Our History

Proclaiming the truth in Menomonee Falls

for over 40 years


Founding Days

The history of Falls Baptist Church begins in August, 1974. Dave Barba, a recent college graduate, came as a young man fervent in his belief that a dynamic church could be planted in the Milwaukee area. During his twelve years as pastor, the church grew rapidly by reaching out to the community with the gospel. The church also secured ten acres of land and built an auditorium and educational wing totaling about 11,000 square feet. In 1984, Falls Baptist Academy was founded, and the Academy began with thirty-one students, kindergarten through sixth grade. The congregation had grown to about 250.


New Pastor, New Growth

In 1986, Pastor Barba was called into evangelism. Dr. Wayne Van Gelderen, Jr., then co-pastor of Marquette Manor Baptist Church in Downers Grove, IL, was called to pastor this dynamic ministry. Within two years of Pastor Van Gelderen’s arrival, the church built a new 550 seat auditorium and nursery wing. An additional twelve acres were purchased, adjacent to the church’s property. The church’s rapid growth necessitated the building of a new educational wing and the development of a change in ministry philosophy. In February, 1992, the central hub of all of the church’s ministries became the Sunday School. The church divided every age group from preschool to adults into small groups. Many of the adult members of the church were trained in evangelism and the philosophy of our Sunday School and became active participants in the ministry.


Continued Growth & Expansion

The new Sunday School ministry strengthened our church’s growth. In June, 1996, a 23,000 square foot addition was completed. This project involved the expansion of our auditorium to more than eight hundred seats. The stage’s size was dramatically increased to accommodate our growing music program. Also, a new fellowship hall and education wing was built. This building enabled our adult departments to expand and gave more room for our elementary Sunday School and our academy’s high school. The church has enjoyed solid growth throughout the years as our people have consistently reached out to the community with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our music program has grown to be one of the largest in the area with over 700 lessons being given every week.


Baptist College of Ministry

In 1998, Baptist College of Ministry was founded as an important extension of the church’s ministry, and the Theological Seminary was started in 2001. Today, there are over one hundred and thirty full-time and part-time students enrolled. In 2016, over 200 students have graduated from BCM. Many of the graduates are serving the Lord across the U.S.A. and around the world. Students from at least twenty states and six countries have attended our school.


Expanded Outreach

God has been growing the church’s burden for the Milwaukee area and for world-wide missions. We thank God that over the years forty men have been sent out around the world from this church. In 2005, our church started a Reformer’s Unanimous chapter. RU is a ministry to the addicted that meets every Friday night. In 2006, Faith Promise giving toward missions began, and our church’s missions’ giving doubled in four years. Our church has the privilege of supporting 64 missionaries and 17 organizations. Our pastoral staff and members take missions trips throughout each year.


Increased Prayer & Blessing

Prayer has increased dramatically over the past few years. In 2007, a 24-hour, seven days a week, prayer chain was started. Once a month, the church sets aside a day of prayer and fasting for revival. Each week, members meet for prayer on Wednesday night and Saturday evening. As we have looked to the Holy Spirit to lead each prayer meeting, God has increased the passion for corporate prayer.

In the most recent days, it has been amazing to watch God stir the hearts of many of our people who are now spending an hour with God in prayer every day. As a result, we are seeing God do incredible things in our midst. We have a God Who delights to answer prayer! In 2008 we recorded the first of many music recordings that have gone around the world and blessed many. In 2013, after a long journey of faith, the Heritage Center was completed. This college building has become an indispensable part of our daily life and Sunday ministry.