Among FBC Farmersville's favorite sons is BO Baker. Today, at the age of 87, BO Baker walks with the Lord in glory.
BO and his brother Dick were the sons of "Bunk" Baker, a pillar of FBC Farmersville throughout most of the twentieth century, a bold witness for Jesus Christ to the residents of Farmersville, and a prominent local businessman. I still have members here who will tell you that they came to this church because Bunk Baker came to their doorstep within their first 48 hours of having arrived in Farmersville to invite them to church here. Bunk Baker himself had been saved well into adulthood due to the witness of Matthew Mueller, the only pastor of FBC Farmersville to remain in this pulpit longer than I now have (he stayed 14 years; I've been here 11).
From Farmersville BO Baker went to Baylor University (in a round-about sort of way). He came to direct the singing at the BSU's midweek "Baylor Religious Hour." In that role BO Baker first became involved in the stirrings of the Holy Spirit that turned into the Youth Revival Movement. Looking back, Baker reflected:
Out of the sparks of campus revival spread flames of interest within the student world. . . . The result was the meaningful and historically important Youth Revival Movement which claimed the high point on the spear as revival spread beyond the faculty and student body at Baylor and Waco, producing a fire fall at other university campuses across the [South]. The Youth Revival Movement was truly a remarkable work of God. Its only explanation was divine intervention.
Indeed, the Baylor revivals inaugurated one of the most significant spiritual awakenings among Southern Baptists in the twentieth century. Along with Buckner Fanning, Howard Butt, and other significant leaders, BO and Dick Baker played an integral role.
BO and Dick sang together and played trumpet duets. The two served together on the staff of Birchman Avenue Baptist Church in Fort Worth. BO eventually pastored the Plymouth Park Baptist Church in Irving, TX, for some 25 years, while his brother Dick served as the Minister of Music at Prestonwood Baptist Church for 15 years. Throughout their lives, even when they were serving at different churches, they regularly led revivals together. One of their last (perhaps THE last?) trumpet duets that they played was before a crowd of 40-or-so senior adults here in our gymnasium. I was delighted to be present.
BO leaves behind a legacy of poems, sermons, and prose. My favorite entry is his (as far as I know) last book, entitled Until the Phone Stops Ringing. This very personal memoir, copiously adorned with photographs old and new, tells of the enduring connection between Farmersville, TX, and this emissary of our congregation who served the Lord so well and so widely. The title of the book comes from BO's repeated reply to those who inquired as to when he would retire: "We plan to retire when the phone stops ringing!"
A call came to BO Baker this morning that preempted all others. Right now he is with the Lord.
I write today to honor BO Baker. He and the movements of which he was a part WERE the 1950s so lampooned and castigated and demeaned and relegated to unimportance in the headlines today (and yet entirely unsurpassed). Allow me to say it: I think that BO Baker's work was important. I think the myriad souls saved under his preaching came by the action of the Holy Spirit who chose to bless what BO was doing. I think that my ministry could benefit from being a little bit more like Bunk and BO and Dick. I think if we wish to see the kind of Great Commission Awakening that we say we want to see, we might do well to stop talking for a minute and listen to the BO Bakers out there in our convention, while we still can.