Dr. Richard “Rick” Marrs is the director of the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) and Residential Alternate Route (RAR) Programs and associate professor of Practical Theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.
Marrs was called to the faculty in the fall of 2006. He previously served as the dean of faculty (2010–13) and director of Continuing Education and Parish Services (2007–09).
His areas of interest and expertise include pastoral care and counseling, Christian counseling and Christian reconciliation.
Before coming to the Seminary, he served at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Junction City, Kan. (2000–06), first as a vicar and then as a pastor. He was a professor of psychology and a counselor at St. John’s College in Winfield, Kan. (1983–86; admissions counselor 1982–83), and at Concordia University Chicago, River Forest, Ill. (1986–98). He also has done counseling, clinical and consulting work with Lutheran Child and Family Services; the Baldwin Center for Psychological Services; the Center for Applied Psychology and Forensic Studies; the Kansas State University counseling center; Rapha (a Christian inpatient psychiatric group); Concordia University, Ann Arbor, Mich.; Lutheran Special Education Ministries; and various districts of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS).
Marrs received certification for pastoral ministry through the Seminary’s RAR Program (2001) and earned his M.Div. (2008) both from Concordia Seminary. He also holds an associate degree from St. John’s College (1978); a bachelor’s degree from Concordia University Chicago, River Forest, Ill. (1980); a master’s degree in counseling from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan. (1985); and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in counseling psychology from Loyola University Chicago in Chicago, Ill. (1994).
In 2019, Marrs published the book Making Christian Counseling More Christ Centered, which focuses on the relevance of Luther’s soul-care theology in Christian counseling (WestBow Press). He continues and expands that discussion in a blog series on Concordia Theology. He and Seminary Emeritus Professor Dr. Robert Kolb also are co-authoring an article about Lutheran contributions to the theology of Christian psychology.
Marrs contributed the new introduction to the reprint of Walter J. Koehler’s book Counseling and Confession: The Role of Confession and Absolution in Pastoral Counseling (Concordia Publishing House, 1982, 2011). He has authored numerous Bible studies, articles and training programs for the LCMS. He also co-authored The Lesson Organizer Routine, a special education learning strategy trainer, for the University of Kansas’ Edge Enterprises, which has sold more than 20,000 copies.
Marrs is married to Laura, who operates her own professional organizing business. They have two adult daughters, two sons-in-law and four grandchildren. Marrs coached the Seminary’s varsity tennis team from 2007–16 and still enjoys playing tennis. He also competes nationally in stair-climb races.
Pastoral care and counseling