Rev. Dr. Ben Chan with Rev. Dr. Ray Bakke
We are saddened by the loss of Rev. Dr. Raymond J. Bakke on February 4, 2022. Dr. Bakke impacted all those with whom he crossed paths and was formative in shaping International Ministries’ (IM) missiology, both locally and globally, and particularly in terms of urban mission.
Dr. Bakke was a well-known and influential preacher and professor in the American Baptist family and global Christian circle. He was a frequent and impactful teacher at IM’s World Mission Conference, serving as a Bible study leader and missiology teacher. As a good friend of the late Dr. John Sundquist, former IM Executive Director, Dr. Bakke helped to equip IM staff and shape mission programs.
Among those impacted by Dr. Bakke is IM Area Director for East and South Asia Rev. Dr. Benjamin Chan. Ben studied with him at the Bakke Graduate University and completed his Doctor of Ministry there. Dr. Chan shares, “I do not need to explain how Ray always astounded and excited us with his deep theological knowledge and reflection, and amazing articulation to relate and apply his insights to concrete political, social, and cultural contexts. I enjoyed most following him in urban study tours—my first one to the Philippines—as well as gatherings in his home in Seattle where he walked us through mission history stations in his garden. Ray shaped my last thirty years of ministry with IM.”
Rev. Dr. David Ngai from IM partner Swatow Baptist churches in Hong Kong studied with Dr. Bakke at the Northern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Ngai carried the torch to introduce urban mission to Hong Kong, and became the Chief Executive Officer of World Mission Hong Kong. Their mission continues in the Ray Bakke Center for Urban Transformation of the Bethel Bible Seminary in Hong Kong. IM Global Associates Rev. Dr. Jonathan Nambu and his wife, Thelma, were students of Dr Bakke’s who established the Samaritana Transformation Ministries in Quezon City, Philippines. These are just a few examples of the many working at and with IM whose ministries were impacted by Dr. Bakke.
Dr. Bakke organized his first consultation in Bangkok in 1980, at the invitation of Billy Graham’s Lausanne Committee for World Evangelism. He organized hundreds of urban mission consultations since then. Ray founded the Urban Mission Associates in Chicago and the Bakke Graduate University (which moved from Seattle to Texas). Dr. Bakke also inspired his family to start the Mustard Seed Foundation, which sponsored hundreds of urban transformation projects.
Although IM’s current Executive Director/ CEO Rev. Sharon Koh was not serving with IM during those years, she reflects on the lasting impact of Dr. Bakke’s teaching, “I did not have the privilege of meeting Dr. Ray Bakke, but I have certainly appreciated his teachings and witnessed the impact he had on IM leadership. His influence shaped IM’s missiology and for this I am deeply grateful for him and his ministry.”
We will keep Dr. Bakke’s family and friends in prayer during this time of grief, and join with many around the world in thanking God for the impact of his life.
International Ministries, also known as the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society, works cross-culturally to invite people to become disciples of Jesus Christ and to proclaim, through both word and deed, God’s reign of justice, peace and abundant life for all creation