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No Church is an Island

Ministry happens best when we study the world along with the Word, says this veteran pastor and urban strategist.

It's ironic that Raymond Bakke, who grew up in the remote timber country north of Seattle, should find his ministry home in the boiling inner city of Chicago. But his educational journey from a rural high school to Moody Bible Institute to Seattle Pacific University to Trinity Evangelical Divinity School to McCormick Theological Seminary to inner-city ministry taught him some important lessons about the effects of culture on leadership style.

From 1969 to 1979 he pastored Fairfield Avenue Baptist Church, an old Swedish church that found itself surrounded by Spanish and Polish groups struggling for identity. He realized that in order for this church to minister to its community, he had to learn all he could about the people in the neighborhood and retool his pastoral style to fit their needs.

In the process he helped start a Spanish radio program, a Spanish-language seminary, and, with Bill Leslie and Bill Ipema, the Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education (SCUPE), which currently ...

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