Just over 40 Biblical studies staff from all over Europe joined together in Amsterdam from May 27-31, 2022. The theme of the gathering was Reconnect: Family, Foundations, Future.
The last time we gathered together was in Heidebeek, Netherlands in 2018. In the past we have tried to bring together all the staff from the different YWAM Bible schools around Europe every two years, but due to covid we had to cancel our gathering in 2020. We tried again in 2021 only to have that cancelled as well, so this gathering was long-awaited!
We really wanted the staff around Europe to get to know each other better and to build relationships after such a long time apart. We aimed to achieve this by giving opportunities for each location to share updates, we had an evening of prayer for each location represented, and we even had a night focused on personal prayer for each individual present. We also included a time of prayer for the Biblical studies team from Kyiv, Ukraine, almost half of whom were able to attend. Those were special times. Of course, YWAM Amsterdam also provided beautiful coffee breaks with delicious cakes which helps people to connect as well.
Ron Smith (founder of SBS) joined us and gave us inspiring input, challenge and encouragement. He shared his experience from the beginning of his YWAM days when there were few Bible courses available after DTS. We were all encouraged that many bases now have further Bible training courses. Ron also challenged us to keep teaching, to stay in the Word, to go to church and to reach out to iGen. He gave his thoughts on decision making and the most important meeting of the church ever- Acts 15. We were blessed to have his wisdom and experience. It really meant so much to all of us to have him there.
Jeff Fountain (Initiator of the Schuman Centre for European Studies) took us on an excellent canal tour throughout Amsterdam explaining many of the early roots of ideas and thoughts that were developed in the city.
Looking towards the future of Biblical studies in Europe we had interactive seminars and breakout sessions. Some of the areas that we focused on were: the need for Bible teachers to be familiar with Biblical theology and systematic theology, how to lead a school, how to work as a team, how to recruit students, how to be a great guest speaker and specifically how to teach in a DTS.
Bible courses such as SBS, DBS, BSN, BCC and BFL were all represented at the gathering and all of these courses are growing and multiplying in Europe! As Ron reminded us, we are not people of a certain YWAM program, we are Bible people, and it is the Word of God that ties us together.
We look forward to gathering our European community together again in 2024. We hope you can join us!
Angela Doerksen | YWAM Kyiv