Church started in 1996
Our local church was founded in June 1996 with seven charter members under the leadership of missionary Pastor Tom Ruhkala. From the beginning, the meetings of the church were held in Finnish and the name of the church was ‘Perinteinen Baptistiseurakunta’ (Finnish for ‘Traditional Baptist Church’). Tom and Linda Ruhkala came to Finland in 1980 with their three children and served under Baptist Mid-Missions in Finland for 38 years to plant the church.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union from 1991 to 1999, Pastor Tom accepted invitations to preach in Russian Baptist churches and teach seminars from St. Petersburg to Murmansk. Perinteinen Baptistiseurakunta provided much-needed Russian Christian literature and other necessities for the believers there.
Change to international ministry in 2007
In 2007, the church decided to focus on an international ministry in the city of Tampere, and ‘International Baptist Church of Tampere’ was launched. Sunday services, Bible studies, and evangelistic outreaches were conducted mainly in English.
New pastor and name change in 2018
In May 2018, Miska Wilhelmsson was installed as the first national pastor of International Baptist Church. With a renewed focus on developing the Finnish-speaking ministry of the church it became apparent that a new name was needed, one that would work well in both English and Finnish. Therefore, in September 2018 the church unanimously decided to change its name from ‘International Baptist Church’ to ‘Grace Baptist Church – Armon Baptistiseurakunta’ in order to have a name that works better in both languages and also reflects a central commitment to the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24).