Dana Baker has had an exciting and unsuspecting journey to leadership in the church and community, and she is glad to share her experience with our readers. Dana is pastor of multicultural ministries, church partnership, and prayer at Grace Chapel, a non-denominational church in Lexington, Massachusetts. She has served on the ministry staff since October 2000, serving in urban ministry before undertaking her present staff responsibilities. In September 2005, Dana was asked to lead a new multicultural church initiative that seeks to intentionally respond to the growing multiethnic population of Grace Chapel and the New England region.
Dana, please tell us a little bit about your church and the nature of your service there.
Our church has grown from a small chapel that seated approximately 150 people in the early 60’s to 4,000 adults, youth, and children who regularly worship at three different campus locations each Sunday. In the late 90’s, we noticed that the demographics of our congregants was changing. This is where I came to minister initially as a layperson, having almost a decade of experience in urban ministry.
As I looked back on those years of lay ministry, I began to see that the words concerning Abraham in applied to my own life: “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” So when God called me out of my career as an architect, I decided to be obedient and step out in faith concerning this call to ministry. To better prepare me for the work of ministry, I also decided to attend Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary’s Boston campus to complete my Masters of Divinity. Over the years my understanding of pastoral ministry broadened as I developed a growing sense of what it meant to shepherd people.
I understand that the nature of your leadership work had an unexpected change over the past few years. Can you tell me about that change and how it impacted you?
I am serving in several capacities right now, but one of the new areas where I am involved is helping to develop a church partnership network. The vision for the ministry is to see “greater things for greater Boston,” and we believe that God desires to bless Boston through this network of churches. Sometimes I become aware of how my urban planning skills—which I developed as an architect—can be leveraged for this new work, and I can see how God was preparing me even before I knew what he was doing.