David Boshart reappointed for a second term as President at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary


By Annette Brill Bergstresser. Originally published by Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary

David Boshart, PhD, President of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana, has been reappointed for a second four-year term beginning July 1, 2023. (Credit: Peter Ringenberg)

ELKHART, Indiana (Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary) — The Board of Directors of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS), Elkhart, Indiana; the Board of Directors of Mennonite Education Agency (MEA); and the Mennonite Church Canada Joint Council are pleased to announce the reappointment of David Boshart, PhD, as President of AMBS for a second four-year term, beginning July 1, 2023.

A Presidential Review Committee formed by the AMBS Board and chaired by board member Sue Neeb of Goshen, Indiana, recommended Boshart’s reappointment after conducting a comprehensive review process of his work. According to AMBS Board Chair James Gunden of Sellersville, Pennsylvania, the process included surveying AMBS faculty and staff, current students and recent alumni, board members, members of AMBS’s constituency in the U.S. and Canada, and organizations and individuals who are served by or collaborate with AMBS. 

The AMBS Board expressed gratitude for the review committee’s work and unanimously approved the nomination to reappoint Boshart during its April 20–22, 2023, meeting at AMBS. In early May, the MEA Board and MC Canada Joint Council gave unanimous approval as well. 

“David has proven to be an exceptional leader for AMBS,” said Gunden. “Faculty and staff have been energized by his leadership and have valued his humble nature as he has built relationships within and outside of AMBS. His many years of experience in church leadership have served to strengthen the seminary’s domestic and international partnerships. As a board, we’re excited to invite him to continue his service in this role.”

Neeb said the feedback received by the review committee showed widespread affirmation for Boshart’s leadership and support for his reappointment as President.

“The overwhelming sentiment is that he is just the right person for this role at this time, and people are immensely grateful for who he is as a person and for his leadership gifts,” she reported on behalf of the committee.

“Many people noted David’s highly effective leadership skills and the ways in which he guides and supports AMBS employees in working toward the seminary’s strategic goals — which he has also helped refine and focus,” she said. Respondents described Boshart as being collaborative, approachable, empowering, and good at listening and building trusting relationships, she added.

“He was also widely affirmed for his open, honest and caring presence, both on campus and beyond,” she said.

During Boshart’s first term, which included the global COVID-19 pandemic, the seminary saw increases in enrollment — both in numbers and diversity; expanded its global partnerships; and launched its Doctor of Ministry in Leadership program — all while reaching financial equilibrium. 

“Under David’s leadership — and building on foundations laid by previous President Sara Wenger Shenk — international education has blossomed into the AMBS Global Leadership Collaborative, in partnership with Mennonite Mission Network and in collaboration with Mennonite World Conference,” Gunden noted. 

In 2021, the seminary also conducted a listening process with church leaders in the U.S. and Canada that resulted in the creation of Practical Leadership Training modules that will launch this August. The modules are designed to help pastors and leaders increase their capacity to provide effective Anabaptist leadership in a variety of settings. AMBS leaders are currently collaborating with Mennonite Education Agency and Seminario Bíblico Anabautista Hispano (SeBAH) to offer the first Spanish-language graduate-level certificate program in Mennonite Church USA.

Neeb noted that Boshart’s many connections to the Mennonite Church in the U.S., Canada and around the world bring vitality to the seminary’s work and collaborative relationships.

“David has been instrumental in connecting AMBS with the wider church in new ways, asking the question, ‘What does the church need from us?,’ and then responding to the answers with focused strategic plans,” Neeb reported for the committee.

Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary President David Boshart, PhD (at left), talks with Rev. Femi Fatunmbi, a Master of Divinity Connect student from Los Angeles, California, during orientation week in 2021 on the AMBS campus in Elkhart, Indiana. (Credit: Jason Bryant)

Boshart said he is “humbled and deeply grateful” for the church’s invitation to a second term as AMBS President.

“I understand leading the AMBS learning community to be a sacred trust,” he reflected. “It’s been an honor to serve AMBS alongside a team of mature and spiritually grounded administrators, faculty and staff who love Jesus and the church.

“In the next four years, I hope to strengthen our partnership with the church so that we can both broaden and deepen the reach of all we are doing in order to educate followers of Jesus Christ to be leaders for God’s reconciling mission in the world.”

Boshart joined AMBS on Jan. 1, 2020, serving as the fourth president since Goshen Biblical Seminary and Mennonite Biblical Seminary incorporated as Associated (now Anabaptist) Mennonite Biblical Seminary in 1994. He had been a pastor for more than 25 years in Mennonite congregations in Iowa and Virginia and had most recently served for 10 years as Executive Conference Minister of Central Plains Mennonite Conference of Mennonite Church USA. He also had served on the Mennonite Church USA Executive Board — including as Moderator (2017–19) — and on the AMBS Board. 

Boshart earned a PhD in Leadership Studies with an emphasis in Missional Theology from the Andrews University (AU) School of Education in Berrien Springs, Michigan. His doctoral dissertation was published as Becoming Missional: Denominations and New Church Development in Complex Social Contexts (Wipf and Stock, 2010). He also earned a Master of Arts in Religion with a major in New Testament Theology from Eastern Mennonite Seminary and a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies and Theology from Eastern Mennonite University (EMU), both in Harrisonburg, Virginia. He has served as Appointed Associate Professor at the AU School of Education and as an adjunct faculty member at AMBS and EMU. 

In addition to Neeb, the 2023 Presidential Review Committee included AMBS Board members John Daniels of Sarasota, Florida; Gerda Krause of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; and Mandy Yoder of Goshen, Indiana; an AMBS Teaching Faculty representative, Rachel Miller Jacobs, Associate Professor of Congregational Formation; an AMBS student representative, Anteneh Setegn of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; and MEA Executive Director Michael Danner (ex officio). Jolene VonGunten of MEA provided administrative support. Neeb expressed gratitude for the many persons across the campus community and the church who responded to the survey.

Located in Elkhart, Indiana, on ancestral land of the Potawatomi and Miami peoples, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary is a learning community with an Anabaptist vision, offering theological education for learners both on campus and at a distance as well as a wide array of lifelong learning programs — all with the goal of educating followers of Jesus Christ to be leaders for God’s reconciling mission in the world. ambs.edu

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