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Leaders’ Conference 2017


Riviera Conference Centre, Chestnut Ave, Torquay TQ2 5LZ


Monday 13th November 2017 at 15:00


Wednesday 15th November 2017 at 15:30


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This conference is for all leaders or staff members in FIEC churches, as well as leaders from churches that are considering FIEC affiliation.

Every Christian has been transformed. Once we walked in darkness, now we walk in light. Our hearts of stone have been transformed into hearts of flesh. We are new creations – the old has gone and the new has come.

And Scripture teaches us that our transformation is to be ongoing. We are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. The word of God should continue to change us; both as individuals and as churches.

We long to be a family of churches which are continually transformed so that we become communities of salt and light equipped by the Holy Spirit to transform the lives of individuals, our neighbourhoods and ultimately our nation.

But what does leading a transforming church look like?

Perhaps you feel like you’ve been doing the same things year after year without seeing any transformation. Perhaps you’re not sure how to lead a church through change. Or maybe you feel like your church has just got too comfortable.

The programme for our 2017 Leaders’ Conference has been designed to help you lead a Transforming Church. That’s our main theme. You’ll meet others in ministry, learn from the wisdom of experts and be refreshed in your faith.

We hope that our brand new venue, together with it being a slightly shorter conference, will mean more churches can bring their whole leadership team, and that it might also be easier for those who are in secular work to take time off to join us. Whether you are a pastor, pastor’s wife, elder, deacon, youth worker, women’s worker or other ministry leader, this is the conference that will envision you for gospel work in the year ahead.


Thabiti AnyabwileThabiti Anyabwile is one of the pastors of Anacostia River Church in Washington DC. He previously served as senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman (Cayman Islands) and as an elder at Capitol Hill Baptist Church (Washington, DC) and Church on the Rock (Raleigh, NC). After a few years as a practicing Muslim, Thabiti was converted under the preaching of the gospel in Washington DC. He and his wife, Kristie, have three children. Thabiti is the author of several books and he sometimes blogs at The Front Porch and Pure Church. Twitter: @ThabitiAnyabwil

Kristie AnyabwileKristie Anyabwile is a pastor’s wife, mum, speaker and writer. She joyfully supports Thabiti as he pastors Anacostia River Church and disciples women there as well as speaking and writing about marriage, motherhood, and ministry. She has degrees in History and in African American Studies from North Carolina State University. You can find her blog at Twitter: @kanyabwile.

Matt SchmuckerMatt Schmucker was born in Pennsylvania into a large Roman Catholic family (seven sons!) and was converted in his senior year at university. For 25 years, Matt served as an elder at Capitol Hill Baptist Church and oversaw the 9Marks Ministries. Today he organises Together for the Gospel ( and CROSS (, a student missions conference and helps pastor Anacostia River Church in Washington DC. He is the co-author of Elders in the Life of the Church. He and his wife, Elizabeth, have five children.

Michael ReevesMichael Reeves is President and Professor of Theology at Union School of Theology, which has hubs across the UK, a residential campus in Wales and a Centre in Oxford making an accredited theological education geographically and financially accessible for all. He is the author of books such as Introducing Major Theologians, Why the Reformation Still Matters, The Unquenchable Flame, The Good God and Christ our Life. He is married to Bethan, and they have two daughters, Lucy and Mia.

Paul ReesPaul Rees grew up in Wales and worked as a dentist for ten years before studying theology at Moore College in Sydney. Married to Shiona they have four children. After leading a church in the US they moved back to the UK in 2009 and now live in Edinburgh where he is Lead Pastor at Charlotte Chapel. Paul is an enthusiastic supporter of Welsh rugby; Scottish dancing, live music and eco-houses.

Adrian ReynoldsAdrian Reynolds became FIEC’s Training Director in April 2017 after he finished work as one of the leaders of The Proclamation Trust. He and his wife Celia and daughter Isabel are moving to Market Harborough and will worship at Christchurch. They have two married daughters. Adrian has written a number of books including two in our FIEC Ministry Journeys series: To Fly To Serve and Glorious Union. He is a keen musician.


We’re delighted to be joined by Thabiti Anyabwile this year. He will speak in our main plenary sessions and focus on what it means to lead a biblically faithful church.

2017 sees Adrian Reynolds join FIEC as our new Training Director. Adrian will preach on the Monday evening with Paul Rees – pastor of Charlotte Chapel in Edinburgh – preaching for us on the Tuesday night.


Every year we have a lecture as part of the conference which connects us with our heritage and draws pertinent lessons for our real-world ministry. It’s a joy to welcome Michael Reeves who will take on this year’s Independent History session, focusing on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. His lecture will look at the importance of the Reformation for Independents.


We will continue the main theme of Transforming Church in our seminar streams.

Matt Schmucker served as an elder at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington DC when the church was small and struggling. He will be giving seminars to equip us to lead churches through change and into growth.

As well as speaking in the main plenary sessions, Thabiti Anyabwile will lead seminars that draw on his experience of church planting and developing multi-racial churches.

We will also have a seminar track for women’s workers and pastors’ wives which will be led by Kristie Anyabwile.


The Conference will also include the FIEC Annual General Meeting which is an opportunity to hear from National Director John Stevens as he speaks about the work and ministry of the Fellowship.


We are delighted to welcome 10ofThose to our conference and they will once again be providing us with an extensive bookstall.


This year’s conference takes place from Monday 13 November to Wednesday 15 November. It will begin at 3pm on the Monday and finish at 3pm on the Wednesday. The venue is:

  • Riviera Conference Centre
    Chestnut Ave
    TQ2 5LZ

Please note: You will need to buy an event pass for this year’s conference and then book your accommodation separately.


STEP 1 – Book your event pass

We encourage you to book early as you can save money on your event pass. The price per person is as follows:

  • On or before 15 October: £185
  • After 15 October: £210

Your event pass includes access to the conference as well as your evening meal on the Monday, lunch and evening meal on the Tuesday and lunch on the Wednesday. You also get free access to the leisure facilities at the Riviera Centre and free tea and coffee during the breaks. Go to the booking page.

STEP 2 – Arrange your accommodation

You need to book your place to stay in addition to your event pass. Click here to find specially negotiated hotel rates. Hotels start from around £30 per person, per night. A local Premier Inn and Travelodge are listed amongst the other hotels but need to be booked directly.

STEP 3 – Organise your travel

Anyone attending a conference at the Riviera Centre can book discounted trains to Torquay from London Paddington. This journey takes less than three hours. Click on the link to the GWR website on this page and choose “Torquay Conference” as your destination when booking. The deals will be available around three months before our conference.

You can also fly to Exeter Airport from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, Leeds Bradford and Newcastle:

If you are driving, most hotels have parking spaces and many are within walking distance of the conference centre. Alternatively you can buy a car park pass for £11 to cover the days of the conference. These are available from reception at the Riviera Centre when you arrive.

If the overall cost is prohibitive for you or your church team please contact us to see if you may be eligible for a bursary.

Click here for full booking Terms & Conditions.