The Mennonite Mission Network board of directors has appointed Michael J. Sherrill, Ph.D., as the organization’s new executive director. An ordained educator, scholar, administrator and leader with 25 years of global experience, Sherrill has been 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,” says Lee Schmucker, search committee chair. “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. He provides leadership for collaborative direction and strategies for ministries in the region, nurturing the activities of workers and developing constituency and partner relations. 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 an MMN mission worker, Sherrill served in Christian higher education as professor, campus pastor and board member of two universities and a Christian nonprofit. As a founding trustee of the Asia Pacific Association of Methodist Educational Institutions, he worked intensively to foster a vital consortium of institutions across the region. 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,” says Madeline Maldonado, MMN board chair and search committee member. “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 says, “I am grateful for this opportunity to serve Mennonite Mission Network as we pursue God’s calling on our agency. I feel the same pull of the Holy Spirit that called me into overseas service nearly three decades ago.”
Sherrill acknowledged the current challenge of the coronavirus 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 says. “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 (AMBS) in Elkhart, Indiana, with a Master of Divinity. He earned two advanced degrees from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California: a Th.M. and Ph.D., both in intercultural studies. His ordination took place in 2000 through Pacific Southwest Mennonite Conference.
Sherrill and his wife, Teresa, enrollment and financial aid specialist and administrative assistant for !Explore at AMBS, are members of East Goshen (Indiana) Mennonite Church. They have three children, Isaiah (22); Jeremiah (21), currently attending Goshen (Indiana) College; and Sophia (17), enrolled for fall term at Eastern Mennonite University, in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
Dr. Sherrill’s appointment was approved by the MMN board of directors as well as the Mennonite Church USA Executive Board. MMN is the mission agency of MC USA.
The search process was led by a committee appointed by the MMN board when Green announced his intent to retire. Serving on the committee were:
- Lee Schmucker, search committee chair
- Madeline Maldonado, MMN board chair
- Andrew Bodden, MMN board vice-chair
- Steven Breidigan, MMN board member
- Cindy Cumberbatch, MMN board member
- Linda Dibble, MC USA Executive Board representative
- Glen Guyton, MC USA executive director (ex-officio)