Who We Are
To be an effective instrument of God to aid member churches in leading people to saving faith and discipleship in Jesus Christ.
With a focus on the English language, our mission is to provide the framework and available resources for member churches and their missions to:
- Proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ
- Plant new churches
- Strengthen member churches
- Enhance fellowship among member churches
- Support other Baptist groups
- Promote world-wide Christian missions
Why English Language Churches?
The first IBC churches were started to minister to the needs of the U.S. military servicemen and women who were stationed in Europe. Through the years, the churches have evolved to reflect the make-up of the communities to which they minister.
Today more than one-third of the churches are still comprised primarily of military personnel, while the others are made up mostly of international members. The word "international" is in the name of more than half the churches. The churches are rich in diversity, yet strive for unity in Christ, rooted in Christian love.
Since English is the most widely used language in the Western world, English-language churches have a great opportunity to reach people from many nations with the good news of Jesus Christ. Every year people from around the world respond when they hear the Good News of Jesus Christ presented by faithful IBC church members.
What Makes Us Unique?
IBC churches are Baptist in doctrine and affiliation and are similar to Baptist churches found on every continent. Some important beliefs of Baptists are:
God manifests Himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; Jesus Christ is the only Savior of people;
The Bible is the inspired Word of God and the guide of our faith and practice, thus eliminating the need for a creed.
All church members affirm their personal faith in Christ;
All believers have direct access to God;
Baptism is by immersion for believers only;
All people are entitled to religious liberty without coercion.
In addition to Baptists, the churches also welcome Great Commission Christians -- individuals who have confessed Christ as Savior and Lord and are committed to obedience to the Great Commission. These Christians come from denominations which have not established many English-language churches overseas. They are encouraged to participate in the worship, life, fellowship, ministries, and support of the church. They are requested to refrain from attempts to change the doctrine and affiliations of the church.
IBC churches are autonomous in government, with each developing its own constitution, bylaws, and Statement of Faith. They cooperate with other churches to more effectively develop unity in the Body of Christ, disciple believers, evangelize unbelievers, promote Christian missions, and engage in fellowship.
When Did it All Begin?
The first IBC (International Baptist Convention) church, Immanuel Baptist, was begun in 1957 in Wiesbaden, Germany. The next year, Bethel Baptist Church in Frankfurt was organized. These two churches formed the Association of Baptists in Continental Europe. During the following two years, Immanuel and Bethel sponsored 19 churches and missions.
In 1961, the Foreign 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 which was renamed the European Baptist Convention (English Language).
In 1968, the EBC named its first general secretary. In the 1970s, additional volunteer staff was added. In the 1980s, several full-time workers joined the EBC administrative staff to help the churches. Several new international churches were begun during the decade. EBC pastors and leaders began an intensive effort to plant English-language churches in the major cities of Europe.
The fall of Communism in 1990 brought a new challenge to the EBC -- the urgent need to reach internationals in many eastern European countries. At 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. Among the new churches, eight were started in capital cities of the former eastern Europe.
In 1996, the EBC called the first general secretary to be fully supported by the convention. Ten years earlier the convention had the vision to do this and had each year increased budgeted funds in order to achieve this goal.
In 2003, the EBC was re-named the International Baptist Convention (IBC) to better reflect the nature and location of its member churches.
Today the convention continues to pursue its mission of reaching the world for Jesus Christ.