POSITION: Adjunct Seminary
Ervin first joined the seminary faculty in 1998 as an associate professor of church ministries, with a particular passion for preaching and biblical interpretation. Two years later, in 2000, he took on the role as Dean of the Seminary. He left EMU at the end of 2009 to serve as Executive Director of Mennonite Church USA, but returned as an adjunct instructor in 2018.
Ervin was born in Iowa, grew up in Kansas, and served the Mennonite Church as a pastor in Ohio and Pennsylvania. He came to the seminary after leading the Mennonite Church as a pastor, mission administrator, district overseer, and conference moderator. He served the newly formed Mennonite Church USA as its moderator from 2001-2003, and as Executive Director from 2010 – 2018. He enjoys woodworking and has built or restored much of the furniture in his house. He likes to explore new ideas for ministry.
- M.A.R., Eastern Mennonite Seminary, 1999
- Ph.D., Temple University, 1993
- M.A., University of Cincinnati, 1979
- B.A., Cincinnati Christian University, 1978
- Christian’s Hope. (Herald Press, 2016).
- Joseph’s Dilemma. (Herald Press, 2015).
- Jacob’s Choice. (Herald Press, 2014)
- Discerning God’s Will Together: Biblical Interpretation in the Free Church Tradition (Cascadia Publishing House, 2013).
- From Nonresistance to Justice: The Transformation of Mennonite Church Peace Rhetoric 1908-2008, (Herald Press, 2011)
- Balancing Academic and Ecclesiastical Goals, in C(H)AOS THEORY: A Handbook for Chief Academic Officers: Contexts, Commitment, Competencies, Choices,” Kadi Billman and Bruce Birch, eds. ATS (in press)
- Emma: A Widow Among the Amish (Herald Press, 2007)
- “A Preacher’s Calling: For John Ruth, it Meant a Lot,” in The Measure of My Days, Reuben Z. Miller and Joseph S. Miller, Eds. Cascadia Publishing House, 2004
- “Preaching Grace to Hard-working people” in Anabaptist Preaching: A Conversation Between Pulpit, Pew, and Bible, David B. Greiser and Michael King, Eds. Cascadia Publishing House, 2003.
- “Researching and Writing Tobias of the Amish,” Pennsylvania Mennonite Heritage, Vol. 25, no. 3 (July 2002), pp. 2-5.
- Tobias of the Amish: A true story of tangled strands in faith, family and community (Herald Press, 2001)
- “A Brief History of Peace Doctrine and Practice in the (Old) Mennonite Church in the Twentieth Century,” Pennsylvania Mennonite Heritage, Vol. 23, no. 2, (April 2000), pp. 2-13.
- Being God’s People:Embracing Christian Faith from a Mennonite Perspective (Herald Press, 1998) (new edition)
- Welcome!:A Biblical and Practical Guide to Receiving New Members (Herald Press, 1990)
- Creating Communities of the Kingdom:New Testament Models of Church Planting (co-authored with David W. Shenk, Herald Press, 1988)
*_Being God’s People:Studies for Christian Growth_ (Mennonite Publishing House, 1985)
Scholarly Presentations and Abstracts
*Paper, Raising the Flag for Jesus, presented at the Evangelical Homiletics Society in their annual conference, Beeson Divinity School, Birmingham, AL, October 17-18, 2008.
- Paper; Preaching in the Missional Church, presented at the Evangelical Homiletics Society in their annual conference, Biola University, La Mirada, CA., October 18-20, 2007.
- Paper; Toward Excellence in Equipping Preachers: Four Foci for Classroom Instruction, presented at the Evangelical Homiletics Society in their annual conference entitled Toward Excellence in Equipping Preachers: A Future Focus and a Backward Glance, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton, MA, October 12-14, 2006
- Paper; Five Professorial Practices that Enhance Effectiveness in the Preaching Classroom, presented at the annual conference of the Evangelical Homiletics Society, * Show Me the Truth: Illustration, Metaphor and Example in Preaching, Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis, MO, October 13-15, 2005
- Workshop; Developing New Networks for Financial Resources, Lilly Forum on youth ministry, Indianapolis, Indiana, January 26-28, 2005
- Presentation; Church Partnerships philosophy and vision and EMS’s Masterplan, presented at a conference entitled Partners in the Call, Eastern Mennonite Seminary, Harrisonburg, VA, January 20-21, 2005
- Workshop; Steps to Sermon Preparation, presented at the School for Leadership Training, Eastern Mennonite Seminary January 19-22, 2004
- Workshop; The Dean as Pastor, presented at the Chief Academic Officers Society, Albuquerque, NM, 2002.
- Paper; Cultivating a Culture of Call in a Changing Milieu, presented at the conference on Cultivating a Culture of Calling: Mennonite Perspectives on Vocation, Goshen College, Goshen, IN, October 20-22, 2005
- Workshop; Training that Transforms, 2004 Virginia Conference Ministers’ Convocation, Forming Leaders for the 21st Century: The Culture of the Called, , Blackstone, VA, January 5-8, 2004
- Served as chair of the Listening Committee at the conference entitled The Church Meets the Muslim Community, Eastern Mennonite Seminary, October 23-26, 2003
- Served as chair of the Listening and Visioning Panel for the April 3-5 conference entitled Philadelphia Stories: Kingdom Building in the City.
- Paper; Calling the Called: An Exploration of Pastoral Vocation from an Anabaptist Perspective. Written by invitation of the Fund for Theological Education for discussion in a forum on the topic of the call to pastoral ministry. Presented for discussion on January 8, 2003.
- Workshop: Creating a Culture of Call in the Congregation, presented at the School for Leadership Training, Eastern Mennonite Seminary, January 20-23, 2003
- Workshop: Preaching as Pastoral Care, presented at the School for Leadership Training, Eastern Mennonite Seminary, January 22-25, 2001
- Workshop: Discerning Biblical Truth Through the Gathered Faith Community, presented at the School for Leadership Training, Eastern Mennonite Seminary, January 18-21, 1999