Pastor Marty Baker..Stevens Creek Church..

http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/la-na-holyatm28sep28,0,4700495.story?track=mostviewed-homepage


Now, this is a novel idea, indeed! Marty Baker is a fellow graduate of Lee University (it was Lee College waaaay back then), and now is the lead pastor for a nice congregation in Augusta, Georgia.

This congregation is reaching people who are far from God, and who want to know the power of Jesus Christ. Not only do they want to know his power, they want to experience His love.

Marty is there to show them how to do both.

Blessings to you, Pastor Baker. May God continue to multiply His goodness to you and the people at "The Creek."

9 comments:

ruthrap said...

Phil, when you see your friend, Mr. Stowell, tell him I finally finished the book...sometimes I wake up at 4am and just read til it's time to get up and that's what happened last nite...tell him that it's a great book and I'm going to pass it on to someone who will benefit from it and tell him that it taught me a lot! I'm keeping an eye out for some of his other books too! If you have any tips on where I can find them, let me know! thanks and have a great day!

former 'Creeker' said...

The problem here is that MARTY BAKER gets 30 cents or so placed in HIS pocket every time a member of HIS congregation swipes their debit card. Unless there is full disclosure to the members of his church that a portion of their tithe does indeed go directly into HIS wallet, then this reeks of impropriety. Does Marty's church even approve of his for-profit company operating in their church? It doesn't matter if it's just a small fraction of the donation, the issue is that any portion of an individuals contribution to God's Kingdom ends up in the bank account of the man who shepherds this flock and is tasked with teaching and instructing them in the rightness and joyfulness that is found in tithing and the blessings that can be found in obeying God. When a quarter and a nickle get handed to Marty for each swipe, the message is diminished. PTL Club, anyone?

NYgirl said...

"This congregation is reaching people who are far from God..."

It is my understanding that we are either for God or against Him. I am not aware of anywhere in scripture where there is reference to degrees of closeness to God. Either we know Him or we don't. Please provide scriptural proofs if I am off base here.

And although "Former Creeker" sounded a bit harsh, I have to agree and I base that agreement based on Matthew 21: 12-13 (ESV). I do not believe that I am taking this scripture out of context here. The fact that Pastor Baker and his wife have a for-profit business venture run out of the church is in direct correlation with "money changers." Jesus overturned the seats of those who sold pigeons. Are not the Bakers selling this service? Is their congregation aware of this? Are any "current creekers" even curious about why there has been so much media coverage of late? Are the Bakers aware of the Biblical ramifications of their actions? I am stunned that they can justify personal gain from the act of others' spiritual disciplines. Absolutely stunned.

Anonymous said...

Wow! This story has created some conversation. It is easy to read an article and immediately think that you are an expert on church work and on digital giving. That's not how it works. I've been in church work for 25 years and have three degrees in my trade, but I AM NOT an expert. I am just a fellow struggler seeking to understand my walk with Christ and my service to His church.

Speaking of His Church. The Bible is clear that the church is to be funded by those who are following Christ. If you are not a Christ follower, don't worry. Giving is a heart issue. You can put a hundred giving kiosks in your church and not have one extra dollar come in. A giving machine will not increase revenue; a heart surrendered to Christ will.

Now about those fees. Apparently you guys are sadly mistaken about SecureGive's cut in those fees. Here's the truth. When I first rolled out the kiosks in March 2005, it was based on a e-commerce model. Every month I would cringe because of the fees that we were paying the bank to process the donations. I wanted more money to stay in the ministry.

I invested thousands of dollars of my own money to "crack the code" and to use PIN secured debit on our kiosks. Why? ... to save the church money! Here's the difference ... if you donate $1000 to your favorite charity or church on their website, it will cost that organization around $20 to process that gift. With the SecureGive system, a thousand dollar gift given with a pin-secured debit card will cost the church $1.00. Out of that dollar, SecureGive would get around .30. So, we make .30 out of a $1000.00 transactions. That won't send your kids to college (I have two kids in college). Bank fees are not where we are getting our money. We charge $49.95 per month for our services. That covers software licenses, ssl certificates, hosting fees, and so forth. So far this has been a labor of love and a passion to help churches to resource their ministries.

Maybe in the furture it will turn around. I hope so.

Oh ... one more thing ... Stevens Creek has over $10,000.00 in kiosk equipment in the lobby. The church did not pay for those units. I paid for them out of my pocket ... not from my tithes nor my building fund offerings, but out of my personal checkbook. Also, I also pay for the monthly licensing fees for Stevens Creek's SecureGive application

Just wanted to clear the air.

Be blessed today!

Marty Baker
marty.baker@securegive.com

former 'Creeker' said...

Marty,

You are cutting and pasting the above rather than addressing the issues here. I've seen this same post above, verbatim, on several other sites over the last several days. However, I think people are understandably upset by the LA Times article and ensuing notoriety. Here is what bothers me that you haven't yet addressed: You are pocketing a portion of your church members tithes for the convenience of using your "invention." I am not criticizing your tithe-o-matic; good for you for inventing something. It is the fact that YOU, Marty Baker, are dipping into the charitable giving of YOUR parishoners at the church where YOU are the pastor. No matter how little you get for each transaction, this reeks of impropriety to me. How do you respond? What am I not seeing here? If the collection basket was brought to you at the end of each service and you reached in and removed two crisp twenty dollar bills and placed them neatly in your wallet, there would be outrage. I don't see a big difference when it is YOUR congregation paying YOU a percentage of their charitable giving for using YOUR contraption. Please tell me how this is acceptable.

Phil Hoover, Chicago said...

Former Creeker....

First of all, YOU need to contact my friend Marty Baker, and take this issue up with him. He is a brother in Christ, and you are making accusations that have been sufficiently answered.

If there is inequity or inconsistency, then I'm sure Pastor Baker will be glad to clear them up for you.

If you are half the Christian that you are claiming to be, then do the "adult" thing, and contact Marty.

Anything more on my site--or anyone else's--will say FAR more about you than it will about my friend and brother.

Plain talk is easily understood, and I'm sure you understand exactly what I am saying.

former 'Creeker' said...

Phil,

My humblest, heartfelt apologies to you, to Brother Baker, and your readers for using your blog's 'comments section' to carry on this debate. My initial post was made with more anger than it should have been and after a time of reflection and prayer I admit this is not the correct forum to debate Marty.

Anonymous said...

I talked to Patty (who is the President of SecureGive) about the .30 comment. She informed me that the swipe buy rate is .21 and we sell it at .30. So, the profit margin is .09 not .30. My mistake.

One other thing, I have not profited from Stevens Creek. Call Ann Williams in our business office, 706-863-7002. She will confirm what I am saying.

It's easy for you to judge on what you believe to be true, but what you believe is not true. Now if you are really a Creeker you would know that I do not operate like that. I am in the top five contributors to our church. I make the minimum salary that a COG preacher can make with our attendance. I drive a 1998 Toyota. The newest car in my family is 5 years old. You are mistaken.

Here's the sad reality. You are hurting. I am so sorry if Stevens Creek or I have hurt you or offended you. Please forgive me. May the peace of Christ be on you today.

-- Marty

Patricia said...

To all the critics of Pastor Baker,
Shame on You. The fact that the pastor had the vision and the faith to actually install ATMs is bound to evoke jealousy from those who think Christians deserve less than success. I have been to Steven's Creek as a visitor. The spirit of God is in that church, so naturally,the spirit of Satan will do anything to find fault and make the Pastor look bad.
God Bless Pastor Baker, his wife, his church, and the ATMs. You are doing great things for that area of the country. I wish we had a Steven's Creek in my neighborhood in So. California.
In Christ's Love,
Patricia Myers