Michele Hershberger

Michele Hershberger
Bible and Ministry Professor and Co-Campus Pastor
Phone 620-327-8292
Office Kropf Center

Affiliated Departments or Programs


  • A.A., Hesston College, 1981
  • B.A., Goshen College, Goshen, Ind., 1983
  • M.A.T.S. in Biblical Studies, Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, Ind., 2000
Research Interests
  • Biblical hospitality
  • Youth ministry and postmodern culture
  • Catechism practices within the Anabaptist tradition
  • Drama in the church
  • Preaching
  • Atonement
  • Mission
Major Publications
  • Why Did Jesus Die and What Difference Does It Make? Herald Press, 2019.
  • The Bible as Story (with Marion Bontrager and John Sharp) WorkPlay Publishing, 2017.
  • God’s Story, Our Story: Exploring Christian Faith and Life, Faith and Life Resources, 2013, 2nd edition.
  • Now It Springs Up, (with Carol Duerksen and Laurie Oswald Robinson), Willowspring Downs, 2007.
  • A Christian View of Hospitality: Expecting Surprises, Herald Press, 1999.
  • Chapters in theology books and articles in various professional and church periodicals.

Personal Statement

I see my role at Hesston College as one of many, all of us working with God to build a Christ-centered community. We seek to be a place where it’s safe to ask questions, where we learn from each other in mutuality. We’re co-creating a place of safety and challenge, academic rigor and light-hearted moments. A campus community that’s authentic - real. And any time you open a safe space for people to talk about what really matters to them - life, suffering, relationships - that space will be rich with meaning. So, I see myself as more than a teacher. The lessons happen just as much outside the classroom as inside. I’m mentoring new leaders, and they are showing me a deeper picture of God. We are becoming the People of God together.

Publicity photo

Professional Affiliations

Courses Taught

  • RELG 100 Biblical Literature
  • RELG 117 Spiritual Formation
  • RELG 118 Disciple-making and Call
  • RELG 121 Introduction to Youth Ministry
  • RELG 122 Missional Leadership
  • RELG 131 Faith and Discipleship
  • RELG 136 Being and Doing
  • RELG 137 Experiencing God in Nature
  • RELG 208 Nonviolence and Revelation
  • RELG 214 Peacemaking and Justice
  • RELG 227 Practical Ministry
  • RELG 260 Jesus and the Gospels

In Addition …

Church experience
  • Project Associate for The Giving Project for Mennonite Church USA, 1996-2000
  • Youth Pastor, Zion Mennonite Church, Hubbard, Ore., 1989-1996
  • Conference Youth Minister for Pacific Northwest Conference of the Mennonite Church, 1990-1995
  • Speaker at church-wide conventions for Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada including Philadelphia ’93, St. Louis ’99, Nashville ’01, Atlanta ’03, Charlotte ’05, San Jose ’07, Pittsburgh ’11 and Kansas City ’15.
  • Playwright for church-wide conventions, including Oregon 91, Wichita 95, Orlando 97, St. Louis 99, Nashville 01, Atlanta 03
Teaching experience
  • Bible Professor at Hesston College, 2000 to present
  • Taught Introduction to Bible (2 semesters), Christian Education and Intro to Youth Ministry at LCC International University, Klaipeda, Lithuania in 2009-10
  • Presented an academic paper for “Responses to Cultural Homogeny: Engagement, Resistance or Passivity,” an international conference on interdisciplinary research at LCC International University, Klaipeda, Lithuania
  • Adjunct instructor in youth ministry, Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, Ind., 2003
  • Head of the Bible Department at Western Mennonite School, Salem, Ore., 1995-96

What draws you to the field of Bible and religion?

Who could not love the Bible? All those wild stories that don’t quite make sense! And what about all those stories that are plain to understand — like feeding the poor — but are hard to live out? I get to participate in an academic field that seeks not only to learn from these sacred texts but to live them out as well. And we get to support each other...learn from each other.

What about teaching energizes you?

I love to think theologically and love doing that thinking with others, especially young adults. In my context, authenticity is a key value and when I can help facilitate a safe space where people are free to be authentic, life-changing conversations happen. It’s not enough to just facilitate education. Hesston College is about transformation and I get to be a part of that.

What are your favorite courses to teach? Why are they favorites? What do you like about them?

I love all my courses, even if for different reasons. Some of my students who take Bib Lit (Introduction to Biblical Literature) aren’t excited about the class. And then, as the semester unfolds, their body postures change, their eyes get bigger, the questions come pouring forth. They see something they’ve never seen before. They lean in on the discussions and interrupt each other. They care because the Story, God’s story, has something they need. And every semester, I have the privilege of watching that happen. What a joy!

How has your background and educational experience shaped you as a teacher?

Before coming to Hesston College, I served as a youth pastor, a church-wide preacher and teacher on stewardship issues and had written several books on the Christian faith. I also taught in both a secular and Mennonite high school. Finally I have a B.A. in communications, with an emphasis on theatre. All these experiences have shaped me and made me a better communicator and teacher today.

Who are your role models or mentors? How have they influenced you?

When I was a sophomore at Hesston College, former faculty member Marion Bontrager asked me if I had a call to ministry. I told him he was crazy; I was going to be a famous actress. He has since forgotten this conversation, but I never did. I was sensing a call and his quiet nudging encouraged it, and when times were tough, gave me the courage to continue saying yes to that special calling. So, like Marion, I pray for my students. I listen to the Spirit to see how I can encourage them. I plant seeds, being so grateful for the seeds that were planted in me.

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