A dear friend resigns, has bright future

A dear friend, Brian Baker, has resigned his position at First Baptist Church, Belton. I’m sure Brian would appreciate our prayers as he seeks the Lord’s guidance. Brian is a terrific minister and was an outstanding member of the Missouri House of Representatives for many years before he was term limited. Here is the official press release on Brian’s decision:

Baker Resigns Ministry Position at FBC Belton; Focusing on Future

Belton, Missouri – In a surprise announcement, Brian Baker announced his departure from First Baptist Church of Belton this past week after over 16 years of service. Baker, a former Belton City Councilman, former State Representative for the 123rd District, and current Associate Commissioner of Cass County, announced that after much prayer and consideration it was time for him to move on from the ministerial position and look to new opportunities.

While Baker grew up at First Baptist, he did not join the ministerial staff until 1994. “I remember coming home to serve at the request of Dennis Dahmer, the Chairman of the Deacons at the time,” stated Baker. “He said the church needed a youth pastor and they felt it was good for me to return home and help the church.”

Dennis Dahmer, still a deacon in the church, commented that Baker had been a tremendous asset to the church. “He loves people and loved the work. He would work late hours, Saturdays, and do what had to be done to help us share the love of Christ. He will be missed but we wish him well in his endeavors. He served well and we are thankful for him.”

While serving as a youth pastor, Baker also served Heartland High School & Academy, the Christian school sponsored by First Baptist Church. During his tenure he coached, was a teacher, interim superintendent, and a school counselor.

In the early part of his work at First Baptist, Baker organized over 15 youth camps that served hundreds of students. He led two major mission campaigns with the nationally recognized Power Team, a group that show-cases feats of strength and emphasizes a drug free life to students. Baker took the Power Team into public schools to share a positive message of living a drug free lifestyle. He also led concerts with Christian recording artists like Rebecca St. James and the Imperials.

“I remember having dinner with Rebecca and her father,” stated Baker. “She was just starting out…and her first album was a huge hit. She won new artist of the year that year. She packed the house when she came to the church.” St. James went on to become a major recording artist in the Christian music industry.

In 1999 Baker took on the role of Minister of Education & Missions leading the church Bible study ministries and mission programs.  When taking on this role, Baker took a real interest in foreign missions. In 2000 he took a men’s basketball team to Scotland for a two week tour of schools.

“It was an amazing trip. We toured schools put on clinics and shared our faith with students. They absolutely were hanging on every word we said. It was a great experience and the school officials loved us because we really emphasized staying in school and working hard.” During the tour, Baker was awarded the Highland Service Shield from members of the Scottish Highland council.

Baker also led two mission teams to Romania, which he states was life changing. “We don’t understand what people who lived under Communism went through,” commented Baker. “My generation is a recipient of the Cold War victory, but when we went to Romania we saw the results of Communism. I saw a man show me his back where the police whipped him and left scares because he had a church meeting in his home. I met a man who had his legs broken because he was caught giving Bibles away in his village. We forget that there are countries that do not or have not always shared our freedoms.”

In recent years, Baker has focused on helping the church be more involved in the community. From entering parades to promoting community programs in the church, Baker felt it was important for church members to go to fairs, community festivals, and other similar events.

“I just wanted our church to support our community and local businesses,” Baker said. “We are great community and we have a chance to really have a positive impact. I think churches have to get outside their four walls be a part of the community and it was great to see people in our church do that.”

The interesting part of Baker’s service at First Baptist was that he worked alongside his father, Pastor David Baker. “From time to time you will see a father-son team in a church, but not often and often it does not work,” commented Pastor Baker. “However, Brian and I shared a passion and I can say it was a true honor to work with my son. I am thankful the church called him and asked him to serve with me. It truly was a blessing to my ministry. It is hard to see him go. I will miss working with him very much.”

Baker agreed. “I think the toughest part about stepping down is not being able to work with dad. He is more than a best friend…he is my father. He taught me to love people and was a true mentor.”

From 2000 to today Baker both served as an associate pastor and as an elected official. Her served on the Belton City Council and then in 2002 was elected to the Missouri House. In 2008 he was elected to the Cass County Commission.

Baker noted that the concept of serving as a minister and holding public office is not a new concept. “It’s not uncommon to see clergy serve the public,” stated Baker. “While we don’t agree on many issues, I admired Emmanuel Cleaver for serving while he also served as a minister. It was great to be involved and simply work to help people. It keeps you grounded.”

What is next for Baker?

He simply says he has new opportunities before him and it was time to leave First Baptist on and move on. “I love serving the citizens of Cass County. They are truly great people with a great passion for their communities. The citizens are the reason we succeed. It is an honor to serve and I simply want to focus on that.”

Baker noted that he will remain a member of First Baptist Church and volunteer. “I love my church. I grew up here and my kids love it here. The people are so kind here and loving. I plan on attending services and serving as a volunteer.” Baker noted he will also continue to volunteer as a basketball coach for Heartland High School.

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