A Brief History of the Great Lakes Baptist Conference

On a Saturday in June1869, a small community of believers, approximately forty of them, gathered in a schoolhouse just outside of Grantsburg, Wisconsin.

After undergoing severe persecution in their home country, they had been led on another journey.
Submitting themselves to further hardship of travel, language barriers, loneliness and difficult terrain, they were answering a call to worship and service to their King. They had set out to “take the gospel into all the world, making disciples and baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit”.

What may have been just part of the journey to them has become history to us today. This gathering, led by Pastor and Mrs. John Ring, is today known to be the first of many churches that would make up the Great Lakes Baptist Conference. With this gathering, a movement began with new churches springing up throughout the region, birthed out of this original group.


On July 1870, the first baptism took place in Pine Lake. Since that day, the story goes on of lives changed, baptisms, and churches opening and expanding their facilities, impacting whole communities.  The Great Lakes Baptist Conference continues to grow throughout the region, to be a family of those who are united in mission, sharing a common vision and dedicated to seeing the local church – the Body of Christ, the hope of the world continue to thrive.

Recognizing we can accomplish more when we unite and that we were created to serve our God in community, the Great Lakes Baptist Conference was officially organized in as the conferences of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan merged in 1967. This organization includes a wide variety of established churches and church plants throughout the region today.

Beginning in a few Indian tribes and spreading with the arrival of Swedish immigrants, the GLBC has its roots in a celebration of diversity. With the diversity represented in the Body there is an unmistakable oneness. We share a common vision, a mission to glorifying God through connecting, mobilizing and reproducing healthy churches. We are committed to taking the gospel to our neighborhoods, our cities, and our world. The relationships were formed by working together side by side and this has led to the starting of new churches, the sending of missionaries, and the healthy spiritual formation of believers. Like many brush strokes, colors, textures on a masterful painting, the Great Lakes Baptist Conference is thousands of individual stories of God’s life changing transformation making up the bigger picture of beauty, hardship, perseverance, grace, and the hope in Jesus Christ at work in the local church – the Body of Christ, today.