustrations to Preach with Power (Crossways 2001) for the use of real life application stories and narrative.
    • Thomas Troeger and H. Edward Everding, Jr., So That All Might Know (Abingdon 2008) for the implications of learning styles and multiple intelligences on the preaching task.
    • Anything by Thomas Long – a skillful communicator who is able to summarize recent homiletical theory and practice in useful ways.
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