Steven Toshio Yamaguchi

Assistant Professor of Pastoral Theology and ChaplainSchool of Theology

Contact Information
BA, Westmont College
MDiv, Princeton Theological Seminary
DMin, Claremont School of Theology

Biographical Information

After serving Fuller Theological Seminary as dean of students since August 2014, Steve Yamaguchi also joined the School of Theology faculty in July 2015. For 11 years prior to coming to Fuller, he served as executive presbyter of the Presbytery of Los Ranchos in Southern California. In this role of “pastor to pastors,” Yamaguchi particularly loved working with the new ministers—a role he continues as campus chaplain. At Fuller, however, he comes alongside them earlier in their process, and now as faculty he can establish even deeper relationships with students through the sustained theological engagement of the classroom. A favorite part of his work at the presbytery was supporting and encouraging imaginative and courageous pastoral candidates and eager new pastors, a passion he has brought with him to Fuller as he works with students discerning and preparing for their vocational dreams.

His research has included a focus on transforming denominational governing bodies from institutions modeled on corporate hierarchy into communities of Christ-followers sent into the world. His earlier research explored the intersection of Christian contemplative prayer practices and Japanese cultural communication dynamics so as to help strengthen Christian discipleship in Japanese and Asian American communities. He is passionate about the power of God to heal and transform lives through the fearless and searching confession and restoration possible through the 12 step program of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, Yamaguchi has a passion for urban ministry and finds life and hope in God’s presence in the city. For 15 years he pastored an urban Japanese American congregation that came back from near extinction to become a thriving, culturally complex congregation on Compton Boulevard, on the edge of Compton. He is still deeply engaged with friends in Compton through the fellowship of his 12 step work with AA.

Steve lives in Long Beach with his artistic and athletic wife, Alison, who is a pediatric physical therapist and volleyball enthusiast. They have two adult daughters. He enjoys bicycling, fishing, playing guitar, and walking in the ocean with their dog.

Courses Taught

  • CN567: Spiritual Formation and the 12 Steps
  • PM504: Pastoral Care
  • LD515: Presbyterian Polity, History, and Leadership

Areas of Expertise, Research, Writing, and Teaching

Addictions, Asian American ministry, cross cultural studies, leadership, missional church, pastoral theology, race and ethnicity, recovery ministry, spiritual formation


  • “From the Palace to the Streets,” in Perspectives on Liturgical–Missional: Essays on a Reformed Ecclesiology, ed. Neal Press (Pickwick Publishers, forthcoming fall 2015); published in brief form in Fuller magazine, issue 1, 2014.
  • Pastoral Perspective commentary articles on Mark 4 in Feasting on the Gospels (Westminster John Knox, 2014).
  • “Loving Your Peculiar People,” in Best Advice for Pastors and Preachers, ed. William J. Carl III (Westminster John Knox, 2009).
  • “Pastor as Spouse” and “Pastor as Parent,” in Insights from the Underside: An Intergenerational Conversation of Ministers, ed. Neal Press (Broadmind Press, 2008).
  • “Bible Explorations” column 2002–2004 in Presbyterians Today magazine. Received 2004 “Best of Christian Press” award in the Biblical Interpretation category, Associated Church Press.
  • Selected sermons published online at (formerly “The Protestant Hour” radio broadcast), 2001.

Faculty Search

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