We're a movement of churches working together to start and strengthen transformational churches worldwide.
- 1250 churches
- 270,000 attendees
- 89% church plant success rate
This is Our Story
The mid-19th-century Swedes who emigrated to America in pursuit of religious freedom read the Bible with a hunger that gave reality to their claim that it was Word of God, their sole authority. Theirs was a theology of "redeeming grace" that gave central place to Christ and the cross. Faith meant transformed lives as well as doctrinal truth, a commitment of heart and will as well as of intellect. They demanded a spiritually reborn clergy and membership. They believed in believer’s baptism by immersion. And they had a strong conviction about living a holy life as followers of Jesus Christ.
The Swedish Baptist General Conference
These followers of Christ earnestly reached other Swedish immigrants with the life-changing message of the gospel, and eventually organized as a fellowship of churches called the Swedish Baptist General Conference. Our early years were characterized by rapid growth and perennial revival (1875, 1880s, 1890, 1895, etc.).
The Baptist General Conference
In 1945 the Baptist General Conference became the new name of our family of churches. Due to waning Swedish immigration, English had become the predominant language used in our churches, and more and more non-Swedish churches were planted and organized. Although U.S. demographics changed, the BGC’s core values remained the same. As a missional movement, the BGC became a multiethnic, worldwide family of believers and churches: diverse, yet committed to the common mission of fulfilling Christ’s great commission (Matthew 28:16-20) for the church.
Toward the end of the 20th century, the Baptist General Conference name began to lose its cultural currency. More than a fifth of all BGC churches had been planted within the prior 15 years, and a scant few wanted to identify themselves by the name Baptist. They held to Baptist convictions, but didn’t want to spend precious time refuting stereotypes of other Baptist leaders or groups. Meanwhile, the Baptist name put valuable missionaries and their national partners at risk in several countries overseas. Converge leaders saw the need to make a change.
In 2008 the board of overseers approved a new missional name, Converge Worldwide, while retaining the historic name Baptist General Conference in some settings and for legal purposes. The Converge name captures the strategy of starting and strengthening churches through the collaboration of 11 districts, approximately 1200 Converge churches and national and international ministries.
Different Names, Unchanging Values
The spiritual values of our forefathers continue today:
- Holding to a conversion-centered experiential faith under the stabilizing guidance and authority of the Scriptures.
- Matching evangelistic passion with a stress on growth and Christian holiness.
- Balancing doctrinal conservatism with an irenic (peaceable) spirit.
- Exercising a spirit of missionary and charitable outreach.
Today's Converge movement is spiritually dynamic, missionally driven, relationally devoted and culturally diverse.