Pastor Mike Baker resigned as senior pastor of Eastview Christian Church in Bloomington, IL, six months ago after his son Caleb was fired from his position as a pastor at Central Christian Church due to an extramarital affair with another church staffer. They have started a new church that will begin meeting this month.
Pastor Mike Baker joins the new church
Baker made the news on his YouTube channel on August 20, and the new church, which he calls Song & Sword Church, will hold its first service on September 10 at The Chateau Hotels and Conferences Center in Bloomington.
On September 10 at 9 a.m., he remarked, “I’m encouraging you to attend our opening day of worship at the Chateau Hotel and Conference Center. We have an agreement with the Chateau Hotel. It’s a fantastic venue, so we’ll hold our meetings there for the foreseeable future.”
Baker compared the past six months to being hit by “a Category 5 soul hurricane” that brought “spirit-tossing winds and tidal waves [of] just emotional pain.”
They were given spiritual guidance for the new ministry, and they realized that “God was still in charge,” he stated.
“God was with us, and it was a Holy Spirit moment. God led us to Psalm 149, so that’s what we’ll be as we consider His plan for the Song and Sword ministry today,” Baker declared.
Eastview Christian Church had their investigators look into allegations against Pastor Caleb Baker in June, and they found that he had used his position in the church to “persuade women to engage in s*xual activity.”
The study states that Mike Baker displayed a “serious conflict of interest” and that he “should have recused himself due to his conflicting loyalties and allowed others in leadership to exercise proper biblical discipline regarding Caleb.”
About three months after being hired by the church, attorneys from Wagenmaker & Oberly produced an 11-page report detailing their findings regarding Caleb Baker’s alleged s*xual misconduct, the alleged cover-up, and the impact of Baker and Eastview’s upper-level leadership on the staff and the congregation.
What was the Pastor Mike Baker’s son scandal?
In February, after Caleb Baker’s dismissal from Central Christian Church in Arizona was reported due to his being caught in an extramarital affair with another church staffer, allegations surfaced that Pastor Mike Baker covered up his son’s s*xual misconduct.
The elders of Eastview Christian Church stated that they did not learn of the allegations of abuse against Caleb Baker until after he left the church in 2016.
A report from a former worker alleging an oppressive culture in 2016 arrived in July 2022. When elders at Eastview Christian Church said they had evidence that Mike Baker had covered up his son’s inappropriate behavior, Baker resigned instead and denied the allegations.
The assertion that Mike Baker is trying to keep something hidden surprises me. I know that one of our most trusted employees ever decided that there is no resolution to this situation around Christmas time.
Mike Baker, who attempted to investigate reports of the charges against his son while employed at Eastview Christian Church in 2015, said, “Can’t prove or disprove these allegations, and I thought it was done.”
Pastor Mike Baker claimed he is not “seeking revenge” or trying to compete with Eastview Christian Church in the recent launch of his new church.
First, let me explain that competing with Eastview Christian Church is not why we started Song and Sword Church.
I can say this without fear of retribution or animosity toward Eastview because the Holy Spirit is my testimony and bears me witness. I don’t wish for their failure. Baker gushed, “Eastview Christian Church is my spiritual home. Half of my life has been devoted to that institution. The locals have won my heart. Some of my favorites have happened to me there, and I hope God will use them mightily.”
His new church, Song & Sword Church, is focused on Jesus. Therefore, he asked his followers not to join it “to stick it to somebody” in revenge.
“I just have to say this from the beginning: We are at war point, but Eastview or Vale or any of the other 124 churches in this towns are not our enemies,” he remarked.
If “getting even” is your motivation for joining Song and Sword, I’d advise you to reconsider: “I believe that God will never bless a church that is trying to seek harm or compete with another church, which is His body.”
What was the Eastview scandal?
During his 16 years as senior pastor, Pastor Mike Baker acquired and consolidated authority, according to the report, while his superiors on the Elders’ side had limited insight regarding the claims made against Caleb.
According to the investigation, Baker’s “exertion of powerful authority” created toxic work environments, creating an atmosphere of fear and intimidation.
The investigation concluded that it is “more likely than not that Mike Baker misused his leadership position and impeded the church leadership’s ability to follow (its) policies and procedures for addressing various complaints and reports of misconduct made between approximately 2013 and 2023.”
Some of the interviewed present and past employees “shared that they did not raise complaints or make reports that they otherwise might have feared being accused of causing disunity or hurted the church.” To “protect the church,” as Mike Baker puts it in his interviews with investigators, was a motivated factor for some.
“While this phrase is not problematic on the face, its meaning and the way it was used became a code phrase to discourage raising any problems or conflicts,” the report added.
“Most of those interviewed (for the report) expressed that they were afraid for their jobs regularly and would be retaliated against if they complained, reported any harm or wrongdoing, or did anything that could be perceived as crossing Mike Baker,” the report said.
According to the elders of Eastview, it wasn’t until Caleb Baker resigned from his position at the church in 2016 that they learned of the particular claims of misbehavior. Mike Baker admitted his son’s infidelity and allegedly asked for his resignation.
In 2022, a letter arrived that repeated 2016 allegations of an abusive culture at Eastview, and in 2019, similar allegations went viral on social media.
In February, it became widely known. After reaching an “impasse” with the elders about how to proceed, Mike Baker resigned, as reported by the elders.
Mike Baker alleged that authorities “would not allow me to defend my family.”
Mike Baker scandal investigation
According to the investigation, Mike Baker’s conflicts of interest are serious. After the (elders) first learned of specific women with whom Caleb Baker had allegedly had sexual relationships,
Mike Baker would have recused himself due to his conflict of loyalties and allowed others in leadership to exercise proper biblical discipline regarding Caleb.
Instead, “Mike Baker’s involvement remained substantial,” according to the study.
The elders made mistakes, such as allowing Mike Baker to oversee an HR audit when the investigators initially advised against it.
They “did not know that Mike Baker had withheld info from the HR auditors so that the negative powers dynamics and other cultural dynamics on staff could not be discovered,” the report said of the elders.
The elders “should have conducte a more comprehensive investigation of the allegation in the letters they received in February 2016 without involvements by Mike Baker,” the report said.