David E. Embree


Religious Studies

Role: Faculty
Campus: Springfield

Postal mail

Missouri State University
Religious Studies
901 S. National Ave.
Springfield, MO 65897


David Embree wears two hats around Missouri State University. Since 1978, he has been the director of Christian Campus House, a non-denominational student community. In that role, the progression of student generations and their uniquenesses has been a matter of great importance and investigation.

Since 1983, he has taught in the department of religious studies, where his specialty is new religious movements, the groups that many people refer to as “cults.” He has been studying new religions, especially in the Ozarks region, for several decades and has often served as a resource for media outlets seeking insight on such groups. 



  • M.A. in Religious Studies, 1994, Missouri State University
  • B.A. in Biblical Studies, 2017, Ozark Christian College
  • B.A. in Antiquities, 1982, Missouri State University


  • Alternative religions in the Ozarks
  • Introduction to religion
  • Latter-Day Saints and its offshoots
  • New religious movements
  • Religion in America
  • Scientology
  • White supremacists in the Ozarks

Professional experience

  • Director and campus minister, Christian Campus Ministry of Ministry, 1978-present
  • Youth minister, Park Plaza Christian Church, Joplin, Missouri, 1976-1978
  • Youth minister, Orchard Street Christian Church, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, summer 1975
  • Announcer, KDMO/KRGK Radio Station, Carthage, Missouri, 1975-1977


  • Association of College of Ministries: member and past president
  • Parent and Family Bear Notes, Missouri State University: monthly columnist, 2014-present
  • The Journal of Campus Ministry: co-founder and member of editorial committee, 1994-2000

Research and professional interests

  • New religious movements ("cults")
  • Alternating conservative and liberal dominance in American religion
  • University students and faith development
  • Religion and the environment
  • Social justice

Select Publications:

  • Embree, David. A History of Campus Ministry, The Decision to House Students and An Extensive Annotated Bibliography of Campus Ministry Resources in Shepherding College Students, Greg Swinney, editor. Kearney, Nebraska: Lifechange Media, 2019.
  • Embree, David. Service Opportunities for Young Adults in Young Adult Ministry in the Twenty-First Century, Elizabeth Robinson, editor. Loveland, Colorado: Group Publishing, 2005.
  • Embree, David. How NOT to Support a Missionary. The Christian Standard, 2001: 12-13.
  • Embree, David. Tough Choices for Today's Teens. The Lookout, 2001: 3-5.
  • Embree, David, et. al. Where's the Learning in Service Learning? The Council of Societies for the Study of Religion Bulletin. 2000; 29(3): 70-74.
  • Embree, David. Gen X or Gen Why? The Journal of Campus Ministry. 2000; 4(2).
  • Embree, David. The Best of Both Worlds. The Ivy Jungle Report. 2000; 7(3):19.
  • Embree, David (guest editor). Religion in the Ozarks. OzarksWatch Magazine. 1999; 12(3 and 4).
  • Embree, David. More than a Fast Food Faith: A Teen Study of Romans. Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing, 1996.
  • Embree, David. A History of Campus Ministry, Board of Directors: Support and Guidance for Ministry and The Decision to House Students in Taking Education Higher, Greg Swinney, editor. Kearney, Nebraska: Lifechange Media, 1993.

Select Presentations:

  • Alternative Worldviews, a 10-part series for Countryside Christian Church, Nixa, Missouri, 2017.
  • Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, National Student Conference, Evansville, Indiana, 2015.
  • Where in the World is God Calling Me? International Conference on Missions, Columbus, Ohio, 2014.
  • Shining the Light of Integrity and God's Word and My Family, Missouri Christian Convention, Lake Ozark, Missouri, 2013.
  • Restoration Roots, National Student Conference, Evansville, Indiana, 2011
  • What's the Real Story on Islam? Springfield Mid-Town Rotary, Springfield, Missouri, 2010.

Additional resources

Area of expertise

Religions of the world

Media appearances

From the Expert: Choosing a graduate program as a Christian student
Religion expert David Embree shares advice on how to navigate grad school as a believer and find resources that support your Christian faith.

Experts say new definitions of cults are not cut and dry
The Standard
Religion expert David Embree shares about cults.

How the Satanic Temple Became a Queer Haven
Religion expert David Embree shares his insight about the Satanic Temple.

Looking Back on Liberal, the Midwest's Failed Atheist Utopia
Religion expert David Embree weighs in on the community of Liberal.

Satanists in Springfield

White Supremacists in the Ozarks
British Broadcasting Corporation

Kansas City Shooting Suspect Hoped The Next Adolf Hitler Sat In A College Class He Lectured
Huffington Post
Religion expert David Embree talks about his encounter with former Ku Klux Klan leader Frazier Glenn Miller.