IBURA is a Swahili word of Arabic origin meaning - "something wonderful, a miracle, a very rare occurrence".
It is also an acronym for the Independent Baptist Union Reaching Africa, which is a fellowship of like-minded Independent Baptist preachers (African & American pastors and missionaries) who have come together to help plant Independent Baptist Churches on the continent of Africa.
IBURA started in October 2005 when a group of African national pastors met with missionary Tim Whitfield in Arusha, TANZANIA. Additional meetings have been held in Nairobi, KENYA and Mwanza, TANZANIA.
The glue that holds us together is a common statement of faith, without regard for what school one attended, what "camp" one hails from, or even what mission agency one chooses to associate with. The basis of our union is two-fold: 1) BIBLE DOCTRINES, and 2) BAPTIST DISTINCTIVES. We emphasize loyalty to THE SON OF GOD, THE WORD OF GOD, and THE CHURCH OF GOD! Any Independent Baptist preacher (pastor or missionary) who is in agreement with our statement of faith is welcome to work with us. We readily admit that our statement of faith will be viewed by many as "narrow-minded". Therefore, we do not expect everyone to be as excited about this ministry as we are. Quite simply, we are more concerned about taking a strong, Scriptural, Baptist position than how "big" IBURA may become.
IBURA is a local church ministry under the authority of the Heritage Baptist Temple in Little Rock, Arkansas. In Africa (specifically TANZANIA) it operates as a ministry of the Tabora Baptist Temple, which is a missionary outreach of Heritage.
IBURA also has a group of Independent Baptist Pastors who serve as an advisory council with the knowledge and consent of Pastor D.W. Smith of Heritage. Each of these men is the pastor of the sending church for an Independent Baptist missionary serving in Africa.
IBURA is NOT a mission board, a clearinghouse, or a sending agency. In fact, most of the missionaries who work with us are sent by & through their local church (including their support).