The man who along with his wife founded a program that has helped millions of people find freedom from hurts, habits, or hangups, has died.
John Baker passed away on Tuesday, February 23, according to a statement from the program Celebrate Recovery. John and his wife Cheryl founded the 10-step recovery program through Saddleback Church. It has since grown to become a global ministry.
"John touched more people with the healing power and grace of Jesus Christ than anyone else that I have ever known personally and one of those lives was mine," says Celebrate Recovery National Director Mac Owen.
The statement did not give the cause of death, and Owen says "To say this took us by surprise would be an understatement." Owen called Baker his "dearest friend and brother."
"Our world lost a giant of a man today, and our family lost a dear friend and brother in the Lord," Kay Warren of Saddleback Church says in an online statement. She shares how Jesus turned Baker's life around.
"Thirty years ago John Baker turned the ruins of his life over to Jesus Christ and God transformed him from a driven businessman with an addiction to alcohol, a failing marriage and alienated children to a Christ-follower with a passion to help others with their 'hurts, habits and hang ups' through the principles of recovery."
Warren says that over 7 million people worldwide have since gon through the program.
"There is simply no way to put into words how I love John and will miss this kind, creative, brilliant and faithful man," Warren says.
Celebrate Recovery says they will share more in the coming days, "but for now we would ask that you keep his soul mate and cofounder of Celebrate Recovery Cheryl Baker, the love of his life, along with Johnny and Jeni Baker, Laura and Brian Gibney and all their grandkids in your prayers."