An Illinois megachurch pastor, who resigned following allegations he covered up his son’s sexual misconduct, has started a new online preaching ministry.
Mike Baker, former pastor of Eastview Christian Church (ECC) in Bloomington/Normal, recently launched Song and Sword. In an open letter posted online yesterday, he said he did so because he’s a preacher “called to preach” but with nowhere to preach due to a “media firestorm.” He said he also needed a source of income because he didn’t trust his elders to care for his family financially.
ECC recently hired lawyer Kellye Fabian Story with Chicago-based Wagenmaker & Oberly to investigate allegations that Baker covered up clergy sexual abuse by his son, Caleb Baker, involving a church member in 2016. Caleb Baker left ECC at that time. And his father told his congregation that Caleb had left ECC voluntarily.
Meanwhile, Mike Baker helped Caleb get a fresh start and a new job at Arizona megachurch Central Christian Church (CCC). According to CCC Pastor Cal Jernigan, the elder Baker told him that someone had made an accusation against Caleb Baker, but that it was unfounded.
Then in February 2023, CCC fired Caleb Baker, its student pastor, after learning of a recent six-month-long “extramarital relationship” with another CCC employee. A few days later, a whistleblower from ECC posted allegations on social media that Mike Baker and his elders had mishandled previous reports of abuse.
Give a gift of $30 or more to The Roys Report this month, and you will receive a copy of “Jesus v. Evangelicals: A Biblical Critique of a Wayward Movement” by Constantine Campbell. To donate, click here.
In his open letter, Mike Baker blamed ECC elders for forcing him to resign. He also claimed the elders had slandered his family and acted “unbiblically” and “unwisely” when announcing they planned to commission a third-party investigation.
“(T)he elders of Eastview unwisely, and unbiblically (I Corinthians 6) announced that they would move forward with an investigation,” Baker wrote. “In the process they slanderously associated me and my family with words like ‘sexual abuse,’ ‘trauma,’ ‘power dynamics,’ and ‘cover-up.’ All based on the accusations of two former co-workers and social media.”
The Roys Report (TRR) reached out to Baker for comment and emailed the ECC elders but did not receive any responses.
However, the elders posted a response to Baker’s letter on the ECC website. In it, they said they would refrain from the “public airing of grievances” before the results of their investigation are ready.
“We fully trust the voluntary investigation process will bring the necessary truths to light,” they wrote.
Mike Baker maintains he did not cover up abuse and that he and the elders had been in alignment that these past allegations were “unfounded.”
Baker wrote that in January, the elders affirmed his leadership. But after allegations of Caleb Baker’s recent abuse at CCC and past abuse at ECC came to light, the elders made a series of steps that “they knew would force my resignation.”
Mike Baker alleged that the elders held meetings without including him, which he said violated both Christian unity and their leadership model. The elders also removed Baker’s “Mike Talk” from the church’s website, which prompted his resignation.
Baker then moved his “Mike Talk” to You Tube, using it to defend his actions and allege that the whistleblowers were making “untrue” accusations.
Baker also wrote that after he resigned, someone packed up his stuff without his consent. He said his personal files from the church office were “confiscated” and he’s still missing notes to his sermons and three book transcripts, calling these his “intellectual property.”
Baker said the elders offered him one month of severance pay. Or, if Baker agreed not to preach until the completion of the investigation, they reportedly said they would continue to pay him a salary with benefits. Baker said he declined their offer.
After five weeks of silence from the elders, the elders asked to meet with Baker in what Baker considered would be a “Matthew 18” meeting. Baker wrote that he and his wife, Sara, planned to share how the elders had wronged them.
“Sara and I shared how we felt ‘they had sinned against us’ hoping for repentance and a chance for reconciliation,” Baker wrote. “We haven’t heard a word from any elder since, except for condolences for my mom’s passing. At the end of the meeting, they informed us that they were no longer obligated to pay us because I had organized a sunrise worship service for Easter Sunday!”
Baker wrote that, as senior pastor, he’s gotten to baptize 500 individuals, preach 700 sermons, and officiate 300 weddings.
“We have accomplished so much good in this world and community feeding thousands yearly through our food pantry, becoming the local epi-center of relief during Covid, sending millions of dollars overseas, and launching dozen of people into full-time ministry,” he wrote. “In short, we were becoming a fearless church of Christ followers whose ridiculous love and dangerous witness was irresistible.”
With the new donation-based ministry, Baker will provide daily devotionals, weekly sermons, and will pray for people.
Rebecca Hopkins is a journalist based in Colorado.
6 thoughts on “IL Megachurch Pastor Who Resigned Amid Scandal Launches Online Ministry”
You just cannot keep one of these snakes down. They just gotta make money off of $elling a Go$pel to somebody. These guys are not accountable to anyone, so they are not to God. Jesus has a lot of Woes He spoke to the likes of this. They all apply for Jesus words are eternal and they have power throughout all of time.
He lied about his son’s potentially illegal sexual activity in the congregation.
But if anyone wants to pay to listen to him “preach,” that’s their business.
The same disgraced pastor who abused his power to destroy my relationship with all 4 of my children and denied me the right to meet with him to report that my ex-wife was plotting to kidnap my three daughters and take them to live with a known child molester. He’ll get sued by me.
I find these Mega Church pastors with their sense of entitlement breathtaking. Not only do they not demonstrate the faintest resemblance to the Christ who supposedly indwells them, they aren’t even decent human beings.
The only evidence that nonbelievers have of the existence of a God, is the radically changed (for the better) behavior of his adherents. Because Christian behavior is so indistinguishable from the rest of the population (and is sometimes markedly worse), who can blame people for avoiding Christianity like the plague? Why would anyone even consider signing up for all of this drama?
“The only evidence that nonbelievers have of the existence of a God, is the radically changed (for the better) behavior of his adherents.”
I disagree. As St. Paul pointed out, we also have the evidence of creation. Trees and fungi and aquatic macroinvertebrates are evidence of God.
Being a “preacher called to preach” and needing a source of income do not need to be connected. Why does he find in necessary to derive income from preaching? If he is truly a “preacher called to preach,” he could always find a secular job and preach to a small congregation on the weekend.
It appears that this guy is just a grifter desperately trying to hang on to his grift.
The Roys Report seeks to foster thoughtful and respectful dialogue. Toward that end, the site requires that people use their full name when commenting. Also, any comments with profanity, name-calling, and/or a nasty tone will be deleted.
Comments are limited to 300 words.