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About the Pastor
Dr. James W. Baker, Pastor

Dr. James W. Baker
Born  in 1956 and raised in Portsmouth, Virginia, Pastor Baker was a member of Tabernacle Baptist Church as a teenager.  He was saved at the age of eleven and called to preach shortly thereafter.  When he was thirteen, he began preaching and as a teenager helped start churches in Virginia and North Carolina.  He preached one of his first sermons here at Tabernacle in the winter of 1971. His father attended and graduated from TBBC/TS, and his sisters attended Tabernacle Baptist Academy while members at TBC.

He went to Bob Jones University in 1973 and earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Bible in 1977 and a Master of Arts Degree in Bible in 1979.  Later he served as an assistant/youth pastor in Oxford, Michigan, for fifteen months.  Then in October 1980, he went to Huntsville, Alabama, to serve as assistant/youth pastor for three years.  He started Grace Baptist Church in Dayton, Ohio, in October 1983, and served there as senior pastor for twenty-one years.  The good people of Grace Baptist Church saw God bless in many ways over the years.  A public school building was transformed into a beautiful church facility including a lovely Prophet’s Chamber.  The missions program grew to over fifty ministries and a budget of over $85,000 annually. 

In August of 2004, Pastor Baker came to Tabernacle Baptist Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia, as senior pastor.  He commented that “leaving the sweet folks of Grace was the hardest thing my family and I have ever done!  I had no aspirations to leave, but God had a different plan for us.  Now all we think of is how exciting it is to do God’s will here at Tabernacle.  God has brought us home!”  With these thoughts, Pastor Baker and the church members are doing God’s will with God’s blessings in increased membership, finances, enrollments, and vision.  Pastor Baker is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Pastoral Theology degree from Bob Jones University and in addition to his pulpit ministry and administrative responsibilities teaches a preaching class in our College and Seminary. In May 2008, Ambassador Baptist College honored Pastor Baker with a Doctor of Divinity degree.
The Baker Family
Pastor and Marci are both products of good independent Baptist churches.  Marci was born and raised in Bloomington, Illinois. She was saved in November 1961.  She served in her teenage youth group, sang in the choir, and ministered with the good people of the Calvary Baptist Church in Normal, Illinois.  Pastor met Marci while they were both students at Bob Jones University, and they were married in June of 1977 after both graduated with Bachelor degrees.  After receiving his Master of Arts in Bible degree in 1979, Pastor and Marci served at the First Baptist Church in Oxford, Michigan.

Top: James and Marci Baker
Front (left to right): Joshua and Amy Savage,
Amanda Baker and Abby Baker
Marci taught a combined 5th and 6th grade class and helped Pastor Baker in his church responsibilities as Awana commander, high school coach, and assistant/youth pastor.  From 1980-1983, they served at the Meadow Hills Baptist Church in Huntsville, Alabama, as assistant to the pastor working with Awana, teens, music, and printing.  Their first daughter, Amy, born in Huntsville, graduated from BJU with an Elementary Education degree in 2003.

Upon leaving Huntsville, the Bakers started Grace Baptist Church in Kettering, Ohio, where they served as senior pastor for twenty-one years and had two more daughters, Amanda and Abby.  Amanda graduated from BJU with an English Education major in December of 2005. She taught English and Spanish in our Christian school for nine years and is currently raising support to go to England as a missionary under Baptist World Mission. Abby graduated from BJU in 2010 with an Associate Degree in Cosmetology management and now works at a local hair salon. Amy and her husband, Josh Savage, now live in Eden, NC, where Josh is the pastor of Victory Baptist Church.  They have four children - Jake, Elsye, Clayton, and Asher.

Although teaching in Christian education for over thirty years, Marci now serves as Pastor’s secretary and graduated in 2010 with a Master of Religious Education degree from Tabernacle Baptist Bible College and Seminary.  She faithfully serves alongside Pastor in outreach, counseling, singing in the church choir, visitation, and being his best friend and greatest encourager.