The History of CBM

Grounded by the Past, Looking to the Future

Rehearsing Our Story

The story of Continental Baptist Missions begins with a small group of hardy pioneers in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Among them were Rev. and Mrs. Arthur Glen who were burdened by the practical needs of their fellow missionaries, many of whom worked under the most adverse circumstances. God led Arthur Glen to push for the founding of a service agency to meet those needs. In 1942 Hiawatha Land Independent Baptist Missions was born. An office was established in Escanaba, MI and Brother Glen was appointed Executive Director.

As a result, the landscape of Northern Michigan and Wisconsin is literally dotted with healthy, vibrant independent Baptist churches, a tribute to the tenacious pioneers who continued despite the sacrifice, skepticism, and scorn.

As missionary work expanded beyond the North Country, the Mission’s name changed to reflect the outward movement. In 1982, Hiawatha became Continental Baptist Missions.

Passing the Torch

Rev. Arthur Glen served as director until 1952, when his life was claimed in an automobile accident. Rev. Guy King then led ably for the next 21 years. Under Rev. Art Cunningham, the Mission office moved to Grand Rapids, MI and the name was changed to its present form. His ministry was cut short by a massive stroke in 1983, and he was succeeded by Rev. Charles Vermilyea. From 1991-2006 the Mission emerged as a “Partner in Church Planting” under the leadership of Dr. Gerald K. Webber. In May of 2006, the Mission Board extended the call to Rev. Bill Jenkin III to serve as CBM’s sixth president. A spiritual product of CBM missionary endeavors in the West, Brother Bill brings with him a desire to minister to the needs of the Mission family and local church alike.

Staying the Course

A great many things have changed since the early days of CBM—the really crucial things have not. Among those is CBM’s desire to assist churches and their missionaries in re-churching North America. Our Mission’s board, staff, and missionaries are united in their desire to make a difference in the spiritual landscape of the North American continent. We invite your prayers, your support, and your encouragement.