Profiles LPC/HCOG: Bob Baker

The majority of the current membership and attendance at Life Pointe have never heard of Bob Baker, but every one of you have felt his impact.

Background: Bob dedicated himself to the Lord in the early 80’s at Palmetto Church of God where my dad pastored. At the time, he was studying to be a nurse at Manatee Community College. Bob was commissioned by my dad, Pastor JT Johnson, to be the captain of the bus ministry. Every Saturday, Bob would jump in his convertible MG and drive all over Palmetto and Bradenton, knocking on doors and telling kids and families about Jesus and inviting them to church. Most of the homes he visited were low income and many were broken homes. Seeing dirty children, single mother families, children raised by their grandparents, and even some instances where cult religions were controlling the home wasn’t unusual. Bob was chased out of a few homes with violent threats and attempts, but that just made him want to work harder. For the most part, caregivers were glad to see Bob come around and gladly sent their kids to church with him on Sunday morning. Each Saturday, my brother Travis or I would go with Bob and spend the whole day knocking on doors and inviting other kids to church. Many of the snooty people in church would complain that they didn’t want these kids messing up their pretty church. These children were of many different ethnic backgrounds that were different from the background of some of the members of the church who complained. Honestly, they were prejudiced bigots who didn’t want the little kids invading their pretty little church. Bob Baker and my dad kept doing the work of the Lord. JESUS LOVES THE LITTLE CHILDREN!

In 1987, Bob moved to Homestead to work at Pathway Christian School and to work with the children’s ministry at the church. “The Bake”, as the kids at Pathway called him, would frequently be seen at church Sunday morning dressed as a clown for the children’s church. Sometimes, people would also see Bobo T Clown, aka Pastor Travis. Bob also brought with him his love for praise and worship music. This was a newer concept at the Homestead Church of God in ’87. Most of the songs led on Sunday morning were out of the red back hymnal. Bob loved “I Will Celebrate” and “Sing Unto the Lord” particularly, but he also enjoyed a lot of other Maranatha and Integrity worship songs.

The impact of Bob Baker’s work in the church here in Homestead and in Palmetto is enormous and it’s full implications will never be known until we get to Heaven. Because of Bob’s push for outreach and ministry to people of all colors and nationalities (which was really envisioned by Pastor JT Johnson prior to coming to Homestead), Travis Johnson was influenced to be outreach minded. The Moonlight Easter Egg Hunt is an activity that Bob would have been all over! To think of the link between Bob’s dedication to outreach and the current growth at LPC reminds me of the song “Thank You” by Ray Boltz. I have heard Pastor Travis attribute his desire to see people come to the lord through outreach in the community to the times he spent with Bob Baker in Palmetto on those Saturdays back in the 80’s.

I haven’t talked with Bob in a few years. Last I heard, he was practicing medicine as an MD in Waco, TX.

Thank you, Bob!

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7 Comments

Filed under church, life pointe, worship

7 responses to “Profiles LPC/HCOG: Bob Baker

  1. I’ve been a part of the Life Pointe Church family for 14 months (this week), but Life Pointe’s / Homestead Church Of God’s history is obviously rich, remarkable, and storied. As a modern history buff I absolutely adore spending time with Pastor J.T. because he likes to reminisce about those active Pastoring days, and I love to listen to him speak about them. I could spend an entire day just listening to his Life experiences. I also love to hear about the history of our church from Anne, Arlene, and Nancy. It’s so cool to hear how HCOG developed and evolved into the modern-day LPC.

  2. Ela

    What a great blessing that our church had people like that back then. I guess that Life Pointe is such a mixture of cultures and races because of the way both of you grew up. Thanks Anne and JT for teaching your children right from wrong and be blessed by the persons that they both turned out to be.

  3. Ela,
    I have to agree. My dad and his father were proponents of diversity. My dad even would say in church that if you don’t like people who look and sound different than you, you won’t like heaven.

    Chris,
    If someone doesn’t write down our history, it could be lost. There are so many stories that almost nobody has heard. I hope to share that with anyone who is willing to read and listen.
    pj

  4. Ela

    I can’t wait to read more. I find this very exciting. BTW It was great to speak to you yesterday, you blessed my day.

  5. Well, Phil, that was a nice trip down memory lane. Bobby was introduced to me by Russell and Ruth Crispin, after I had been at the Palmetto COG for a few months.

    I tried to make every church I pastored an “outreach” church. When Russell and Ruth heard we were starting a bus ministry they started attending and joined PCOG. Even though we didn’t have any buses or the money to buy just one, I felt a heavy annointing to challenge the faith of our congregation for this ministry. When the people and pastor of a previous church I had pastored in the Venice area heard about our bus ministry, they donated our first bus to us. Russell and Ruth were assigned that bus to be PCOG’s first bus captains. About a week later, God miraculously provided another bus paid for by an alcoholic who didn’t even attend church anywhere. Heheard about the bus minstry and said,”I wanna help kids get to go to Sunday School,” and raised a large portion of the money for our second bus. God will use all kinds of people to do His work if we will only let Him.

    The Crispins knew a young man, one Bobby Baker, who wanted to be a soul winner; they introduced him to PCOG and he quickly became its second bus captain. Bobby was energetic and wanted to give his best to the Lord. The competition between the Crispin and the Baker bus routes was good-natured, but very spirited as each tried to bring in more people each week than the other did.

    Each week we had a Saturday morning outreach workers’ breakfast prepared by our Martha Club–people who wanted to be a part of the outreach but for whatever reason could not go out on the streets to build the bus route for the next day. Then we had a powerful prayer-meeting/challenge service where each captain set a goal of how they many intended to contact, where each route would go and how many they were believing God would touch to ride on their bus to church. Sunday morning services exploded with brand new people. On Sunday night, bus workers gave testimonies about events, answered prayers, souls being saved, entire families coming to Christ and many miracles.

    It transformed our entire congregation. It took a lot of people to make it happen, just like our movie church does today. The church grew exponentially. We broke tithing records, attendance records and won the fastest growing Sunday School Award for the COGs in Florida.

    Travis, having been involved in bus services with Bus Worker Jack Barron in our prior pastorate at the Dover Church of God, had door-to-door ministry experience at the age of nine. Bobby was glad to have an experienced pro in a ten-year old co-worker on his Saturday route visits and Sunday pick-ups.

    Phillip, at the age of eight, helped in the bus ministry, too, and was immensely helpful with his musical gifts. He was a human metronome from the day he picked up his first drum stick. I bought him a used five-piece set of Ludwigs with Zildjin cymbals. I paid for six drum lessons by a professional musician until the teacher told me Phil had it in him and didn’t need the lessons.

    Today many of those kids that came to church on those old recycled school buses are now parents themselves, active in church and still following the magnificent Jesus that Bobby, Russell, Ruth, Travis, Phillip, and many others introduced them to in outreach ministry.

    I shall never forget those days as long as I am in my right mind. They were wonderful days, but they did not eclipse the wonder and excitement of what came along later at HCOG and is going on now at Life-Pointe Church.

  6. Phil, in case you and your readers don’t catch it, the Ol’ Atom-Splitter is your dad using Trav’s registration on your website to post. I am sorry for any confusion it may cause and I’ll get my own registration to your site.

  7. Dad,
    I knew it was you. Thanks for going deeper into the story than I could. Those were the days, eh? You need to get your blog back up and running! How hard is that to do? šŸ™‚

    Ela,
    You’re too cool. You go around blessing the stuffing out of everyone! Thanks for reading.
    pj

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