Founder and President, STEM Int’l

Roger Peterson

Rev. Roger Peterson is the Founder and President of STEM Int’l, an international short-term mission organization he incorporated in December 1984. The son of a pastor/minister and oldest of seven children, Roger was born in Illinois and grew up in Nebraska and Iowa before moving to Minnesota. In early school years he served as Student Body President of both his Junior and Senior High Schools.

Converge Worldwide: In addition to his duties at STEM, on August 1st, 2013, Roger also became the Director of International Ministries Partnerships for Converge Worldwide, Orlando Florida. Roger’s family and the entire STEM operations will re-locate to the Orlando area during Fall 2013.

the music motif

Roger began playing piano at age 4 and continued with keyboard studies until age 21. From 1970–1980 he performed as multi-keyboardist with four regional rock bands including ASI Records’ Archangel. Roger was also the auxiliary keyboard player several years for the Diana Pierce (popular 1990s Minneapolis T.V. news anchor) Good News Christmas Band.

He served as pianist/keyboardist 2007–2010 at “Discover Church” in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, preparing and playing three worship services every Sunday morning. Since 2011, Roger and his family have been attending Edinbrook Church (Brooklyn Park, Minnesota), where Roger plays two services twice each month as keyboard player.

Roger is also an accomplished and published composer of pipe organ, piano, worship band, and even kids’ church choir music.

education & credentials

Roger has earned the following formal degrees:

  • A.A. from Iowa Central Community College — Ft. Dodge, Iowa
  • B.A. in Organizational Leadership from Bethel University — St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Mini MBA for Nonprofit Organizations from the Center for Business Excellence, University of St. Thomas — St. Paul/Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • M.A. in Intercultural Leadership from Bethany Global University — Bloomington, Minnesota 

He has also earned Diplomas in:

  • Radio/TV Broadcasting from Brown College — Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • OT/NT Biblical Studies from Village Schools of the Bible — Dassel, Minnesota. 

Roger has completed additional undergraduate work in Christian Missions (1 course) at Trinity International University, Deerfield, Illinois; and additional graduate work in World Missions/Intercultural Studies (6 courses) at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California.

Roger has been a fully licensed Minister of the Gospel under the International Ministerial Fellowship of Minneapolis, Minnesota, since 1990, and is a rostered and active Instructor for “Perspectives on the World Christian Movement” (lessons #5 Unleashing the Gospel and #9 The Task Remaining).

Near-Death Experience

Roger was a passenger on TWA Flight 841 in April 1979, which went out of control at 39,000 feet, making two complete barrel rolls and plunging over 34,000 feet in an accelerated nose-dive before making a miraculous recovery 44 seconds later. He has appeared four times on NBC/CBS network television regarding this incident, which was a major growth factor in his walk with Jesus Christ. This testimony appears in August 1980 Guideposts magazine and was also rewritten and used as an illustration in one of Roger’s books, Maximum Impact Short-Term Mission.

CBS’ 1-hour special, in which Roger and other actual passengers and crew portray themselves while re-enacting this true-life story, can be viewed here on YouTube.

STEM Int’l

Roger works to mobilize and increase mission activity among Christian churches in North America by having earlier organized STEM Int’l within four organizational divisions: STEM Ministries, STEM Share, STEM Training, and STEM Press. STEM Ministries and STEM Share were combined as STEM Ministries (only) and administered and managed through a 4-year licensing arrangement with Bethany International from September 2008 to December 2012.

STEM Ministries ceased to send short-term mission teams in December 2012, and now refers all short-term mission inquires to our long-standing partners at Orphanos.

STEM Training & Consulting empowers churches and other sending entities to achieve maximum impact in their short-term mission programs through industry-leading training events and consulting and speaking services.

STEM Press exists to extend God’s glory by publishing and distributing mission materials and resources that equip, support, and improve short-term mission efforts.

Roger has traveled in about 30 different nations, and has administrated, organized, trained, and/or led more than 450 short-term mission teams — representing more than 8,500 people — since his first short-term mission experience to Haiti in December 1980. He began his mission work in 1981 on a part-time basis while working full-time as a Registered Stockbroker. He became a full-time, faith-supported missions administrator in March 1985.

Writing & Speaking

Roger was the publisher of Mission Maker Magazine, a full-color, 100-page, 135,000 circulation mission magazine from 2005–2010. He is the co-author of Is Short-Term Mission Really Worth the Time and Money?, and of Can Short-Term Mission Really Create Career Missionaries?, and of Maximum Impact Short-Term Mission. Roger preaches and teaches domestically and internationally, and leads seminars and workshops related to short-term mission. He has written published articles on short-term mission for Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, the scholarly journal Missiology — An International Review, Mission Today, Mission Maker Magazine, Pulse, The Evangelical Missions Quarterly (EMQ), The Short-Term Mission Handbook, The Great Commission Handbook, The Christian College Handbook, and for other publishers.

Other Mission Involvement

Roger served until 2006 as Chairman of FSTML (Fellowship of Short-Term Mission Leaders), and served as the founding Chairman for the National Steering Committee of the SOE (U.S. Standards of Excellence in Short-Term Mission) until November 2006. He also served on the Board of Directors for the EFMA (Evangelical Fellowship of Mission Agencies — now “Missio Nexus”) 1999–2005. Roger also served as Founding Chairman of the Board of Directors for AESTM — the Alliance for Excellence in Short-Term Mission (the parent nonprofit for FSTML, NSTMC, and the SOE) until June 2009.

Roger is an adept, methodical, first-rate instructor who connects well with varying cultures and ages, and does so with authentic sincerity and ease.

As an inspiring, challenging, and culturally relevant teacher, he also serves as Adjunct Professor (of Christian Short-Term Missions) at Northwestern College in Roseville, Minnesota, and as mentioned above, is a rostered and active Instructor for “Perspectives on the World Christian Movement” (lessons #5 Unleashing the Gospel and #9 The Task Remaining). 

Church & Family

Roger and his family attend Edinbrook Church (Brooklyn Park, Minnesota), where he serves as a worship musician (piano & keyboards), small group leader, and resident missions trainer. Previously Roger served various roles in three other churches as worship musician (piano, pipe organ, keyboards, acoustic guitar), backup preacher/teacher, Chairman of an Organ Search Committee, Chairman of a World Mission Committee, and as Director of Young Single Adult Ministries. He meet Melanie during a church choir cantata rehearsal, and married 4 years later in 1993. Together Roger and Mel are raising their two children — Rachel (b. 1999), and Matthew (b. 2001). Roger spends free time bicycling, building treehouses, mowing his lawn (loves it!) or shoveling snow (doesn’t love it!), and occasionally does narratives and voice-overs for various Christian and other productions. 

—Bio updated September 2013 Top Site Award!