Mt. Olive Lutheran Church
Pastor: Bill Baker
Born: Buffalo, NY
Formation: Rollins College, Winter Park, FL; Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO.
Years Ordained: 8
San Diego Reader: What’s your favorite subject on which to preach?
Pastor William Baker: Sharing the love and mercy and grace of God with all. That’s what we’re called to do. The church is the body of Christ. Christ on Earth ministered to the people and spoke about the beauty of what the kingdom of God truly meant and what it meant for the people. As a second-career guy, that’s a hot topic for me. I’ve wandered this world for some time and God got ahold of me and got my attention. He said, “Try it my way and see if life isn’t any better for you.” I did and it was.
SDR: Why did you become a minister?
PB: My wife and I gave birth to a son. I had grown up in the church and my wife had grown up in the church, and although in our married life we had never been in the church, baptism was still a thing we considered important. We looked around for a church simply to have our child baptized and found one. I felt like someone had not just told me about God but introduced me to him, and heard him speak to me for the first time. I was so moved by that, we became regular churchgoers and I became an elder at that church. I was so enamored by that experience that if I could convey that message to one other person in my life then I’ll have accomplished something.
SDR: What’s the mission of your church?
PB: We have a mission statement. By growing in God’s grace we extend his loving hand to all. It’s a nice way to say it, but it encapsulates a lot. We have received the grace of God and recognize that; in that grace, it’s our mission and our job as the church to extend that to the people in our neighborhoods, our community, our city. We are to be active in the city of Poway and involved to care for the various people in all walks of life to the extent that we can. Being a small congregation, we’re not rich or many, but [we] do what we can do with the resources God has given us.
SDR: Where do you go when you die?
PB: There’s no question about what happens. I will be absent from the body and to be absent from the body means to be present with the Lord. I will be in peace, in that place of heaven that exists until the time of the second coming when Jesus will unite us all with our glorified bodies and continue to live with him in paradise. All will be raised up on that last day, some to eternal life and some to the second death. That’s what the word of God says. But in terms of condemnation, I don’t put it that way. The simple truth is that God wants all to be saved and to be saved is simple — to have faith in what God did for us with Christ on the cross. The only way to be outside that salvation is through our own unwillingness to believe and respond. In essence, those who don’t get to heaven comes to down to stubbornness and disbelief.