The Bible Fellowship Church began in 1858 with seven revivalists in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania. The revivalists held progressive views for their time. They preached the gospel through enthusiastic, evangelistic prayer meetings. The prayer meetings came under scrutiny of the church conference leaders. Rather than change the style of their outreach ministry, the revivalists decided to break away from the conference and form their own denomination.
The ministry grew rapidly because of fervent prayer meetings and an emphasis on evangelism. By 1920 the new denomination was double what it had been in 1900. In the next twenty years, it doubled again.
The denomination became known as the Mennonite Brethren in Christ, Pennsylvania Conference and was influenced early by the Wesleyan holiness movement (like most American churches in the northeastern United States). However, by 1959, it was evident that the doctrines, practices, and church government were so different than our Mennonite roots that a name change was necessary to accurately describe the denomination. In 1959, the denomination adopted the official name of Bible Fellowship Church.
A New Name
Bible Fellowship Church is an apt name. Why were these words chosen to describe the denomination?
- Bible, because there is a biblical basis for every doctrine and practice.
- Fellowship, because our life in Christ is tied to our union to Jesus and to each other, and because our interconnection is also beneficial to the spiritual strength of the church.
- Church, because our gathering together is what helps to define the visible church.
Since the 1950s the Bible Fellowship Church has expanded well beyond the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania. Today the Bible Fellowship Church denomination includes about 70 congregations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, New York, Maryland, Florida, New Mexico, and Mexico. In total, there are about 10,000 BFC worshippers worldwide each Sunday morning.
We welcome you to become a part of this expanding fellowship of churches.
To find a Bible Fellowship Church near you, use our local church finder.
To find out how to become a pastor in the BFC, please visit this page.