I moved back to Germany as an evangelist with the Soldiers' and Airmen's Scripture Reading Association (SASRA www.sasra.org.uk
) in 2002, after serving there with the British Army in the early 1990s. Almost immediately on arrival, my wife and I became involved with a military service every Sunday evening and in running a mid-week soldiers’ fellowship at our home. Sunday morning fellowship became an issue though, as the two Protestant churches on camp were led in a way which did not sit comfortably with our view of contemporary Christianity. And so we ventured 30 minutes down the motorway (autobahn) from Monchengladbach to the International Baptist Church of Dusseldorf (IBCD).
William Wade at IBCD
We would eventually become members, and over eight years the church grew from around 50 to a steady average of around 200. Little did we know we were going to play a significant role in the life of IBCD...
In the summer of 2008, following an invite from the pastor at IBCD and its church council, my wife and I (along with our then three year old daughter Micah and just-born daughter Esme) moved to Dusseldorf and I came on staff at the church as the associate pastor. A few months later the senior pastor left and I became ‘it’! We led the church, with me as interim pastor, until we moved north to another military camp with SASRA in 2010. My time as Pastor of IBCD was eventful but blessed and gave me an insight into the opportunity and sense of mission which an International Baptist Church can bring.
The International Baptist Convention (www.ibc-churches.org
), linked with the Southern Baptist Convention, is based in Germany, but has churches across the world. My experience has been that IBCs are typically in or close to cities where English-speaking communities are of a higher population than in rural areas. They are also typically made up of American, British, local nationals who like to worship in English, along with African, Asian or Caribbean sub-cultures.
The pastors of these churches seem to be majority American, but there is also an opportunity for English-speaking pastors of other nationalities to lead local International Baptist churches.
What this article might hopefully achieve is two-fold; firstly, to inform British Baptists of the existence of the International Baptist Convention, in case some might know believers looking for local Baptist churches abroad.
And secondly, to highlight the need for pastors of these missionary churches. As is the case with many churches, the possibility to employ pastors with a substantial remuneration package, such as IBCD, is there for some of the larger congregations. With others, there are opportunities for a missionary pastor, perhaps from a large British-based local Baptist church which could afford to send and support a pastor in order to help establish, grow or simply ‘cut ministerial teeth’ at a church ready for local mission and expansion.
For example, the International Baptist Church at Bielefeld, Germany, with around 50 adults and 30 children in attendance, is currently looking for such a pastor. If anyone might be interested, then they can contact the International Baptist Convention through the website. However, regardless of this opportunity, there are others, both in Europe and beyond, who could really benefit from a visionary pastor from the UK to help plant, inspire, grow and bless this section of the Baptist family of churches. Why not take a look at the IBC website
, or better still, give them a call, as many of the vacant churches are not listed there.