East Balsam Baptist Church has been ministering to Polk County for more than 100 years. We are affiliated with Converge:Great Lakes, known, formally, as Baptist General Conference.
East Balsam Baptist Church was formed in 1904 by a group of Swedish immigrants who had settled in the area bordering the eastern shore of Balsam Lake. The members of the church met in homes until a building was constructed in 1912 to house the congregation. The church functioned without a full-time pastor until in the 1920s when the first pastor, Werner Nelson, was called to minister to them. Until then, services were led by lay pastors, state missionaries, and traveling pastors. Beginning with Pastor Rawlin Johnson, who was called to be the pastor in the 1940s, the church has established a long tradition of having pastors, who have just recently graduated from Bethel Seminary. Nine of the thirteen individuals who have ministered to EBBC have come to East Balsam as their first pastorate.
In 1999, 15 acres of land were purchased on which to build a new church, and that church building was finished and dedicated in 2002. Our last pastor, Rev. David Sollitt, was in our pulpit for 13 years and was a major force behind the construction of our new church building.
East Balsam Baptist Church has, from its inception, been a member of the Baptist General Conference, also known as Converge. (Formerly the Swedish Baptist Convention), and, therefore, has also been a member of the Wisconsin Baptist Conference, and its successor the Great Lakes Baptist Conference. EBBC has strong ties with Bethel University (College) and Seminary. A number of our members have attended and/or graduated from Bethel College and, as previously noted, all of our previous pastors have attended and/or graduated from Bethel Seminary.
In years past, East Balsam Baptist Church has been influential in establishing new church plants in Amery, Cumberland, and Luck, Wisconsin.
Members of our congregation come from within a radius of approximately 15 miles, from St. Croix Falls on the west, to Pipe Lake on the east, Luck to the north, and Amery to the south. We have a very large area in which to evangelize. Our area used to be heavily agricultural. Over the years the community has gradually changed. While agriculture is still a significant land use component in the area, we also have many beautiful lakes which have been heavily developed into residential and vacation areas. Some of the residences are seasonal in nature but many are now full-time year-round homes.
Occupationally, our church demographic tends to match the general population of the area. We have a small number of active farmers and a higher number of retired farmers or former farmers who have moved into some other occupation. There are also retirees from other industries who are either local to the area or who have taken up their summer lake home as their year-round residence. Our congregation also includes teachers and school aides, factory workers, employees at local businesses, and several who commute to the Twin Cities for employment.