Richard P. Olson, Ph.D.
Richard P. Olson
Distinguished Professor of Pastoral Theology
Richard P. “Dick” Olson has been the Distinguished Professor of Pastoral Theology at Central Seminary since 1998. He has been an adjunct professor at the seminary since 1987.
Prior to coming to Central, Dick served as a parish pastor for 40 years. In addition he has written or co‐authored 15 books, plus numerous book reviews, essays, leader’s guides, Sunday School Quarterlies, and articles.
After graduating from Sioux Falls College in 1956, Olson received his MDiv and STM from Andover Newton Theological School. He received a PhD in Social Ethics and Sociology of Religion from Boston University in 1972. He has taught at Holy Redeemer College, Sioux Falls College, College of Racine, and Carthage College. Dick served as pastor at churches in South Dakota, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Colorado, and Kansas. He also served as a short term lecturer in Sekolah Tinggi Teologia, Indonesia; Myanmar Institute of Theology; and Lisu Institute of Theology, Burma/Myanmar.
Dick has published books on a variety of topics. Some of his publications are: Laughter in a Time of Turmoil (Wipf and Stock, 2012), Love Letter to a Conflicted Church (Wipf and Stock, 2010), Ask Anything: A Pastoral Theology of Inquiry (Haworth, 2006), Families of the Future (Presbyterian Mariners, 1999), A Different Kind of Man (Judson Press, 1998), Midlife Journeys: A Traveler’s Guide (Pilgrim Press, 1996) PrivilegedConversations: Dramatic Stories for Christmas (United Church Press, 1996), A New Day for Family Ministry (Alban Institute, 1996), Discoveries: Expanding Your Child’s Vocational Horizons (United Church Press, 1995) and Ministry with Families in Flux (Westminster/John Knox, 1990). He has written numerous articles in Baptist Leader on changing male roles, life stages, family life, and church’s ministry with changing families.
Dick and his wife Mary Ann will celebrate their 55th anniversary in June 2012. They have three married daughters and six grandchildren. Dick enjoys sports, both spectator and participating, and especially enjoys playing tennis. Dick and Mary Ann enjoy a variety of arts events.
Dick’s professional experience has been varied. He has taught homiletics, ethics, pastoral counseling, spiritual formation for Christian Ministry, storytelling and pastoral administration. Formerly, he was life/career planning counselor, a volunteer counselor in an addiction center and divorce court, and a pastoral care specialist in the areas of pre‐marriage preparation, divorce and remarriage, job placement and grief recovery. He is a Fellow of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, a member of the Society of Christian Ethics, a member of the Society for Pastoral Theology, and a member of the American Baptist Minister’s Council and ordained by the American Baptist Churches USA.