ELKHART, Ind. — The Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary presidential search committee on June 10 announced David W. Boshart of Wellman, Iowa, as its candidate of choice as the seminary’s next president.
Sara Wenger Shenk, who has served as president since 2010, will retire June 30.
Boshart visited campus June 17-18 to participate in meetings with faculty, staff, students and administration. The search committee is reviewing feedback received during the visit to present a final recommendation to the AMBS board of directors by the end of June.
Boshart is Mennonite Church USA moderator for the 2017-19 biennium, having served on the denomination’s Executive Board since 2007 and the board’s executive committee since 2008.
“David’s extensive leadership experience in the church will serve him and AMBS very well,” said search committee chair Miriam Book of Lititz, Pa. “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.”
Boshart has served as executive conference minister for Central Plains Mennonite Conference of Mennonite Church USA since 2010. He also is appointed associate professor in the School of Education at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Mich., where he teaches courses in leadership studies.
Prior to his work with Central Plains, he served as a pastor for more than 25 years in Mennonite congregations in Iowa and Virginia.
“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.”
Commitment to mission
In April, Boshart was appointed by the AMBS board 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,” he 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.”
David Brubacher of Vineland, Ont., a member of both the AMBS board and the search committee, said Boshart brings transformational thinking during a time when theological education is undergoing major shifts.
“We are grateful that he has a deep understanding of the shifts in both the church and theological education,” he said.
Boshart has a doctorate in leadership studies with an emphasis in missional theology from Andrews University; a master of arts in religion degree with a major in New Testament theology from Eastern Mennonite Seminary in Harrisonburg, Va.; and a bachelor of arts degree in biblical studies and theology from Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg.
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, Alta. “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 and a student, as well as Mennonite Education Agency board members and a representative from Mennonite Church Canada.