David J. Peter

David Peter was born in Grand Island, Neb., and was baptized into the Christian faith. He attended Lutheran grade school and graduated from the public high school in Grand Island. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with the degree of Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude (majors: Greek, Integrated Studies).  He was a finalist in the national Rhodes Scholar competition. Following a year of graduate study at the University of Chicago (history and classics), Dr. Peter matriculated at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo., receiving the M.Div. degree in 1987. In 1999 he received the Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Ill.

Dr. Peter served as visiting instructor of theology at Concordia College, Seward, Neb., 1987-88. In 1988 he was called to be assistant (later associate) pastor at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Peoria, Ill. He was called as senior pastor in 1995. In 1998 he accepted the call to Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo., and serves as associate professor of practical theology, director of the Doctor of Ministry program, and chairman of the Department of Practical Theology. As director of the D.Min. Program, Dr. Peter plans and schedules professional doctoral courses and administrates the program. He counsels and directs doctoral students in their studies. He has taught courses in homiletics (preaching), pastoral ministry, pastoral leadership, parish administration, New Testament exegesis, and Old Testament survey at the following levels: pre-seminary, Master of Divinity, distance programs (certification), and doctoral. Dr. Peter also assists in the placement process of Concordia Seminary, and for three years served as the acting director of placement.

Dr. Peter’s primary focus is on the dynamics of pastoral leadership in different sizes of congregations. He has a special interest in helping pastors and lay leaders of mid-size congregations (average weekend worship attendance of 150 to 400) to engage in the challenges and opportunities distinctive to that size. Dr. Peter has been granted a sabbatical for 2011-2012 during which he will work on a book on this subject. He is interested in helping the organizational structures of congregations and their strategic direction become more missional while remaining faithful to the Gospel. He also is concerned about good preaching, especially that which demonstrates the characteristics of solid biblical exposition. Dr. Peter has published a Lenten worship resource (sermons and worship materials) through Concordia Publishing House, Bible study resources for congregations through The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, and several sermons and devotional resources through Creative Communications for the Parish.  He has published articles in Concordia Journal, Concordia Pulpit Resources, The Servant, and Issues in Christian Education.

Beyond the immediate responsibilities of his call at Concordia Seminary, Dr. Peter speaks occasionally at pastor and lay conferences and retreats. He has served as vacancy or sabbatical pastor at three congregations in the St. Louis area: one urban, one suburban, and one small town. Currently he serves as vacancy pastor at St. John Lutheran Church, St. James, Mo. Dr. Peter enjoys gardening, landscaping, and home improvement. He regularly jogs and occasionally plays tennis. He plays the piano. He enjoys recreational hiking, camping, and snow skiing. He lives in Kirkwood, Mo., with his wife Tonya and two sons, Ethan and Benjamin.


  • Counselor, Placement Services
  • Chairman of the Department of Practical Theology
  • Associate Professor of Practical Theology


  • B.A., University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Neb.
  • M.Div., Concordia Seminary, St. Louis Mo.
  • D.Min., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Ill.

Contact Information:

Concordia Seminary
801 Seminary Pl.
St. Louis, MO 63105
Office phone:  314-505-7101
Email:  peterd@csl.edu


Conference Topics

  • “Help for the Mid-Size Church”
  • “Practical Pastoral Leadership”
  • “Lay Leadership Team Formation”
  •  “In One Accord” – Team Ministry Retreat
  • “The Military Chaplain as Leader: Integrating Leadership in the Roles of Soldier and Pastor”
  • “Christ Our Passover” – Pre-Lent Retreat
  • “Names of the Promise” – Pre-Advent Retreat

Links to Resources

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