Ashland University Names Executive Director of Religious Life

Ashland University Names Executive Director of Religious Life

4/9/14 ASHLAND, Ohio – Jason Barnhart has been named executive director of religious life/campus chaplain at Ashland University and he will begin his duties on June 1.

“I am excited and honored to step into the role of executive director of religious life at Ashland University. I was greatly impacted by the religious life community while a student at Ashland a decade ago,” Barnhart said. “I am honored to return and follow Dr. Dan Lawson who has done tremendous work and am grateful to work alongside Nate Bebout, a dear friend, and the countless others who make religious life the impacting movement that it is on campus."

Barnhart is a 2004 graduate of AU with a Bachelor of Arts in Religion and minors in ethics and psychology. He attended Ashland Theological Seminary and received his Master of Divinity degree in 2008 and is working toward his Doctor of Ministry degree in Marketplace Leadership at this time.

Barnhart has served as the Brethren Advancement National Coordinator for the Brethren Church National Office in Ashland since 2012. In that position, he handles communication, public relations and fundraising for the office and has worked with a group of Brethren scholars on excavating the historic ideals of the Brethren movement – a project titled, “A Brethren Witness for the 21st Century.” He oversees ideation, design, creation and distribution of all national and international communication, including the denominational magazine, “The Brethren Evangelist.”

Barnhart has been a contributing author to two other works. The first with Stanley Hauerwas, professor emeritus of theological ethics at Duke University - a project titled, “Sunday Asylum: Being the Church in Occupied Territory.” He also worked on a collaborative work that brought together various theologians to explore the major parts of the grand narrative of the Bible - a project titled, “A World Unbroken: Hope and Healing for a Shattered World.”

In 2011 and 2012, Barnhart was a research assistant for the AU Religion Department, assisting faculty members with various research and teaching projects.

From 2005 to 2012, Barnhart served as associate pastor at Park Street Brethren Church in Ashland. In that role, he oversaw student, young adult, cross-cultural, parish/local outreach, and family discipleship ministries.

Barnhart is strongly focused on practical theology and the witness of the local church; in particular, next generation ministry, generational dynamics, cross-cultural missions, social witness of the church, and the future of the church. He has worked collaboratively and creatively with Ashland University’s Office of Religious Life in recent years. Barnhart brings a passion to help young adults better steward their vocational-theological call.

Barnhart was ordained into Brethren ministry in 2010. He remains active at all levels of the Brethren denomination.

Ashland University, which has been ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###


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