The Mennonite Mission Network board of directors on April 21 announced the appointment of Michael J. Sherrill as executive director.
An ordained educator, scholar, administrator and leader, Sherrill has been the director of Asia and Middle East for MMN since 2017.
Sherrill will assume the executive director role upon the retirement of Stanley W. Green on July 31. Green has served as the agency’s leader since its formation in 2002.
“Mike Sherrill brings a 30-year professional and spiritual journey that prepares him for this role,” said search committee chair Lee Schmucker. “His global experience, educational preparation and leadership strengths position him well to lead Mennonite Mission Network into the future.”
In his current role, Sherrill supervises and nurtures partnerships in 20 countries across Asia and the Middle East.
Under his leadership, MMN has worked closely with international partners to establish a regional Anabaptist theological training center in Southeast Asia, extend collaborative work for conflict transformation training and education in northeast Asia, and encourage the beginnings of a network of Anabaptist home fellowships in the Middle East.
Prior to this administrative position, Sherrill and his family lived in Japan for nearly 25 years. As a mission worker under MMN, Sherrill served in Christian higher education as a professor, campus pastor and board member of two universities and a Christian nonprofit organization. At the completion of his tenure in Japan, he was serving as department chair of religious affairs at Aoyama University, responsible for curriculum planning, campus ministry, faculty development and institutional advancement.
“We believe Mike will continue creative and careful leadership for Mennonite Mission Network, and we look forward to what God will do in the years to come,” said MMN board chair and search committee member Madeline Maldonado. “We anticipate a smooth, uninterrupted leadership transition with Mike’s long-term experience as a missionary and his recent administrative leadership position. We are grateful to Mike for listening to and answering God’s call to lead.”
Sherrill said he was grateful for the opportunity to serve MMN as it pursues God’s calling.
“I feel the same pull of the Holy Spirit that called me into overseas service nearly three decades ago,” he said.
He also acknowledged the challenge of the global pandemic.
“At present, as we walk a pilgrimage of unprecedented challenge presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, we cling to a steadfast hope. God is working in our world and in our church,” he said. “With our dynamic team at Mission Network, I look forward to working with partners and workers, conferences and congregations to equip and empower the church to engage their culture and world with the whole gospel.”
Sherrill graduated from Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary with a master of divinity degree in theology. He also earned master of theology and doctorate degrees from Fuller Theological Seminary in intercultural studies.
He wrote his master’s thesis on the history of the General Conference Mennonite mission in Japan. His doctoral dissertation focused on the vitality of churches in Japan in the context of the wider church’s decline.
He has published numerous articles on religion, culture and spirituality, including a chapter in the 2003 Brill printing of Handbook of Oriental Studies and editing the 2016 publication of Understanding Japaneseness, a theological anthropology of Japanese religious sensibilities.
Sherrill is a member of East Goshen (Ind.) Mennonite Church with his wife, Teresa, who is enrollment and financial aid specialist and administrative assistant for !Explore at AMBS. They have three children: Isaiah; Jeremiah, currently attending Goshen College; and Sophia, enrolled for the fall at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Va.
His ordination took place in 2000, held by Pacific Southwest Mennonite Conference.
Sherrill’s appointment was approved by the MMN board of directors as well as the Mennonite Church USA Executive Board.