The mid-19th-century the 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 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, baptized by immersion. Our early years were characterized by rapid growth and perennial revival (1875, 1880s, 1890, 1895, etc.).
The spiritual values of our forefathers continue today:
Today's Converge movement is spiritually dynamic, missionally driven, relationally devoted and culturally diverse.
The Swedish Baptist General Conference
Nearly 160 years ago, Swedish immigrants settled in the United States, having come to America primarily because of religious persecution. These followers of Christ, had a strong conviction about the Bible as the Word of God. They believed in believer’s baptism by immersion. And they had a strong conviction about living a holy life as followers of Jesus Christ. They began to reach 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.
The Baptist General Conference
The Baptist General Conference became the new name of our family of churches by 1945 as English became the predominant language used in our churches, and as more and more non Swedish churches were planted and organized. While the landscape of the U.S. dramatically changed, the core values of the BGC remained the same. We continued to affirm unequivocally, the Bible as the Word of God. A clear conviction about believer’s baptism and regenerate church membership remained strong. And the same concern and conviction for distinctive, strong, Christ-like living in a pagan and secular world, characterized our movement. As a missional movement, the Baptist General Conference became a beautiful multi-ethnic, world-wide family of believers and churches, diverse, yet committed to the common mission of fulfilling Christ’s great commission for the church.
In an effort to articulate the mission and message of Jesus in a more effective way all over the world, Converge was adopted as the missional name of our movement in 2008. Converge is the name that best captures for us the 3 fold strategy of Connecting God’s people around God’s purposes, to Ignite a passion for God and His Spirit, in order to Transform lives and communities all over our world.