Believers Church Conference 2025

in ACBAS, Front Page

Teun van der Leer (64) is a tutor at the Baptist Seminary, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He is the editor of Seeds of the Church: Towards an Ecumenical Baptist Ecclesiology (Cascade 2022) and the author of Looking in the Other Direction. The Story of the Believers Church Conferences (Pickwick 2023). Since 1984 he has been on the editorial board of Inspirare, a quarterly on charismatic and evangelical theology. He has been married to Ria for 43 years. Together they have three children and nine grandchildren. In his spare time he enjoys playing chess, reading and cycling.

Dr. van der Leer took the time to reply to our questions about the 2025 Believers Church Conference in Amsterdam:

What is the Believers Church Conference? What is your connection to the BCC?

The Believers Church Conference (BCC) is a conference in a series that started in 1967 in Louisville, Kentucky, USA, which has been held every 2-3 years since then, for the 20th time in 2025. The purpose of these conferences is to reflect on and from the Believers Church Tradition and its own unique place and contribution to the ecumenical conversation about the church and its future.

My connection is that I collected and studied the reports about and papers of the first 18 conferences and wrote my PhD about it with the title ‘Looking in the Other Direction. The Story of the Believers Church Conferences’ (Looking in the Other Direction- Wipf and Stock Publishers). I visited the conferences in Wolfville, Nova Scotia in 2016, in Goshen, Indiana in 2017 and in Raleigh, North Carolina, 2023. I am a member of ‘The Believers Church Conferences Continuation Committee’ and Chair of the Planning Committee for Amsterdam 2025 (Home – Radical Renewal: Witnessing to a New Heaven and a New Earth – Join us in Amsterdam at the 25th Believers Church Conference!).

Who is the 2025 conference for?

The conference is for students, pastors, tutors and researchers in the area of church and theology.

What is the theme for 2025? How are conference themes selected?

The theme is “Radical Renewal? – Witnessing to a ‘New Heaven and a New Earth’”. The organizing group from the inviting institutions is free to select a theme within the broader framework of the Believers Church Tradition. This theme was chosen because of the celebration of 500 years of Anabaptist Beginnings in 2025, the so-called Radical Reformation.

How have you been personally challenged or impacted at previous conferences?

On different levels. First of all, the meeting and conversation with related colleagues and researchers from different countries and continents. In that sense it is a real networking conference, you make many contacts, which often add something to your own teaching and research. I have also often been pleasantly surprised by the level of the presentations and lectures. During the last conference in Raleigh, I was particularly struck by the challenging multi-racial setting, the group discussions that deepened the lectures and the celebrations with exuberant music and passionate preaching.

What are your hopes for the BCC 2025?

We really want it to be an international, ecumenical, multi-cultural and multi-racial conference, so we hope to welcome people from many different backgrounds and celebrate our diversity as a form of renewal. I hope we will discover together what was ‘radical renewal’ then and what it is now. We want to do constructive and hopeful theological analysis and share hopeful stories and practices. Also to celebrate our history and our hope. I also hope that it will be a prophetic conference in the sense that from our history the future lights up and we go home inspired and with hope for the future of the church and the world, on the way to His Kingdom.

Registration for the BCC 2025 will open around the summer of 2024. You can already subscribe to news updates through the website Home – Radical Renewal: Witnessing to a New Heaven and a New Earth – Join us in Amsterdam at the 25th Believers Church Conference!