HOUSTON- St. John 3:16 bears record, “For God so loved the word that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
Accordingly, I have heard my father preach all my life that,“God had one son and He was a gospel preacher” Pastor Richard Jones Sr.. Therefore, if any man should be held in high regard, no matter how you may feel about them it should be a man of the cloth.
So when I sat in the conference room of African-American News&Issues to interview a native the Acres Homes’, Pastor Joseph Baker his first words really came of no surprise to me. Unwilling to uplift himself and holding true to the profession wherein he was called he simply stated, “Young lady, there is nothing fancy about me – I’m really just a Preacher.” His words resonated to me as a stance of humility and an adoration of respect from his Creator; especially considering that I have been taught that, “God calls an imperfect man to preach a perfect gospel.”
However, Baker’s road to becoming, “Just a Preacher” emerged out of many weary days and restless nights.
Joseph Baker became a bi-product of Jennings, Louisiana as a result of his mother’s (the late Mary Boudreaux Baker Vital) relocation to Houston’s Acres Home community in the late 1940’s.
He was born the fourth child out of seven on November 1, 1949 at Jefferson Davis Hospital. As a child he remembers his mother always stressing her desire for he and his siblings to get along. As such, they always remained a close-knit family.
Growing up in the heart of the Acres Homes community, yielded him with the opportunity to attend, Wesley Elementary and M.C. Williams Middle & Senior High School.
Baker revealed in regards to his educational background that, “it was the greatest thing in life that I feel I missed.”
To that effect, he believes that teachers and administrators should not only allow successful alumni to come back and talk to students about education; but those who did not graduate as well. He believes that this element would further assist with placing emphasis on the importance of why one should properly obtain an education.
At an early age, Baker was taught the value of hard work. Hence from the age of 13, he worked with his mother and step-father, the late Adam Vital; who owned a sanitation business.
Ironically his father, the late Wordy Baker worked for the City of Houston in the sanitation department. Continuing on from the experience gained while working with his mother and step-father he was able to utilize his expertise within the City of Houston; with the assistance of his father who was employed by the city for 38 years.
After dedicating a sum of 30 years to the City of Houston Solid Waste Management Department himself, Baker retired under Mayor Lee P. Brown. Since that time, he has not remained idle but has offered his service and experience to various funeral homes, done contract work for candidates seeking public office and sold scrap iron, amidst a variety of other side jobs.
Continuing, Joseph Baker accepted his call into the ministry 36 years ago and has been pastoring for 25 years at the Guiding Light Inspirational Baptist Church.
When asked about his work in the ministerial field Baker stated the following, “I have done some horrible things in my life, but I am glad that I know what God wants me to do – and that is most important!” He continued, “I’m going to stand and preach no matter what anyone says and you better believe that everybody in MY HOUSE is going to church.”
He further admonished that he believes, this is why so many homes are broken; because too many people from the Black community have left “our foundation” – the church. “Back when I was growing up, children were not given the option to not go to church, everybody had to go; but not these days” added Baker.
Over the years, Baker has endured trials and tribulations as a good soldier. While he has had the burdensome task of burying many personal friends, associates and loved ones; he has still remained faithful to his call.
During his interview, Pastor Baker expressed that his job does not stop once he leaves Guiding Light Inspirational BC.
He stated that, “As a minister of the gospel, I have been charged to seek and to save that which was lost.” He further believes that as a man of God, he is responsible for going out into the community and being a part of it.
Holding true to his charge, he is a member of the Acres Home Chamber for Business & Economic Development; and may be actively seen at any number of the chamber’s Monthly Business Networking Luncheons fulfilling any role that he is called upon. He went on to share that he, “loves the Acres Home community – even though I moved away from it for four years, this community has always been my life.”
Pastor Baker is married to Mrs. Vera Giles-Baker and has two children Kenny Baker and Andrea Lockridge.
African-American News& Issues salutes Pastor Joseph Baker for being, “Just a Preacher” and encourages him to, “watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist and make full proof of thy ministry.” II Timothy 4:5
To visit the Guiding Light Inspirational BC stop by, 6719 Cohn St., 77091. For times of worship contact the church at: (713) 699-4448 or (832) 776-2845.