Rev. James Ellis IIIChaplain of Discipleship
James Ellis III began working at Hope in 2016 and focuses on building bridges with individuals and groups. With the belief that Christian community requires intentionality, deference to scripture and reliance on the work of the Holy Spirit, he looks for ways to encourage students in their college experience and faith journey. Specifically, James spends time with student-athletes and coaches and tag-teams with Lauren Taylor, the other chaplain of discipleship, in discipleship and chapel service programming.
He loves serving as a pastoral witness to people during their times of need, and is always happy to get to know students, faculty, staff and community members. Although ordained in the Baptist tradition, James has worked, studied and preached in a variety of theological settings: United Methodist, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Vineyard, Mennonite, Episcopal and Disciples of Christ.
James is the author of Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil: Stories about the Challenges of Young Pastors (Smyth & Helwys Press, 2015).
- S.T.M., Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, 2010
- M.T.S., George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University, 2009
- B.A., University of Maryland, 2002
Having, himself, not been reared in a Christian home, James appreciates the spiritual diversity at Hope College. Many students are Christian and have been for some time, but that isn’t everyone’s story — and that’s okay. No matter one’s background, there is a degree of authenticity and desire for relationship with one another across differences that he finds refreshing. It is an honor for young adults to trust him with their personal stories, and it warms his heart to see God work on them during their time at Hope College and beyond.
Outside the College
James is passionate about spending as much time as possible with his wife, Renata, a veteran Special Education teacher and administrator who enjoys ministering to women. Together they delight in frequenting the gym, taking long walks and trying to become better bowlers. James loves to read and write, and can sometimes be found during his off-hours huddled in some library working on his next book.