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!