Throughout his 49 years of full-time work, Dr. Steve Seelig has always committed himself first to being “a passionate disciple of the Lord.”

He has lived out his calling to serve God and others as a pastor, military chaplain, and currently as senior director of planned giving at PLNU.

Seelig graduated from Pasadena College in 1973 with degrees in speech communication and theology. He went on to serve as a pastor in the Church of the Nazarene for 23 years. During that time, he earned a master’s degree in theology from Point Loma, a Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary in 1981, and a Doctor of Ministry degree, also from Fuller, in 1993.

At age 30, he became pastor of the Carlsbad Church of the Nazarene, which had many members of the military among its congregants. With the church’s blessing, Seelig decided to take on an additional role as a reserve chaplain in the Navy in 1982. In addition to his 23 years of Nazarene pastoring, Seelig also spent 29 years as a chaplain to the Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps.

While continuing his military service part-time, Seelig returned to his alma mater to work in a planned giving role in 1996. PLNU’s president at the time was Dr. Jim Bond, who had attended seminary with Seelig. Bond asked Seelig if he would consider coming to PLNU to help establish a strong planned giving office. Seelig jokes that he didn’t really know what planned giving was at the time, but he was convinced to help when Bond said, “We need an initiator and someone who loves people and will provide for the future of the university.”

“My joy has been becoming a specialist in helping people
do what is going to be honoring to their families while still being able to give to God.”

Putting his energy and love of learning to work, Seelig soon learned about wills and trusts in depth, including developing an understanding of taxation. His role included meeting with alumni and friends of the university as well as with churches and families, teaching and empowering them to make wise decisions about their estates. 

“I helped develop the tools to listen to a person’s heart and find what helps them to feel they are honoring God in what they are giving him,” Seelig explained. Seelig’s approach to helping people plan for their futures with philanthropy in mind has helped him to raise more than $103 million for PLNU and billions more for churches.

“My joy has been becoming a specialist in helping people do what is going to be honoring to their families while still being able to give to God,” he said. In addition to his work at PLNU, Seelig has continued to serve military families. Seelig speaks to military audiences on a wide range of subjects, including stress reduction, communication, positive parenting, and finding balance in life. He enjoys sharing with audiences on many subjects that bring greater resilience, happiness, and family success.

For eight years, Seelig served as a contractor for the Department of Defense in the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program. In this key role, he brought healing and support to military families who were deeply stressed as their military member was getting ready to deploy for military service or just returning home after serving their country. As a cadre speaker, he presented at hundreds of Yellow Ribbon conferences worldwide and directed 75 marriage encounter retreats with his wife, Bobbi. Seelig also helped create the Returning Warrior Workshop for the Navy. He recently retired from these roles in March 2023 but continues at PLNU.

In addition, Seelig is a published author and has been a featured speaker on TV. He remains passionate about his work and hopes to continue a lifelong commitment to serving others. His family, including Bobbi; their two daughters, Stephanie and Stacie, and their husbands; and their five grandchildren, are his greatest joy.

He said, “My motto is: Daily transform my world for Jesus by serving my family, my friends, and others.”

Christine is the editor of the Viewpoint magazine at PLNU.