University Chaplain, Director of Student Ministries
Reimer Student Centre


The Rev. James Ellis III began at Trinity Western University in September 2019 as University Chaplain and Director of Student Ministries. His work involves co-laboring with and leading a team of fellow chaplains, interns, and student leaders who minister to students. With many years of experience in churches and higher education, he has served in largely Anglo, African American, and multiracial settings representing diversity across issues of socio-economics, culture, and theology. A U.S. citizen, though born in Japan, he has resided in Texas, Pennsylvania, Georgia, West Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Michigan.

Ordained in the Baptist tradition, Rev. Ellis was a 2013 Guthrie Scholar at Columbia Theological Seminary and 2012-13 Lewis Fellow at Wesley Theological Seminary, a post-graduate, post-ordination leadership development program for clergy under 35. He holds the Master of Sacred Theology from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Master of Theological Studies from George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University, and Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies from the University of Maryland.

It is a joyful responsibility for Rev. Ellis to proclaim God’s truth through regular preaching in chapel at TWU. In his 2010 Gardner C. Taylor lectureship at Duke Divinity School, Dr. James Earl Massey remarked: “Preaching is not a glorious thing. It can get you in trouble; when you do what it is supposed to be doing, namely, witnessing on behalf of God and God’s will. Sermonizing can make you popular, but true preaching can get you into trouble.” Rev. Ellis is a passionate practitioner of the science and art of preaching. Published in 2015 by Smyth & Helwys Press, he edited and contributed to Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil: Stories about the Challenges of Young Pastors.

In life beyond TWU, Rev. Ellis likes working out at the gym often and dabbling in photography. He heartily practices living as a contented introvert and spending lots of time with his wife. If you were wondering, he is not a fan of raspberries, blackberries, wasabi, and camping.

Research & Scholarship