By Joanna Shenk
ELKHART, Ind. (Mennonite Church USA)—The Leadership Development team of Mennonite Church USA welcomes Rachel S. Gerber as the new half-time denominational minister for youth and young adults. She will begin this assignment Jan. 6, 2014, and work from her home in Bloomington, Ind.
In her new role, Gerber will provide resources for and facilitate connections between youth and young adult groups and ministries across the church. She will partner with the Youth Ministry Council, Mennonite Camping Association and Mennonite Church USA Convention Planning staff in working on churchwide priorities such as Christian formation and leadership development.
“In her many experiences of working for the church, Rachel has developed a positive track record in collaborating to bring about results with youth around faith formation,” says Terry Shue, director of leadership development for Mennonite Church USA. “Her skill set and passion for Christian formation fit right in with the [Christian formation] priority.”
Gerber has a bachelor of arts degree in education from Goshen (Ind.) College and a master of divinity degree from Eastern Mennonite Seminary, Harrisonburg, Va. From 2000 to 2001, following her college graduation, she served as interim minister of youth and young adults at College Mennonite Church in Goshen. From 2005 to 2008, she was minister of faith formation at First Mennonite Church in Denver, Colo., where she was ordained by Mountain States Mennonite Conference.
Gerber has also served as summer program director at Amigo Centre, Sturgis, Mich.; a youth and young adult consultant at Springdale Mennonite Church, Waynesboro, Va.; worship planner/leader for the Mennonite convention at San José in 2007; and a youth curriculum writer for MennoMedia’s ’Gather Round Sunday School curriculum. Recently she finished her first book, Ordinary Miracles, a memoir on the ministry of parenthood to be published through Herald Press in the spring of 2014.
She is married to Shawn Gerber, and they have three children. After living in Charlottesville, Va., for several years, the family relocated to Bloomington in August. In Virginia, the Gerbers attended Charlottesville Mennonite Church; currently they are part of the Mennonite Fellowship of Bloomington.
“I feel incredibly humbled to be able to serve the church in this capacity as denominational minister of youth and young adults,” says Gerber. “This position seems to be a beautiful culmination of my previous experiences and education. I look forward to collaborating with other leaders as we together discern the Spirit’s call for the future of youth/young adults in this unique time in history.”
Cedric Roth, a member of both the Youth Ministry Council and the search committee for the position, affirms the energy, creativity and passion for faith formation and worship that Gerber brings.
“She has a wide range of skills and excels in communications and worship planning,” he notes.
Rachel S. Gerber (Photo provided)