About us

Rev. Dr. Ronald H. Carlson

Carlson-Ron IMG_1361-X2 FOR WEB American Baptist Home Mission Societies
P.O. Box 851
Valley Forge, Pa.  19482-0851

Work Phone: 800.222.3872, x2416
FAX: 610.768.2470
email: ronald.carlson@abhms.org

Envision, equip, empower and evangelize are four words I use to describe my ministry as missional church strategist with American Baptist Home Mission Societies [ABHMS],” says Ron Carlson. He was raised with a positive attitude toward church and Christian service, and says that he had faith early on and therefore responded to a call to ministry. Between working with campus ministries, church planting, community service and international ministries, he has learned to break out of limiting traditional molds in order to communicate the gospel more clearly to those who have yet to hear it.

Convinced that the church is called to evangelize and disciple, Carlson says, “I have used my gift of teaching to enable theological students, pastors, laity and church bodies to envision their purpose in the community, and to be equipped to minister. The gospel has many facets and I use my gift of preaching to relate biblical Good News to present-life contexts.”

Carlson believes that through extensive world travel, work with international students, and refugee resettlement he has learned that world mission is a two-way door through which the local church can be both recipient and donor. “Much can be learned and received from believers of other cultures,” Carlson says. He believes that we cannot ignore the call to participate in cross-cultural ministry and evangelism, both at home and also abroad.

Carlson is a member of a blended family. His wife, Zornitsa, is from Bulgaria. As a survivor of religious persecution, she is also dedicated to the church and to international ministry. Together they enjoy parenting, world travel, restoration of historic houses and the fine arts. They benefit from spending time in an urban center but also enjoy retreats to pastoral and wilderness settings. Besides this, Carlson also likes other outdoor activities, such as fishing, hunting and wilderness camping.


  • BA, Trinity College, Deerfield, Ill.
  • M.Div., Bethel Seminary, St. Paul, Minn.
  • D.Min., Bethel Seminary, St. Paul, Minn.


  • Associate professor of evangelism and church growth, Central Baptist Theological Seminary, Kansas City, Kan., 2000-2006
  • Peer group facilitator, trainer and workshop presenter, ABHMS’ Church Planters Institute, Green Lake, Wis., 2000-2004
  • Consulting interim pastor, First Baptist Church, Winona, Minn., 1998-2000
  • Interim pastor, Lakeside Baptist Church, Superior, Wis., 1998-1999
  • Resident attendant, Robert E. Miller Metro Services (private corporation providing community living in homes for developmentally disabled adults and others needing extensive assisted living), St. Paul, Minn., 1996-1999
  • Professor of evangelism and church development, North American Baptist Seminary, Sioux Falls, S.D., 1983-1995
  • Church planter and pastor, Grand Marais Evangelical Free Church, Grand Marais, Minn., 1975-1983


  • Joined ABHMS: Feb. 2006
  • Birthday: July 16


  • A missional church is a community of faith that directs its ministry focus primarily outward toward the context in which it is located and toward the broader world beyond. Missional churches recognize that they exist in a post denominational, post-Christendom world in which it is imperative for churches to “go into the world” of the unchurched.
  • ABHMS’ project “From Maintenance to Missional” is a two-year church leadership training process that includes workshops, training resources and coaching for churches and associations seeking to minister effectively in a post-Christendom world.
  • “Assessing the Real Mission Purpose of Our Church” helps a congregation look at its community as a potential field for missional outreach. This publication serves as a basis for missional vision casting and resource alignment. Three assessment tools help churches identify missional needs and potential within their contexts: (1) Conducting a Missional Fact-Finding Study; (2) A Church Comparative Study; and (3) A Missional Community Analysis.