David A. Ridder was born and raised in a strong Christian family in the Chicago suburbs. He has a bachelor's degree from Wheaton College (1978). He also holds a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. After serving a church in Michigan as an assistant pastor, Dave became the senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Newtown, Pa. He led that church for twenty-three years. During that time the church more than tripled in size, moved to a new campus, took a strong missional position in the community, and adopted a new name “Grace Point”. In August of 2007, Dave began serving as the Dean of the Center for Transformational leadership at Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, Minn. In that role he was dedicated to training the next generation of leaders for the Church and her mission. In July of 2008, his position changed and he now serves as the Dean for Bethel Seminary.
Dave and his wife Diane, have three adult children, Emily (Manders), Jill (DeRaad), and Joshua. The Ridders have been long-time sponsors of Compassion children, and are pleased that all three of their children have become Compassion sponsors. In fact, their daughter Jill and her husband Jake met on a spring break missions trip working at a Compassion project in Guatemala.