AMBS President Search

Dear friends of AMBS,
We want to share with you some exciting news about AMBS’s future!

At an all-campus meeting this morning, we announced that the AMBS Board of Directors has appointed David W. Boshart, Ph.D., of Wellman, Iowa, as the seminary’s next president, to begin Jan. 1, 2020. Beverly Lapp, Ed.D., Vice President and Academic Dean, will continue to serve as acting president until then.

David will serve as our 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 was the unanimous choice of the Presidential Search Committee and received strong support from the board. Both groups noted their belief that he will be a transformational leader for the seminary, bringing with him a deep love for the institution, exceptional commitment to its vision and mission, passion for educating and equipping pastors and leaders, a collaborative leadership style, and gifts for finding positive ways to bring people together.

There was broad campus enthusiasm for David’s appointment as president, including unanimous support from the AMBS teaching faculty. Jamie Pitts, Ph.D., the teaching faculty representative to the search committee, shared these words of affirmation: “David’s proven track record of interculturally competent leadership, his vision for how the seminary might serve the whole church, and his passion for the nuts and bolts of theological education make him a great fit as the next president of AMBS.”

David brings a variety of administrative and leadership experiences to his new role. Since 2010, he’s served as Executive Conference Minister for Central Plains Mennonite Conference 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. David has pastored for more than 25 years in congregations in Iowa and Virginia. He’s been on the Mennonite Church USA Executive Board since 2007 and just completed a two-year term as moderator in July. He has also served on the AMBS Board as both a member and as chair.

David 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, and a Master of Arts in Religion with a major in New Testament Theology from Eastern Mennonite Seminary in Harrisonburg, Virginia. He’s taught at AMBS as an adjunct faculty member; he also taught an online Introduction to Theological Studies course as part of a pilot program for Hmong students. In addition, he has been part of the Theological Education Committee of Southeast Iowa and has served on the advisory panel for the Journal of Applied Christian Leadership since 2009. You can read more about David here.

The board is immensely grateful for the careful and diligent work carried out by the search committee, which included AMBS board members, teaching and administrative faculty members, alumni and a student, as well as Mennonite Education Agency board members and a representative from Mennonite Church Canada, which owns the seminary jointly with Mennonite Church USA.

The committee members worked tirelessly and collegially to identify, assess and advance the candidate they felt best met the qualifications AMBS needs in its next president. Their process included extensive outreach to and listening sessions with the AMBS community and the wider church to gather a diversity of perspectives on the candidate, and a time of extended discernment to consider together the resulting input. I am grateful to the committee for their commitment to this process and to a successful outcome. I am also grateful to all those who shared their thoughts with the committee, and to members of the AMBS community for their patience and thoughtful engagement during the on-campus visits as we worked through the process.

Please join us in celebrating as David and his wife, Shana Peachey Boshart, denominational minister for faith formation for Mennonite Church USA and a 2017 AMBS alumna, join the seminary learning community. And thank you for your continued support of AMBS.


Bruce Baergen
Chair, AMBS Board of Directors
Sept. 10, 2019

Shana Peachey Boshart and David W. Boshart, Ph.D. (Credit: Melissa Troyer)

Shana Peachey Boshart and David W. Boshart, Ph.D. (Credit: Melissa Troyer)

“Those who have worked closely with David in congregational, conference and denominational life consistently praise his rare combination of leadership skills and character traits. He leads with vision and courage; builds trust through deep listening; and acts with humility, grace and compassion. He is a servant leader who continually strives to learn from and work with others. His mentoring of others in ministry — including many young new leaders — is also widely appreciated and highly regarded.” — Jewel Gingerich Longenecker, AMBS Dean of Lifelong Learning and the Administrative Faculty representative to the search committee

“Dave has faithfully served Mennonite Church USA as a conference leader and Executive Board member. He is committed to the mission of the church and developing strong Anabaptist leaders. I know he will serve AMBS with that same commitment and passion.” — Glen Alexander Guyton, Executive Director, Mennonite Church USA

“AMBS, like all seminaries in North America, is facing major headwinds. Few people know how to lead theological and pastoral education institutions in these challenging times. David Boshart has demonstrated leadership in the face of difficult challenges and knows how to lead change and do creative problem-solving to help organizations thrive.” — Thomas Stuckey, Interim Executive Director, Mennonite Education Agency

“This must be an exciting time for AMBS as you anticipate David Boshart beginning as president. I look forward to working with him in his new role. Blessings to everyone at AMBS as you look forward to this new chapter.” — Calvin Quan, Mennonite Church Canada Moderator