United News Philippines: For the sake of those who are not too familiar with the present organizational structure of the Church, could you please explain to us what your title Senior Pastor means; how long have you been serving as a Senior Pastor and what does your job entail?
David Baker: I was asked to serve as Senior Pastor for the Philippines in 2002. As the Senior Pastor it is my responsibility to coordinate the work in the Philippines. I work with the pastors and office staff to try to serve our members and GN subscribers in the best way possible. I have really appreciated the wonderful cooperation and support of the ministry, office staff and members. I also strive to ensure that what we do in the Philippines is in harmony with the Home Office.
UNP: How did you come to know about the Church?
DB: I grew up in the church. My parents were baptized when I was three years old (1960) and we began attending church when the first congregation was established in our state in 1963. My parents are members of UCG and attend in Hickory, North Carolina.
UNP: Could you tell us a little bit about your:self (background, childhood, education) and family (wife and children)?
DB: I have two brothers, an older brother and a younger brother. My older brother, Jeff is an elder in UCG. After graduating from high school, I attended NC State University and received a BS in Civil Engineering. After graduating from university I attended Ambassador College in Pasadena. My wife, Dorrie, and I were married in December 1985 and we have two children, Hannah, age 13 and Jonathan, age 5.
UNP: How did you come to be a pastor and start traveling internationally?
DB: While attending Ambassador College, I really enjoyed participating in the Ambassador Foundation projects in the international areas. I worked in Thailand for a year 1981-82, in Jordan for a year 1983-84, worked on the Jerusalem Dig in the summer of 1984. After graduating from Ambassador in 1985, I was hired to work for Ambassador Foundation in Sri Lanka. I worked there from 1985-1990. I pastored the church in Sri Lanka in 1989. In 1990 I moved back to the US and served as associate pastor in the Albany and Salem church areas. In 1993 I served as associate pastor in Big Sandy, TX. In 1995 I was hired by UCG as a pastor to serve the brethren in Upstate New York.
UNP: Did you get any learning experiences in traveling internationally? If yes, what is the most important learning experience you have assimilated?
DB: I enjoy getting to know the brethren. I have learned that each person is different but at the same time we have our similarities. God’s Spirit produces the same fruit in a person’s life regardless of their country of origin or culture and human nature is the same regardless of the culture we live in.
UNP: As the Senior Pastor for Asia, what is your vision for the churches over here?
DB: I want to see the churches continue to grow spiritually. We have a wonderful ministry here in the Philippines and I want to do everything I can to help them better equip the members for spiritual growth.
UNP: What are some of the challenges you face as a Senior Pastor and how do you cope up with those challenges?
DB: I enjoy travel so visiting members in various parts of Asia is a wonderful experience. The biggest challenge is being away from my family during much of my travel. I try to stay in contact with them during my trips and strive to spend time with them when I return home. It is a wonderful blessing for me and my family to be able to travel together for the Feast of Tabernacles.
UNP: Any message you want to extend to our members and readers?
DB: I would like to thank all the members for their wonderful hospitality and their diligence in serving God. I am looking forward to meeting everyone and visiting as many congregations as possible. I always conclude my visits to the Philippines with uplifted spirits after spending time with the ministry and members. Thank you for all that you do to help make each congregation a place of peace for worship and instruction for those who God calls into His church.