How It All Started

The first International Baptist Convention church, Immanuel Baptist, was begun in 1957 in Wiesbaden, Germany. The next year, Bethel (International) Baptist Church in Frankfurt was organized. These two churches, pastored by twin brothers, formed the Association of Baptists in Continental Europe, and during the next two years, these two churches sponsored 19 other churches and missions.

In 1961, the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention sent a missionary couple to work with the growing churches. Three years later, churches in England joined the association, causing a name change to the European Baptist Convention (English Language).

In 1968, the EBC named its first executive director, known as a general secretary in European terms.  During the 1980s the convention continued to grow and additional volunteer staff was added.  Volunteer staff became full-time staff during the 1980s.  Until this point, EBC churches tended to be made up of primarily U.S. military personnel and their families.  A few new international churches were begun in  the major cities of Western Europe.  The foundation was being laid for an intensive effort to plant English-language churches around Western Europe

And then the Berlin Wall came crashing down in 1990, opening up the door to Eastern Europe and creating a new and exciting challenge for the EBC – to reach internationals in many Eastern European cities.  During the annual meeting in October 1991, the EBC set a goal to plant 20 new English-language churches during the next four years.

That goal was reached!  The face of the EBC was changing even more as during that same time 20 churches closed because the U.S. military was no longer in those areas.  Yet, a vision for the future remained.  In addition to planting churches, the EBC dreamed of one day calling a general secretary fully supported by the convention and owning its own building.  In 1996 the first dream became a reality, and in 2001 the second one was fulfilled.  The first church outside of Europe joined the convention in 1997.

In 2003, the EBC was re-named the International Baptist Convention (IBC) to better reflect the nature and location of its member churches. The convention continued to expand its boundaries as churches from Central, South, and North Americas as well as Africa joined the convention.   In 2014 the convention began a study to redefine its vision and mission.  With that came a new focus on the five core strategies of the convention:  multiply churches, strengthening churches, empowering leaders, building connections, and developing resources.


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