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Jewel Gingerich Longenecker, PhD

Dean of Lifelong Learning; DMin Program Co-Director

[email protected]
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PhD, Andrews University, 2014
MATS, AMBS, 1992
BA, Eastern Mennonite University, 1988

Learn more about Jewel Gingerich Longenecker

About Jewel

Jewel has been AMBS Dean of Lifelong Learning since 2014; previously she was AMBS Associate Dean for Leadership Education since 2001. She leads the AMBS Church Leadership Center, which offers educational resources for ministry and leadership, and co-directs the AMBS Doctor of Ministry program with Dan Schrock. In her role, she collaborates with AMBS faculty, denominational leaders, district conference staff and congregational leaders, to help provide a rich array of resources for leadership development.

Prior to coming to AMBS, Jewel served as a campus pastor and conference youth minister in southeast Iowa and on the Theological Education Committee of the Mennonite churches of southeast Iowa. In her church and seminary roles, Longenecker has listened attentively to the needs of the church for theological and leadership education at a variety of levels, and has helped AMBS respond to these needs with adaptive programming. Early in her AMBS tenure, she helped to design and launch !Explore: A Theological Program for High School Youth. Shortly after, she collaborated with Mennonite conference leaders to design and launch Journey: A Conference-based Leadership Development Program, an undergraduate-level program that prepares leaders called from within congregations. The program continues, now under AMBS ownership, as Journey: A Missional Leadership Development Program. From 2005-2011, Longenecker directed Engaging Pastors: Jointly Tending to Excellence in Ministry, an initiative that fostered collaboration and sustained conversations among more than 450 pastors and AMBS professors, strengthening the ministries of each. The findings of the project are detailed in Engaging Pastors: Papers and reflections from the Summative Conference December 1-3, 2009 (Institute of Mennonite Studies, 2010), edited by Longenecker. 

In 2013, together with the AMBS academic dean, Jewel developed and launched the AMBS Short Courses program, which annually serves lay and credentialed leaders, increasing theological understanding and leadership development in an Anabaptist perspective. For more than 20 years she has led the planning and implementation of the annual AMBS Pastors and Leaders conference and coordinated a wide variety of continuing education programs, workshops, webinars, and seminars. Most recently she led the design and development of the Transition to Leadership program and Ministry Integrity Circles, which provide support and guidance to cohorts of seminary graduates in their first pastorates and those facing pastoral ministry transitions of various kinds. 

In 2014, Longenecker completed a PhD in Leadership at Andrews University, a competency-based, job-embedded program designed for working professionals in leadership roles. Through the program, she studied leadership theory, engaged in leadership research, and demonstrated competence in twenty leadership areas. Her dissertation topic was “The Pastor as Vital Link: A study in how seminary-educated pastors engender engagement with scripture in select congregations,” which focused on the importance of deep, careful study of Scripture in congregations, led by well-prepared teachers. 

Why I am at AMBS

I came to AMBS because my pastor at the time, Mag Richer Smith, told me of an opening for an “associate dean for leadership education,” and encouraged me to apply. She felt that God was nudging her to nudge me, which meant a lot to me. My previous time as a student at AMBS had been transformational, and so it was a great joy and privilege to be called back to AMBS to serve. 

I have stayed at AMBS because the work is deeply fulfilling. Whether serving pastors or lay leaders, I witness the Spirit continually at work in people’s lives, moving them to new places, deepening their understanding, and shaping and forming their skills in new and important ways. Helping people to find and deepen their calling as ministry leaders, and developing and providing valuable resources to support that calling, is the best work imaginable! 


  • Longenecker, Jewel Gingerich and Mary Forney. Crystals Encounter Christ. Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 1997.
  • Longenecker, Jewel Gingerich. “The path.” Journal of Applied Christian Leadership 2, no. 2 (2008): 3-4.
  • Longenecker, Jewel Gingerich. “Resources on teaching the Bible in the congregation.” Vision: A Journal for Church & Theology 11, no. 2 (2010): 45-51.
  • Longenecker, Jewel Gingerich, ed. Engaging pastors: Papers and reflections from the Summative Conference. Elkhart, IN: Institute of Mennonite Studies, 2010.
  • Longenecker, Jewel Gingerich. “Bridging the Bible gap.” Sojourners, November 2011, 36-39, 46.
  • Longenecker, Jewel Gingerich. “The pastor as vital link: A study in how seminary-educated pastors engender engagement with scripture in select congregations.” Doctoral dissertation, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, 2014.


  • Award for Excellence in Biblical Study–New Testament; AMBS Bible Department, 1992.