Six months after resigning as senior pastor of Eastview Christian Church in Bloomington, Illinois, after his son, Caleb Baker, was fired from his job as a pastor at Central Christian Church following an extramarital affair with another church staffer, Pastor Mike Baker has launched a new church set to begin gathering this month.
Baker, who made the announcement on his YouTube channel on Aug. 20, has named his new ministry Song & Sword Church after his online ministry and will begin meeting at The Chateau Hotel and Conference Center in Bloomington on Sept. 10.
“I’m encouraging you to attend our opening day of worship September 10, at nine o’clock at the Chateau Hotel and Conference Center,” he said. “The Chateau Hotel is our place where we’ve signed a contract. And we’re going to meet there, at least for the next year, foreseeable future, and it’s a great location.”
Baker said the last six months for him and his family has been like going through “a Category 5 soul hurricane” that came with “spirit-tossing winds and tidal waves [of] just emotional pain.”
Through it all, he said, they learned that “God was still in charge” and they received spiritual direction for the new ministry.
“God blessed us, and I believe in the Holy Spirit moment. God directed us to Psalm 149, and so that’s what we’re going to be today as we look at His vision for the Song and Sword ministry,” Baker said.
In June, independent investigators for Eastview Christian Church concluded that Pastor Caleb Baker used his position in the church to “persuade women to engage in sexual activity.” Mike Baker, according to the report, exhibited a “serious conflict of interest,” and “should have recused himself due to his conflicting loyalties and allowed others in leadership to exercise proper biblical discipline regarding Caleb.”
The conclusions were made public in an 11-page report produced by attorneys from the law firm Wagenmaker & Oberly about three months after being hired by the church to investigate Caleb Baker’s alleged sexual misconduct, the alleged cover-up and the impact of power dynamics upon staff and the congregation from Baker and Eastview’s upper-level leadership.
Allegations that Baker covered up his son’s sexual misconduct erupted in February after Central Christian Church in Arizona announced Caleb Baker’s firing after he was caught in an extramarital affair with another church staffer.
Eastview Christian Church elders said in an earlier statement that they only became aware of allegations of abuse against Caleb Baker after he left the church in 2016.
It was not until July 2022 that they got a complaint from a former employee alleging an abusive culture in 2016.
When Eastview Christian Church attempted to have Mike Baker questioned as part of an internal investigation, elders alleged that he resigned instead and insisted he was not involved in a cover-up of his son’s indiscretions.
“When people say Mike Baker is covering things up, I didn’t know. What I do know is that at Christmas time, we resolved — one of the most trusted members of our staff ever — resolved that there’s no conclusion here. Can’t prove or disprove these allegations and I thought it was done,” Mike Baker said about an attempt to investigate initial rumors of the allegations against his son while he was working at Eastview Christian Church in 2015.
In his recent announcement about his new church, Baker said he isn’t “seeking revenge” or trying to compete with Eastview Christian Church.
“Song and Sword Church, I’ve gotta say this from the beginning, is not about competing with Eastview Christian Church. With a clear conscience, the Holy Spirit is my witness, I can tell you, I’m not seeking revenge; I don’t hate Eastview. I don’t hope they fail. I love Eastview Christian Church,” Baker said.
“I’ve given half of my life to that place. I love the people there. I love all the stuff that has happened in my life there, and I pray that God is going to use them in a powerful way,” he added.
He urged his followers that if they plan on joining Song & Sword Church in retaliation “to stick it to somebody” to not join because his new church is about Jesus.
“I just need to say this from the very beginning, we are at war, but Eastview or Vale or any other of the 124 churches in this town are not our enemy,” he said. “If you just want to stick it to somebody, and that’s why you’re joining Song and Sword, I’m just asking you, don’t join us … because I believe that God will never bless a church that is trying to seek harm or competition with another church, which is His body.”
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