Announcement of new IBTS Centre director
The Revd Dr Mike Pears will be the new director of the IBTS Centre in Amsterdam
Mike is one of the first of the Centre’s students to graduate in Amsterdam, having begun his doctoral studies in 2011 when IBTS was based in Prague. He succeeds the Revd Dr Stuart Blythe, who led the Centre for a three year term as it established itself in Amsterdam.
The IBTS Centre board announced the appointment on Monday (30 April). Mike begins his new role on 1 August.
Chair of the board the Revd Dr John Weaver stated the appointment comes with the ‘unanimous approval of the Board and with their enthusiastic appreciation of the gifts that Mike will bring to the post.’
Since 2014 Mike has led Urban Life, a network of people exploring and researching new approaches to mission and Christian presence in deprived and marginalised neighbourhoods.
His ongoing research interests include: the theology of place, especially as that relates to issues of power and inequality; the use of ethnography in relation to theology and mission; and urban theology. Along with Prof. Paul Cloke (Exeter University), he is co-editing and authoring a series of six books entitled Mission in Marginal Places currently published by Paternoster.
In terms of both conviction and identity Mike is strongly baptistic. The core aspects of his faith have been shaped and enriched through a broad variety of ministry and mission contexts including significant involvements in inner-city London, Vancouver, Frankfurt, Sofia, and Bristol.
This breadth of experience has deepened his appreciation of the way that Baptist identity is expressed and grounded in diverse contexts and how baptistic convictions are embodied in various cultures.
On his appointment, Mike said, ‘IBTSC is strategically situated, both culturally and geographically, to encourage research and learning of baptistic theology and spirituality across Europe, the Middle East and further afield.
‘At the same time its primary areas of research – identity, mission and practical theology – present a particular resonance with key contemporary themes both within the theology and mission of the church as well as in wider society.’
On Urban Life, Mike explained that a key part of its growth over the past two years has been the formation of a well qualified core team that works with him to facilitate Urban Life’s learning programmes and also manages its development. While Mike expressed sadness at leaving the team, he is confident that they will manage well without him and continue to work innovatively in supporting mission in marginal places.
IBTSC Amsterdam exists to help equip leaders and conduct research that can aid the Christian church in its mission and ministry in Europe and beyond through internationally focused, European based, baptistic theological education.
IBTSC’s primary areas of research and education lie in Anabaptist/Baptist histories and theologies, Missiology, and Practical Theology – Identity, Mission and Practice.