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Candidate of choice for AMBS president announced

6.17. 2019 Written By: Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary 1,360 read

Photo: David Boshart. Photo provided by AMBS.

Faculty, staff and students from Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary gathered for an all-campus meeting June 10 in Elkhart, Indiana, to hear the AMBS Presidential Search Committee’s announcement of David W. Boshart, Ph.D., of Wellman, Iowa, as the candidate of choice for the next president of the seminary.

On June 17 and 18, Boshart will visit the AMBS campus to participate in meetings with faculty, staff, students and administration. The search committee will review feedback received during the visit and present a final recommendation to the AMBS board of directors by the end of June.

“David’s extensive leadership experience in the church will serve him and AMBS very well,” said Miriam Book of Lititz, Pennsylvania, search committee chair and a member of the AMBS board. “His roles as pastor, teacher and conference and denominational leader have uniquely prepared him for leading the seminary at this time. He is a warm conversationalist and storyteller who will collaboratively lead the seminary in living out its mission and values in the church and world.”

Since 2010, Boshart has served as executive conference minister for Central Plains Mennonite Conference of Mennonite Church USA. He also is appointed associate professor in the School of Education at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, where he teaches courses in leadership studies. Prior to his work with Central Plains Conference, he served as a pastor for more than 25 years in Mennonite congregations in Iowa and Virginia. He is currently moderator of MC USA, having served on the denomination’s Executive Board since 2007 and on the board’s Executive Committee since 2008.

“After 33 years in church leadership, my sense of call is shifting to nurturing the next generation of leaders,” Boshart said. “I am deeply humbled to be invited by the AMBS board to be the candidate of choice for president.”

In April, the AMBS board appointed Boshart to serve as assistant professor of missional leadership and pastoral care beginning in the 2019–20 academic year. If he is confirmed as president, AMBS will conduct a new search for the faculty position.

“My candidacy for the role of professor earlier this year gave me the opportunity to get acquainted with the faculty and students firsthand,” Boshart said. “I was deeply impressed by the faculty’s commitment to the seminary’s mission of serving the church, and the students exude an earnest desire to grow in their sense of God’s call in their lives.”

“Dr. Boshart brings transformational thinking during a time when theological education is undergoing major shifts,” said David Brubacher of Vineland, Ontario, a member of both the AMBS board and the search committee. “We are grateful that he has a deep understanding of the shifts in both the church and theological education.”

Boshart earned a Ph.D. in leadership studies with an emphasis in missional theology from the School of Education at Andrews University; a Master of Arts in religion with a major in New Testament theology from Eastern Mennonite Seminary in Harrisonburg, Virginia; and a Bachelor of Arts in biblical studies and theology from Eastern Mennonite College (now University) in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

An active scholar, he has contributed to more than 15 peer-reviewed publications, policy documents and book reviews. His doctoral dissertation was published as Becoming Missional: Denominations and New Church Development in Complex Social Contexts (Wipf and Stock, 2010).

“On behalf of the board, we are greatly appreciative of the work of the Presidential Search Committee and are thrilled to move to the next phase of the process with Dr. David Boshart as our candidate of choice,” said AMBS board chair Bruce Baergen of Edmonton, Alberta. “Dr. Boshart is deeply rooted in Anabaptist faith, and we are pleased he has answered the call to engage with the AMBS campus community.”

The search committee includes AMBS board members, teaching and administrative faculty members, a student and Mennonite Education Agency board members and a representative from Mennonite Church Canada, which owns the seminary jointly with MC USA. MEA has also provided support services for the committee’s work. The committee has been seeking a successor to Sara Wenger Shenk, Ed.D., who has served as president since the fall of 2010 and will retire on June 30.

“The AMBS Presidential Search Committee has followed a thoughtful process,” said Carlos Romero, MEA executive director. “The committee remains grateful for the quality of candidates interested in serving as AMBS president, and we wait with eager anticipation for the successful completion of the process leading to the next president of AMBS.”

The search process began in December 2018. The search committee collected input from the campus community, alumni and the broader church to create AMBS’s presidential profile.

“I am excited for the opportunity to steward the mission of the seminary as a broadcaster of theological and leadership education, serving the church in all expressions and in every place,” Boshart said.

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