ELKHART — The board of directors of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) announced Tuesday the appointment of David W. Boshart, Ph.D., of Wellman, Iowa, as the next president of the seminary, beginning Jan. 1.
Beverly Lapp, Ed.D., vice president and academic dean, will continue to serve as acting president until that time.
Upon the recommendation of the presidential search committee, the board approved Boshart’s appointment.
He will serve as the fourth president since Goshen Biblical Seminary and Mennonite Biblical Seminary incorporated as Associated (now Anabaptist) Mennonite Biblical Seminary in 1994.
He succeeds Sara Wenger Shenk, Ed.D., who retired June 30 after nine years as president.
“David Boshart embodies the core values of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary and, on behalf of the search committee, I am delighted he has accepted our invitation to serve as our next president,” said Miriam Book of Lititz, Pennsylvania, a member of the AMBS board of directors and chair of the search committee. “He brings the preferred attributes of experience in pastoral and church leadership, administration and education identified by stakeholders both on campus and throughout Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada. The board looks forward to working in partnership with him as he leads AMBS into its next chapter.”
“AMBS is recognized across the church and around the world as a faithful and generative learning community that forms skilled leaders for God’s reconciling mission in the world,” said Boshart. “I am honored by the strong and clear call from the search committee, board and faculty to serve as the next president.”
Since 2010, Boshart has served as executive conference minister for Central Plains Mennonite Conference (CPMC) of Mennonite Church USA. As part of this role, he was responsible for supporting emerging congregations and staffing a partnership with Mennonite Mission Network and Iglesia Cristiana Menonita de Colombia (Colombia Mennonite Church) in support of Anabaptist networks in Ecuador and Venezuela. Prior to CPMC, he served as a pastor for more than 25 years in Mennonite congregations in Iowa and Virginia.
Boshart has a Ph.D. in leadership studies with an emphasis in missional theology from the School of Education at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. His doctoral dissertation was published as “Becoming Missional: Denominations and New Church Development in Complex Social Contexts.” 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 College (now University), both in Harrisonburg, Virginia. In 2012, he received EMU’s Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award.
Boshart’s teaching experience includes serving as appointed associate professor at the Andrews University School of Education (2009–present) and as an adjunct faculty member at AMBS (2014–15) and Eastern Mennonite University (2010–15). For AMBS, he also taught an online Introduction to Theological Studies course as part of a pilot program for Hmong students. His full CV can be viewed at ambs.edu/about/files/documents/Boshart-CV-AMBS-2019.pdf.
Boshart also will bring to his new role his experiences of serving in volunteer leadership roles across the Mennonite Church. In July, he completed a two-year term as moderator of Mennonite Church USA (2017–19), having served on the denomination’s executive oard since 2007 and on the board’s executive committee since 2008. He was a member of the AMBS Board of Directors (1999–2007) – also serving as chair (2003–05).
Boshart has lived in Iowa for much of his life. He and his wife, Shana Peachey Boshart, denominational minister for faith formation for Mennonite Church USA and a 2017 AMBS alumna, have three adult sons.
“The board looks forward to working closely with David as we seek to prepare leaders for the church,” said Bruce Baergen of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, AMBS board chair. “We are excited to move into the future with David as our new president.”
In addition to Book, the search committee consisted of Addie Banks, a Mennonite Education Agency board member from Bronx, New York; David Brubacher, M.Div., an AMBS board member from Vineland, Ontario, Canada; Myrna Miller Dyck, M.Div., a Mennonite Church Canada representative from Baden, Ontario, Canada; Marlene Kropf, D.Min., an MEA board member from Port Townsend, Washington; Jewel Gingerich Longenecker, Ph.D., AMBS dean of lifelong learning; Jamie Pitts, Ph.D., AMBS associate professor of Anabaptist studies; Carlos Romero, M.B.A., executive director of MEA (ex officio); Marisa Smucker, an AMBS student from Elkhart; and Patrick Vendrely, M.S.A., vice chair of the AMBS board from Goshen, Indiana. MEA also provided support services for the committee’s work.
Located in Elkhart, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary is a learning community with an Anabaptist vision, offering theological education for learners both on campus and at a distance, including 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, according to press release from the organization.