Founding Days


Falls Baptist Church began 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


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 250 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.  By 2012, over 160 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 80 missionaries and 25 organizations.  Our pastoral staff and members take missions trips throughout each year. 


Increased Prayer


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.  We believe that God answers prayer!


We look forward to the days ahead, expecting God to do great and mighty things!







1974 Falls Baptist Church organized (Dave Barba, pastor)

1975 Land purchased

1976 First church building completed

1981 Educational wing completed

1984 Falls Baptist Academy founded

1986 Dr. Wayne Van Gelderen called to pastorate

1988 Present auditorium completed

1989 Remodeled existing phase I & II building

1991 12+ acres of adjoining property purchased

1992 Office & educational wing completed

1996 Expansion of auditorium, new fellowship hall and educational building (23,000 square feet)

1998 Baptist College of Ministry founded

2001 Seminary and Graduate degree programs begun

2005 Reformers Unanimous addictions program started

2006 Faith Promise missions giving started

2007 24 hour, seven day a week prayer chain begun

2008 First professional orchestra/choir recording produced

2010 Falls Institute of Training certificate program begun

2013 Heritage Center completed (21,000+ square feet)