Why I am at AMBS
“AMBS stands out as a seminary that integrates academic study with Christian community. Serious study is complemented by intentional worship, joyous fellowship, deep friendships, and wonderful food. Our full lives provide a complete witness to God’s transformative and restorative love for all peoples and all of creation.” —Andy Brubacher Kaethler, PhD
Andy Brubacher Kaethler, PhD, has been committed to Christian formation since 1991, working in educational, conference, congregational and camp settings. Before coming to AMBS in 2003, he was Minister of Youth Ministries for Mennonite Church Eastern Canada. At AMBS, Andy teaches in areas of theology, culture, and philosophy. He also launched !Explore, a program that encourages youth to consider various forms of Christian ministry, including pastoral ministry. He is also the director of the Center for Faith Formation and Culture.
How does the Bible shape your vocation as a professor?
Reading, interpreting, and applying biblical wisdom to our lives today requires a similar approach to culture: reading, understanding, and discerning how we are formed by culture. If we ignore how we are shaped by culture, it is easy to simply dismiss culture as all bad, on the one hand, or to uncritically embrace it and miss how it misshapes us, on the other hand.
Christians must constantly be asking whether we are being formed as disciples of Jesus Christ who seek restoration of relationship with God, with each other, and with creation, or being formed as disciples of fearful nationalism and consumer culture.
How do you encourage students to hold together excellent academics with deep spiritual formation?
The life of the mind and the life of the spirit are two dimensions of what is ultimately one life. While we may have preferences or predispositions, to be whole persons we all need to grow through engagement in Christian practices of prayer, study, fellowship, and action. At AMBS, academic study is both tested and refined through inward practices (such as individual prayer and Bible study) and outward practices (such as fellowship and community involvement).
How does studying in your discipline prepare students to participate in positive personal, spiritual, and social transformation?
Christian leaders are at their best when they are also Christian learners. The way I combine faith formation and cultural hermeneutics helps Christian leaders continue to learn to distinguish easy, quick, short-term, and false promises of salvation offered in the dominant narratives of nationalism, consumerism, and militarism, from the gospel story and invitation to the more difficult but patient and enduring path of spiritual, physical, and social salvation offered in Jesus Christ.
My goal for students
My goal for students is that they be formed in heart, mind, and spirit as confident and caring disciples of Jesus Christ.
I want students to leave AMBS with the ability to engage culture both critically and compassionately.
I want students to become people who are continually formed in faith and who can nurture spiritual, emotional, and relational growth in others.
Youth Ministry at a Crossroads: Tending to the faith formation of Mennonite Youth (Institute of Mennonite Studies and Herald, 2011), co-editor
“The Practice of Reading the Other: John H. Yoder’s Critical and Caricatured Portrayal of Scholasticism” in Power and Practices: Engaging the Work of John Howard Yoder (Herald, 2009)
“Becoming Adult, Being Sexual: Sexuality on the Long Road to Adulthood,” in Vision: A Journal for Church and Theology (Fall 2008)
“Toward an Adolescent Hermeneutic,” in Journal of Youth and Theology (April 2006)