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John Baker

I’m pastor of the First Baptist Church of Columbia, a predominantly white, middle-class congregation in a college town in Missouri. We haven’t always been so white throughout our 185 years of continual ministry. We had a healthy percentage of black members in the early years of our history. In the 1830s, black members, both slave […] Read More

I just made my eighth trip to Georgia in June to celebrate the wedding of Malkhaz Songulashvili, archbishop of the Evangelical Baptist Church of Georgia, and his beloved Ala Kavtaradze. I’ve gone to Georgia for nearly 10 years, and the First Baptist Church of Columbia, Mo., has had a “sister church” relationship with the Mother […] Read More

Our church has long sought to preach the gospel and put it into practice locally and around the world. Putting it into practice, which is the core of Christian ethics, has always been the harder part. We were looking for an overarching umbrella—or missional backbone—to drive our efforts at making the gospel live when we […] Read More