The International Baptist Church of Düsseldorf began, back in 1983, as a small home Bible study; made up of American and British people living and working in Düsseldorf and the surrounding area.
In early 1984, shortly before most of the group were to be transferred back to the U.S. and the United Kingdom, they had to make a decision – namely whether to continue as a house Bible study group, and hope that others would come in and help keep it going, or to seek to establish an international English-language church directed toward reaching the many internationals coming to Düsseldorf and surrounding area to work.
The group began to pray about this matter and felt very strongly that they should seek to begin an international-type church. They counseled with Dr. John Merritt, Executive Secretary of the English language European Baptist Convention (now known as International Baptist Convention), who suggested they contact the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention in the U.S.A. and request it to send a missionary couple to Düsseldorf to begin such work here.
With the help of the European Baptist Convention (EBC), the Düsseldorf Baptist Mission (DBM) was founded as a mission in the first half of 1984. DBM was sponsored by Emmanuel Baptist Church in Kerkrade, Netherlands, who also supplied the first pastor, Steven Garnett.
In October 1984, DBM had 8 members and 1 member in the Pastoral Care Program. Düsseldorf Baptist Mission celebrated its first Thanksgiving as newly founded mission on November 25, 1984.
The church met each Sunday at the American International School of Düsseldorf (AISD, now the International School of Düsseldorf) in the city’s Kaiserswerth district and began to reach out to everyone even before being established as a Baptist church. “God’s Word says that all Christians are “one in Christ Jesus.” We welcome everyone and invite all to come …”, wrote Steven Garrett in a letter dated December 3, 1984.
In May 1985, Dr. and Mrs. W.J. DeLay were appointed by the Foreign Missionary Board to come to Düsseldorf. They arrived in Germany in October 1985. They lived for a short time in Bremen, learning German at the Goethe Institut. Then, in March 1986, they moved to Düsseldorf to begin their work.
On December 6, 1992 the Düsseldorf Baptist Mission became an independent church, and the International Baptist Church of Düsseldorf (IBCD) was established. At that time, IBCD had 53 members and an average weekly attendance of 100-135 people from 19 different nations. IBCD joined as a full member the European Baptist Convention (now the International Baptist Convention) in 1993 and continued to meet at the International School of Düsseldorf (ISD) in Kaiserswerth before relocating to the premises of the German Baptist Church in Ratingen (Evangelisch-Freikirchliche Gemeinde Ratingen). During that time, the choir was formed and regular practices commenced.
In 1996, IBCD leased the land and purchased the buildings at Am Bauenhaus 30, 40472 Düsseldorf (Rath district) for DM 660,000 (deutschmarks) and moved from Ratingen to Düsseldorf. The purchase was supported by 10 families giving DM 10,000 each. At the same time, IBCD applied for a license to operate an interdenominational Christian pre-school. The license was granted on July 1, 1996, and Noah’s Ark opened in September that year, with Jane Bacon, wife of Rev. Darwin Bacon, as its first Director.
In 1997, 18 children from nine different nations were already enrolled at Noah’s Ark.
Rev. Darwin Bacon was the last pastor at IBCD supported by the Foreign Mission Board. Before leaving, he worked with the Church Council to determine whether the church was strong enough to be self-supporting. At that time, IBCD had around 120 worshippers, and Noah’s Ark was running at full capacity. The church leadership worked through a plan of self-determination, and the church voted to become self-supporting. Dr. Glenn Igleheart was supported by the Foreign Mission Board as well, but served only as interim pastor before Ricardo Machiné started as the first pastor supported purely by internal means.
In 2003, the 120-seat sanctuary was enlarged to seat 180.
The building used by Noah’s Ark was badly damaged in a fire in March 2012, which led IBCD to undertake the largest rebuilding project since purchasing the buildings in 1996. The rebuild produced more space for Noah’s Ark and opened up the ability to start a dedicated Children’s Church. The new Children’s Wing opened in August 2013, just in time for the start of the Noah’s Ark school year. Noah’s Ark closed in 2015.
IBCD reached its 20-year anniversary in December 2012 and celebrated this important milestone with a fun-filled weekend in May 2013.
Today, IBCD has around 100 members and a weekly attendance of approximately 150. We have two Sunday services (9:30 AM and 11:15 AM), several small groups and Bible study classes during the week, as well as other opportunities for fellowship.
Here is a full list of all pastors who have served at IBCD:
Dr. Bill Delay with his wife Cathy
Maurice Fain with his wife Delorus
Rev. Darwin Bacon with his wife Jane
Dr. Glenn Igleheart with his wife Nancye
Ricardo Machine with his wife Judy
William Wade with his wife Tulsi
David Packer with his wife Lana
Harry Smith with his wife Joyce
Jeff Hinman with his wife Cindy
Emmanuel Baptist Church, Kerkrade, The Netherlands: http://www.ebc-nl.org/
International School of Düsseldorf: http://www.isdedu.de/
International Baptist Convention: http://www.ibc-churches.org/
Foreign Mission Board: http://fmbnbc.org/aboutus.html
For History of Baptist Churches in Germany, visit https://www.befg.de/welcome-en/history/