History of North Sea

Prepared by Charles Bradshaw (Feb 1988) and Tom Blackaby (Sept 2004) and David W. Fresch (May 2010)

With thanks to Peder Liland 

North Sea Baptist church began as a mission for English speaking people in Stavanger, Norway on October 28, 1973. The eight families who signed a church covenant were among many Americans brought to Norway by oil companies after the discovery of oil in the North Sea. Assisting in the organizational meeting was Dr. J.D. Hughey of the Foreign Mission Board (SBC) Dr. Guenther Wieske, representing the European Baptist Federation, and Pastor Olav Frikstad of the Norwegian Baptist Church, Stavanger. At first, laymen of the church, as well as English speaking Norwegian pastors, led the services. Then a retired missionary, Slyde Dotson, became interim pastor for six months, followed by a retired pastor, James Middleton, for six months.

On June 1, 1975, 39 people became the charter members of North Sea Baptist Church, but without a permanent pastor. Norwegian pastor, Odd Ottesen served as pastor from October 1975 until August 1976, when John B. Hines was called as the church’s first full-time pastor. Hines had been serving as an English language pastor in Kitzingen, Germany. Hines served until December 9, 1978, when the church had grown to thirty-four families. From March 21 to August 12, 1979 Kenneth Glenn, a missionary in Iran who was forced to leave that country because of the revolution, served as North Sea’s pastor on a temporary basis. The church continued to grow during this time. In November 1979 membership had reached 118. Average attendance in Sunday school was 69. The church called John Smith (a missionary whose heart was in Indonesia, but unable to gain permanent visa there), who served from November 11, 1979 until April of 1982. During his pastorate the church grew to the point that more space was required, and the Methodist church building was rented, along with the Stavanger Baptist Church. Thereafter, worship services were held at the Methodist church and Sunday school classes met in both buildings. 

Dr. and Mrs. David Hause were called to serve the church on October 31, 1982. At the time, Hause was pastoring in Athens, Greece and had also served in Paris under a special assignment of the Foreign Mission Board. Dr. Hause led the church in making a cooperative arrangement with the Foreign Mission Board for securing of pastors and their compensation. The church prospered under Hause’s able Bible teaching and preaching. The church’s greatest financial strength was enjoyed during this time. Records show Sunday school attendance for the years 1984-87 to be 114, 112, 110, 112. The Hauses served for the longest time of any of the church’s pastors at that time. 

Upon the Hauses’ retirement, Charles and Louise Bradshaw assumed the pastorate on November 22, 1987. The Bradshaws were employed by the FMB on December 11, 1986 and assigned to Norway. After missionary orientation, they began language study in Oslo on May 15, 1987. They made a weekend trip to Stavanger to meet the church, be interviewed and preach in view of a call on June 7. The church extended a call on June 21 to begin November 22, 1987. Upon their arrival, the church membership numbered 106. Since August 13, 1981, the church has been assigned a Missionary Journeyman by the FMB to serve as director of Youth Ministry. In succession they have been Mark Thompson, Eric, Slaughter, Tom Blackaby and Bert Hickman. The church reimbursed the FMB for most of the cost of the pastor and Journeyman. 

Following the departure of Dr. Bradshaw in December of 1990, John Smith returned as pastor from Nov. 1991 to December 1994. He had previously served as pastor from Dec 1979-May 1980 and Sept. 1980- May 1982. John was succeeded by Charles and Sandy Smith who served as pastor from Jan. 1995- Sept 1999. They had previously served as pastor of an EBC church in Italy. Under the leadership of Charles and Sandy, the church voted to use saved funds to purchase a house on Marknesringen 27, Røyneberg where the pastor could live on the main level, the youth minister on the ground level, and an open space for meetings and fellowship would be created on the top floor. Also, during this time worship services were moved from the Methodist church to the IMI church which was located across the street from the Stavanger Baptist Church at the time. The Smiths led the church to be involved with the refugee centers around Stavanger, including Bible studies, benevolent ministry, Thanksgiving Dinners, and more. Charles and Sandy left the church to retire in the USA, but were called out of retirement to pastor a church in Dubai for the next 2 years.  

On March 29, 2000 Tom and Kim Blackaby, with their three children, Erin (8), Matthew (6) and Conor (6 wks) arrived to serve as pastor. Tom had previously served the church as youth pastor from 1985-1987. During Tom’s tenure, the church has stabilized at an average worship attendance of about 150, with around 120 members. In August 2001, NSBC worship services moved to the Advent church (Timoteievein 13, Mariero) which provided adequate Sunday school space, a baptistry and plenty of parking. Dr. Alex and Lidiane Branco, former missionaries in India under the Brazil Baptist Convention, have recently served as Associate Pastor from 2002 to 2005, and have recently left for Portugal.  During 2004 Blackaby led the church to pursue the now-developing idea of a church plant in Oslo with the cooperation of the International Baptist Convention and theNorwegian Baptist Union, and during the same year received Specialist Status from theNorwegian Government, giving him a permanent work permit. Blackaby also completed his D.Min. in April of 2004. 

Pastors and Interim Pastors of NSBC

Clyde Dotsen                             Nov 74-Mar 75

James Middleton                       Apr 75-Sept 75

Odd Essendrop Ottesen              Oct 75-July 76

John B. Hines                            Aug 76-Dec 78

Kenneth Glenn                            Mar 79-Aug 79

W.R. Lawrence                          Sept 79-Dec 79

John D. Smith                           Dec 79-May 80

John D. Smith                           Sept 80-May 82

Dr. David Hause                        Oct 82-Mar 87

Dr. Charles Bradshaw                 Nov 87-Dec 90

John Smith                               Nov 91-Dec 94

Charles Smith                            Jan 95-Sept 99

Dr. Tom Blackaby                      Mar 00- July 2007

Stephen Passmore January 2008 - December 2008

David W. Fresch October 2009 - Present

Journeyman Missionaries and Associate Pastors

Mark Thompson               1981-1983

Eric Slaughter                  1983-1985

Tom Blackaby                  1985-1987

Bert Hickman                   1987-1989

Mark Aderholt                  1994-1996

Jenny Montgomery          1998-2001

Alex Branco                     2002-2005

David Fresch                    2006-2009