The foundation for the United Methodist Church of Burundi was laid as early as 1937 when American missionaries from the World Gospel Mission arrived in Burundi. Over the next forty years, the World Gospel Mission run by foreign missionaries expanded its activities in the country. However, not until 1980, when the leadership of this church was handed over to Burundian nationals, innovations such as holistic ministry and African traditional music were introduced, did the organization really begin to flourish. And, when these changes, including the instruction of a new church name, the Evangelical Episcopal Church, were not accepted by the World Gospel Mission, local leaders began to negotiate with United Methodist Church in order to become a part of it. The fruit of three years of international negotiations was the 1984 incorporation of the Evangelical Episcopal Church of Burundi by The United Methodist Church.