A Brief Introduction to Yokohama International Baptist Church
In 1951 members of the U.S. Armed Forces, feeling the need for a firm Christian witness in Japan, organized into the Yokohama Baptist Fellowship. In 1960, the growing conviction that a church was needed in the Yokohama community resulted in the establishment of the English speaking Yokohama Baptist Church. The first service was held on 27 November, 1960 at the Yokohama Silk Center with Reverend W.H. Jackson as the Pastor. YIBC joined the Japan Baptist Convention from its inception.
The present church building was completed in 1963 and renovated in 2001. In the late 1960s YIBC sponsored a Japanese Mission congregation that grew into Yokodai Baptist Church, which has in turn sponsored several other Japanese missions. Our history is rich with the contributions of many devoted pastors, who until 2001 were all Southern Baptist missionaries, supported by the International Mission Board (IMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). Beginning in 2001, the church began selecting non-IMB missionaries as pastors. In 2014, we became an independent Japanese Religious Entity, and left the Japan Baptist Convention. We subsequently joined the Hawaii Pacific Baptist Convention (HPBC), where YIBC became a founding church of the Asia Baptist Network, which functions as an association of International Baptist Churches under the HPBC.
With the gradual decline in the number of U.S. Military personnel in Japan in the 70s and 80s, the membership of YIBC changed gradually from primarily U.S. military personnel to a diverse mixture of expatriates from many different nations and English-speaking Japanese. With the closing of the Negishi Navy housing area near the church, YIBC has continued to grow and change to be more bilingual and incorporate more Japanese, while maintaining our international distinctiveness. Today we have many who speak primarily Japanese who are part of our church.
Our desire is to be a truly international congregation reaching out to the diverse international city of Yokohama, with a strong emphasis on reaching our Japanese friends and neighbors. We have adopted as our path for the future this vision statement that we believe God would have us seek to fulfill. "We exist to glorify God by prayerfully equipping followers of Christ through the Word of God to serve each other in loving unity regardless of language or culture and reproduce in new believers and new churches."
We invite you to experience our "Church for the Nations" where we want you to know above all the love and good news of Jesus Christ!