Douglas Petersen


Margaret S. Smith Professor of World Missions and Intercultural Studies

Areas of Specialization: Ethics, World Missions, and Intercultural Studies.

Education: Diploma, Northwest Bible College; B.A., Southern California College; M.A., Pepperdine University; Ph.D., Oxford Centre for Mission Studies in Oxford, England.

Doug Petersen is the Margaret S Smith Distinguished Professor of World Mission and Intercultural Studies and a director of the Judkins Institute for Leadership at Vanguard University.

In 1977 Petersen co-founded Latin America ChildCare (LACC), a faith-based network of elementary and secondary schools, and served as its International Coordinator and President for 23 years. During his tenure, LACC expanded to 22 countries in Latin American and the Caribbean providing education, food, and medical assistance to 100,000 impoverished children in 300 schools. He built a vibrant fundraising arm that included 15,000 monthly donors. Doug is the founder of CINCEL (the Assemblies of God Language School and Research Center) in San José, Costa Rica. Together with a missionary colleague, Petersen planted the Centro Evangelístico in San José, now a congregation of 7,000. Professor Petersen was a recipient of Vanguard University’s “Alumnus of the Year” in 2005.

With more than 30 years of leadership responsibilities in non-profit and higher education organizations in Latin America and the United States, Professor Petersen is an experienced practitioner and research scholar in the development and operation of faith-based community programs, especially those focusing on children at-risk. Petersen has published extensively on the social practices of grassroots religious groups. His book, Not by Might, Nor by Power: A Pentecostal Theology of Social Concern, was selected among the Outstanding Books of the Decade 1990-2000 by the International Bulletin of Mission Research. In addition to his books, Petersen has published numerous scholarly journal articles and authored book chapters and popular pieces on ethics, politics, and Pentecostalism. Professor Petersen serves on the Advisory Board of the Values Institute @ DGWB and is a member of the editorial boards of Pneuma: The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies and the Evangelical Review of Society and Politics: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Christian Analysis of Social and Political Issues.

Professor Petersen holds a Ph.D. in Social Theology from the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, in Oxford, England. He earned an M.A. in New Testament Studies from Pepperdine University and a B.A. in Religion from Vanguard University. He also received a diploma in Ministerial Studies from Northwest Bible College, Edmonton, Canada.

In his spare time, Professor Petersen is a sports fan and enjoys reading and coin collecting. The Petersen’s reside in Laguna Hills, CA., are the parents of three grown children, and grandparents to Lily, Maya, Christian, Wyatt, and Paige.

Religion Faculty Published Work
Judkins Institute for Leadership Studies