By Annette Brill Bergstresser
ELKHART, Indiana (Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary) — The Board of Directors of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS), Elkhart, Indiana, has appointed David W. Boshart, Ph.D., of Wellman, Iowa, as assistant professor of missional leadership and pastoral care, beginning in the 2019–20 academic year. The appointment took place during the board’s April 11–13 meeting in Elkhart.
“As an academic institution that serves the church, we welcome the depth and range of experience that David brings,” said Beverly Lapp, Ed.D., vice president and academic dean, and chair of the search committee for the position. “This includes his scholarship in leadership as an academic discipline, his passion for understanding healthy congregations, his extensive record of mentoring pastors and his engagement with the global church.”
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 has been 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. He also has held pastoral leadership roles at West Union Mennonite Church in Parnell, Iowa (1996–2010); Pleasant View Mennonite Church in Mount Pleasant, Iowa (1989–96); and Community Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg, Virginia (1986–89).
Boshart earned a Ph.D. in Leadership Studies from the School of Education at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan; his doctoral dissertation was published as Becoming Missional: Denominations and New Congregations in Complex Social Contexts (Wipf and Stock, 2010). 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, and received the 2012 Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award from the latter.
In addition to his education and pastoral work, Boshart will bring to his new role his experiences of serving in numerous volunteer leadership roles across the Mennonite Church. He is currently moderator of Mennonite Church USA (2017–19), having served on the denomination’s Executive Board since 2007 and on the board’s Executive Committee since 2008. He was a member of the AMBS Board (1999–2007) — also serving as chair (2003–05) — and a member of the Operating Board of Iowa Mennonite School in Kalona (1995–98). He has been a member of and has led CPMC leadership groups such as the Pastoral Leadership Committee and the Faith, Life and Procedures Task Group. He also has been part of the Theological Education Committee of Southeast Iowa (2000–08) and the advisory panel for the Journal of Applied Christian Leadership (2009–present).
Boshart said that while the pairing of the disciplines of missional leadership and pastoral care in one faculty position initially struck him as “a rare blend — insofar as seminary faculty roles are traditionally conceived,” he sees this intersection as one that the church needs the seminary to address “for such a time as this.”
“How is it that we seem to have so much to say about anxiety and division in the community of faith and so little to say about the things that make for resilient disciples and thriving kingdom communities?” he noted. “Joining these disciplines seems like a paradigm shift that has transformative potential for Christian ministry and witness.”
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). His courses have focused on leadership and administration, Mennonite faith and polity, and contextual witness. For AMBS, he also taught an online Introduction to Theological Studies course as part of a pilot program for Hmong students.
He has frequently been invited to preach and teach at pastors’ gatherings and delegate assemblies of Mennonite Church USA conferences and institutions, and he has served various congregations and church organizations as a speaker, strategic planning consultant and conflict mediation consultant. His articles have appeared in Vision: A Journal for Church and Theology, the Journal of Applied Christian Leadership, and The Mennonite, among others.
“At this time in my ministry, I am eager to turn around and face emerging leaders, encouraging and training them for the challenges and opportunities of ministry in the church and the world,” Boshart said.
According to Jim Longley, a Master of Divinity student from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, and a member of the search committee, Boshart’s personal warmth “resonated strongly with the student body” during his campus visit.
“His leadership expertise and field placement capability were two particular skills of great value,” he noted.
Lapp added, “Our students emphasized David’s genuine and energetic presence as a teacher, commenting with enthusiasm about the opportunity to learn from his experience and knowledge as they prepare for future pastoral and leadership roles.”
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 an AMBS alumna, have three adult sons.
In addition to Lapp and Longley, the search committee consisted of Malinda E. Berry, Ph.D., assistant professor of theology and ethics; Sara Dick, M.Div., AMBS board member from North Newton, Kansas, and an AMBS alumna; Rachel Miller Jacobs, D.Min., associate professor of congregational formation; Safwat Marzouk, Ph.D., associate professor of Old Testament/Hebrew Bible; and Sara Wenger Shenk, Ed.D., AMBS president.