As the founder of Celebrate Recovery, John was a great leader whose impact will continue for generations.
The following is a statement from Prison Fellowship's President and CEO James J. Ackerman on the passing of John Baker, founder of Celebrate Recovery.
Prison Fellowship® mourns the passing of John Baker, the humble leader used by his Savior to found Celebrate Recovery, and who consequently lit the way for countless people on the road to recovery.
In 1991, John wrote a now-famous, 13-page letter to Pastor Rick Warren, highlighting the need for a recovery program based squarely on the teachings of Jesus. The pastor replied, “Great, John – go do it!” Thirty years and thousands of transformed lives later, Celebrate Recovery has become a beacon of hope nationwide, around the world, and behind prison walls.
Several years ago, I met John in his office in California. We had a great discussion and began a fruitful collaboration that continues to this day. God simply put us together at the right time. Celebrate Recovery Inside is now a key component of the Prison Fellowship Academy, and Celebrate Recovery chapters in the community are key partners in the ministry of Angel Tree Christmas.
John was a great leader, and he will be greatly missed, but the impact of his faithful obedience will go on for generations. At this time of loss, our thoughts and prayers are with John’s family, friends, and colleagues. I take comfort in the thought that as John enters the presence of his Lord, he will hear the words, “Great, John – you did it!”
James J. Ackerman
President and CEO of Prison Fellowship
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Prison Fellowship is the nation's largest outreach to prisoners, former prisoners, and their families, and a leading voice for criminal justice reform. With more than 40 years of experience helping restore men and women behind bars, Prison Fellowship advocates for federal and state criminal justice reforms that transform those responsible for crime, validate victims, and encourage communities to play a role in creating a safe, redemptive, and just society.