Herman Lauster and Lamar McDaniel started the European Bible Seminary in 1958. It first operated as a national school in Germany (1958-63) and then as a European school in Switzerland (1963-72). The school returned to Germany in 1973 under the leadership of Heinrich Scherz (1973-89). The EBS extension Ministries began in 1982 with H. Scherz as the first Director (1982-84) followed by Philip Morris (1984-96) and Peter Thomas (1997-2001).
Peter Croxton led the first extension programs in Scotland and England in 1982. The Netherlands joined next in 1984 under the direction of S.K.The and Christian Swift. In 1986 Charles Lambert and Antonio Ramirez organised extension ministries in Spain and Portugal. France and Belgium followed in 1988, led by Daniel Allier and Daniel Baumgartner. The Yugoslavian Extension started in 1988 under Mjajlo Andrejic and Josip Jendricko but did not function between 1991-94 because of war. Paul Schmidgall started EBS extensions in Israel in 1990.
Prior to 1990, the ETS Extension Ministries were mainly random seminars based on courses offered at EBS. They were taught by national educators with supplementary assistance from EBS teachers. At the 1990 Church of God Leadership Conference in Kniebis, Germany, an EBS Forum was organised for extension workers and EBS personnel. In that forum, by laws were adopted for the first time, and the idea was born to work toward an organised curriculum which would parallel the Foundations Course of the EBS residency program.
In 1992-93 requests were received from Austria and Spain to establish schools which would teach the EBS Foundations Course. Pilot programs were started by Moise Gaode in Vienna (1992) and by Manuel Fernandez in Madrid (1993). A vision to expand the Seminary’s ministry was born in 1993-94 during a time of spiritual renewal. At that time, the Lord called EBS to a ministry of reconciliation between age groups, genders, cultures and denominations. Taking this call seriously, the Seminary leadership subsequently dedicated the European Schools of Christian Ministry to its present emphasis on reconciliation. The EBS Faculty and Board of Directors approved the programme during the 1993-94 school year. Its name was changed from EBS Extension Ministries to the European Schools of Christian Ministries (ESCM).
Jorge Giron became Education Co-ordinator for Eastern Europe in 1993. Since that time he has organised teaching centres in Russia, Ukraine and Latvia. Three centres have been established in Serbia under the leadership of Miroslav Radovanovic (1994), and five centres have been established in Germany by Paul Schmidgall (1995). Rodney Friend became Education Co-ordinator for Western Europe in 1996 and has helped start centres in Ireland, Italy Netherlands, France and Portugal.
ESCM was restructured for future growth in 1996. A Co-ordinating Committee and Board of Education were created to assist the EBS President in further expansion. These changes now enable the Church of God to establish national schools in each country which it serves in Europe. These national schools operate under the national C.E. Director but by connection through syllabi and qualified teachers they are also bona fide extension schools.
Through the ministry of Peter Thomas the Training of Teachers (T.O.T.) programme was begun in Africa to develop a trained leadership which in turn would train others. Also an extension was started in Dubai, so to reflect the wider ministry of ESCM the name was changed again to Extension Schools of Christian Ministries, (keeping the same initials) in the year 2000.
The European Bible Seminary transferred its location in 2002 to Kniebis in the Black Forest. The decision was taken at that time to change its name to the European Theological Seminary (ETS).
There has been significant activity among the Romanian diaspora where Martin Schaser has begun centres in Italy, Spain and Ireland, since 2000. The Latvian School of Christian Ministries, headed by Agris Ozolinkevics has operated as an ESCM since 2000. In 2006 the Church of God in the Catalonia region of Spain began an ESCM, headed by Mariani Chavez and then by Manuel Martin-Arroyo from 2008.
Otniel Pesel responded to the call from German speaking Romanians in Austria and began an on-line extension in 2009, using existing teaching resources and adding to them to develop this form of delivery. Around this time the New Jerusalem Church of God in Brussels, Belgium began a French speaking extension the FFTB, headed by Edmond Malonda. The significant development in these more recent extensions has been the presence of academically trained teachers on site. This has the advantage of reducing the number of visits by ETS faculty and eliminates the need for translation.