EXCLUSIVE: Jim Bakker's Son Ricky Believes This Is the Generation That Will See Christ Return

Ricky Bakker
Ricky Bakker (The Jim Bakker Show)

The Holy Spirit is moving among this generation in miraculous ways. Charisma reached out to nine "new voices" who are advancing the kingdom of God around the world. Each story is featured in our Charisma January issue, and we've posted the transcripts below. This interview has been edited for grammar and clarity. For the full interview, be sure to download the podcast. This interview has been edited for grammar and clarity.

Ricky Bakker is the adopted son of Jim and Lori Bakker. He is a co-host on The Jim Bakker Show.

For those who might not have seen you on The Jim Bakker Show or on Revelation in the News, could you fill us in on who Ricky Bakker is?

Absolutely. Ricky Bakker is just a kid who was adopted by Pastor Jim and Lori Bakker. I was taken out of Phoenix when I was 4 years old. It was a very gang-filled, drug-filled environment, and I was brought into a home where Jesus could be the forefront. The reason I'm able to be on the shows and be seen via those venues is simply because God ordained something to happen, which was my adoption, so that's a little bit about Ricky Bakker, who he is.

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You were among several children who were adopted, right?

Yeah, absolutely. So it wasn't just me. I was actually the last one to be brought in. There were initially nine kids; I'm the youngest, and I'm the only boy, so I always had a fun time fighting for food growing up, because my sisters and I were always in the same general vicinity. So we initially went to Florida. We were in a little city right outside of Panama City for about a year, and then after that, we moved to Branson, Missouri, and that's where I grew up from the age of 5 on. So Branson is really all I've known as a home.

I understand it's a beautiful place.

It is a beautiful place. It's the Ozarks. I lived in Dallas for two years, because I attended Christ for the Nation Bible Institute there. I enjoyed the city, but I'm definitely a country boy.

So you're the baby of the family with all those sisters around. Must be fun.

Yeah, it is a lot of fun. I enjoy it. They're all having babies. I have—I think it's up to 13 right now—13 nieces and nephews, and I could not ask for any better joy because I've been going to their birthday parties, hanging out on the weekends with them. That's a lot of fun. Christmas is a blast. There are like 35 people in our house., and we're all crammed in our living room. It's loud. It's fun. There's food. Everybody brings something, and that's just the spirit of having the family.

In America, one of the sad things is I've noticed is that the family is being deteriorated, so to be able to have just a place where there's unity is great. We're not all the same ethnic background. We don't all believe the same theology. We don't all line up on our political views exactly. But when it comes to being with family, we're family, and so that's what I love about it.

May I ask how old you are now?

I'm 21 years old.

So tell me what is your role at The Jim Bakker Show and also Revelation in the News and in your parents' organization as a whole?

Absolutely. So for The Jim Bakker Show, I'm a production assistant, and I do biblical research, which is a blast. It's an honor to be able to call that a job. I also work for Morningside Church, which is our blanket over The Jim Bakker Show. I'm the youth pastor there. That's super exciting. For Revelation in the News, I'm a host, and we do all of our own research. I'm a researcher as well there.

Would you describe yourself as a research geek?

I love research. I love being in the know. So if you would have asked me a couple of years ago, "Are you a researcher?" I would have said no. But I realized I just love being up-to-date. So I definitely call myself that now.

Well, many people are probably understanding what The Jim Bakker Show is, but what about Revelation in the News? Tell us about that show.

Yeah, so Revelation in the News is simply—we wanted to take something that was already happening, which is our current events, and bring it back to what the Bible says about it.

You know, "We're seeing a lot of diverse people. What does the Bible say about that?" We're seeing anything from rioting in the streets to what the people in our political platform are saying. We want to make sure it goes back and it lines up with God.

If it doesn't line up with what the Word of God says, we need to make sure that we don't support it, or we go out there and actively say, "Hey, we need to stand up for the things of God." So it's taking the current news and the Bible, specifically around the book of Revelation, and marrying them together, saying "Hey, you know what? We're living in a time where we believe Jesus will return soon."

I did watch one of your videos where you talked about being the generation that gets to see Christ return. You believe that strongly, don't you?

Absolutely, I do, just seeing the times and how they line up. As I said, if you asked me four or five years ago—my dad has been steadily preaching Jesus' return, but I had to find it out for myself. One thing my dad taught me that I absolutely fell in love with was that he said, "Don't trust anybody's word just because they said it. Don't trust their word just because they sounded good when they said it."

He said, "Let's go back, be like the Bereans and actually research it for yourself. Look for yourself." I got to go to Christ for the Nations. I had some time reflecting where I was taught everything from a pre-Tribulation rapture to a mid-Tribulation rapture to a post-Tribulation rapture, and I had to spend my time with Jesus and find out things like: What is my belief system? Where's my core? Where's my foundation?

It all lined up perfectly with what my dad believed. We do believe Jesus is going to return soon; we are living in that final generation. But that's an honor. That's an absolute honor to be called the generation that gets to see the Second Coming of Christ.

What all did you study there in Dallas?

Well, I went to Christ for the Nations for two years. So I got the associate's degree in practical theology, which I really enjoyed. But the entire first year is classes they pick for you. So it's going to be your general Old Testament, New Testament. But my second year, I really tried to put an emphasis on biblical counseling. So I took all the classes I could that focused on counseling, on spiritual warfare and spiritual disciplines. I knew those were the main things for me.

I knew if you're going to be any type of leader in this generation, if you're going to be any type of voice or have any type of influence, and you don't have spiritual structure, being that spiritual discipline, or being able to fight a spiritual battle like spiritual warfare, then essentially, you have nothing but a pretty face, and that's not going to win souls in the end times.

So let's step back a little bit and tell us how you became a believer in the first place.

Absolutely. So I was adopted young. And you know, both my parents are pastors. So I grew up knowing who Jesus was. That was a great thing. When I was a kid, I would go to kids camps about Jesus. I'd go to Bible camp. I'd go to this and that, and there were so many things that filled me up with who Jesus was, but around the age of 12 or 13 years old, I started questioning, asking, "Why do I believe what I believe?"

I believe every young person questions at some point. I took a step back, not necessarily leaving the faith, but taking a step back saying, "Why do I believe this? My parents believe this, but I need to have this revelation of my own." So I had a few years of searching, and I actually had the opportunity to go to North Carolina, to the first ministry that my dad built called Heritage USA. This was during a time I was really struggling with the Lord. I was trying to figure out, "Where am I supposed to go? Who am I supposed to be? I'm not hearing from You, God. I'm praying, but I'm not hearing anything. I'm trying to fast, but I'm not hearing anything. I need You to say something."

So I was in a place of desperation. And as I was walking to my room one night—it was actually the night before we were supposed to leave, get on our big tour bus and come back to Missouri—I think we were going to get on the bus around 4 a.m. Around 1 a.m., I was walking back to my room because I was still needing to pack, still needing to do some things. There was a man in the hallway of the hotel, and he was standing by an ice machine.

He said, "Hey, can I pray for you?"

And in all reality, I didn't want to say yes, because in the flesh, I thought, I'm tired, and I have stuff I have to do.

But out of respect, I said, "Of course. I can always use some prayer." So he started to pray for me. The only thing I can remember is him placing his hand on my forehead, and I was actually pretty much woken up and brought back into this physical world after an encounter with the Holy Spirit after four hours. If you would've asked me, I'd have told you I was there for five minutes, but I lay by that ice machine in that hotel lobby for four hours, just hit with the Holy Spirit.

And I had a few visions of where I was supposed to go, what I was supposed to be and some situations in my life. God was saying, "Hey, I need you to fix these things so you can advance to your next level."

That's when I was 15, and that's when I radically became a believer in Jesus. I thought, OK, this is the real deal.

Have you seen any of those things come to fulfillment that you saw in visions?

I've seen everything except two. It was everything from friendships that needed to be severed to new friendships that need to be blossomed, from relationships and family things that needed to be worked out even with my original birth family. So I've seen everything except two. And those two—they're on the horizon. They're coming up. I can feel them. But God's faithful. And so everything else just lined up absolutely perfect.

So how have you grown in your relationship with the Holy Spirit?

My growing in the Holy Spirit definitely began at that moment, because that's when—I'd heard about seeing visitations of angels, I'd heard about being, you know, when people say "slain in the Holy Spirit," I'd heard about all these things. But I'd actually never personally encountered these things. So that was my first experience. And that was definitely a huge first experience. And ever since then, I've wanted to know more about the person of the Holy Spirit.

Because everything I've been taught by that point, whether I went to Bible camps or anything, not necessary from my parents but just from other people, was that the Holy Spirit was this Spirit who came and was there when you needed Him. But you read the Bible, and you realize the Holy Spirit is just as much of the Trinity as the others. You need the Holy Spirit as the person, as the deity, as the guidance. Jesus said, when He ascended, "I'm going to send you a Comforter," or someone to be there for you. And so realizing that this person could be there for me all the time, that I could actually have a relationship that I could cultivate and grow and care for, having those things made me realize, I need to get closer to the Holy Spirit. And then for me, getting close to the Holy Spirit included just being in the Word of God.

The Bible says, "We have a more sure word," which is the Word of God. So I realized that I would try to get close to the Holy Spirit by doing things, like when I go out for walks and I do this and I do that. But when I really got deep with the Holy Spirit was when I just immersed myself in the Word of God. And that's when the fruit starts growing.

You can have a steady tree. You can have your roots planted. You can have a steady foundation, yes, but you want fruit to grow on that tree, because that's what bears witness to people when they come to see you.

I realized whenever I got deep into the Word of God, whenever I started spending my time in the morning, I'd wake up early and pray in tongues as long as my physical body would let me. And then I'd continue to try and push on and push on—because what a lot of people don't realize is that is does take a physical toll on you. But you have to push past that, and there's kind of like a breakthrough moment.

I realized when I hit those breakthrough moments, the fruit would just absolutely start exploding. Whenever I'm wearing my armor of God, whenever I'm going out and I'm witnessing, I'm talking to people or ministering in any aspect, whether it's going down to the 7-Eleven to get some water or something to drink or whether it's actually standing in a pulpit preaching to people, that I'm protected from any type of spiritual attack that could come against me. But I also have the honor of relaying the message that the Holy Spirit's there for someone else, because I have a personal experience.

Could you give us an example of how you've grown as a leader, as you seek to bring other people along in their walk with God and their experience with the Holy Spirit?

Of course. I'll take it back a few years. When I initially went to Christ for the Nations Bible Institute, I had just come out of being a youth pastor.

And I remember telling God, "All right, God, I'm ready for whatever you have for me, as long as you don't make me a youth pastor again."

I loved it. I had a good time, but I was like, "This is definitely a stepping stone for my next place, God. So we're good here, right?"

And so I went to school, and I got my education. I enjoyed my time there. And right as I was coming back to Missouri to rejoin my dad's church to help serve him and his vision, I got a call that said, "Hey, our youth pastor just got another job, and this position is open. Would you mind taking it?"

Before I could even answer in my mind, I said yes, and then he said, "All right, great, we'll call you with the details later" and hung up the phone.

Legitimately, a couple minutes later, I thought, What did I just do? All right, God, You're gonna have to explain this one. You're going to have to talk me through it.

It was something I initially didn't have the burning passion to do, but the very first Wednesday I got there and got to see the kids' faces—we have anywhere between 50 to 70 kids on an average Wednesday—seeing their faces, whether they were hurt, whether they were excited, full of joy or whether they looked like they'd had a rough day, —I realized, This is where I want to be. This is definitely what I want to be doing because I have an opportunity to impact these kids.

I love preaching on Sundays whenever I get to preach to our main congregation, where the age range goes from anywhere from 30 to 85, and I love that. But I've realized that this next generation is a very—I don't say this lightly—but it's a very lost one. Not in the sense of not knowing where they are, but it's—they don't know what the absolute truth is because in our public-school systems, they're not taught absolute truth. They're taught theory. They're taught, "Well, this is a possibility and this is a possibility. Come up with your own possibility." And if you have an absolute truth like the Word of God or that Jesus was a real person; He came down; He was born of a virgin; He died on the cross; He ascended into heaven; He sits at the right hand—if you have those absolutes, then you're kind of made fun of. You're made to be as a joke.

They'd rather you have some lofty explanation of why you think it is. But you can't really put a pushpin in it. But I realize being a leader in the aspect of coming back to Blue Eye, Missouri, and leading the youth, I get to go into the schools on Wednesdays. If I have time, I'll go and eat lunch with the kids at the high school or the middle school. Being a leader for me didn't start with me wanting to go after and get a microphone. I realized if I'm going to lead, I'm going to have to spend a lot of one-on-one time with these kids. I have another phone that I use for the youth.

And I say, "Hey, if you need anything or you're in trouble, if you need a ride somewhere, just go ahead and give me a call. And I'll be there if I can do that."I've had a few kids call me, and they're an hour or two away; they need a ride back home; they're in a sticky situation. In my fleshly body, I think, Man, it's 1 in the morning. I don't want to do this. But I get my car, and I go do it.

On the way back, I have some conversations, such as: "What are you going through? How can I help? How can I be there for you?"

That changes their lives. And that, to me, that's leadership, because I get an opportunity to touch someone individually. Yes, I can lead from the stage or from behind the camera. But leadership boils down to whether I can be there with you and show you something that I've learned, either the hard way or something that I've learned from the Bible. That way, you don't have to make the same mistakes, so you can use my shoulders as a stepping stone to your next place.

So is there a certain message you'd like to leave with Charisma readers?

Yeah, absolutely. The message is always, if you're listening to this, and you don't know Jesus, there's never been a better day to know Jesus, not in a "I go to church on Sundays and Wednesdays" type of way. But in an absolutely life-changing way. I'm constantly reminded of one of my favorite Bible stories, and it is Acts 9.

That's where Saul is on the way to Damascus, and the Bible says he was still breathing threats and murder against the disciples on his way to the high priest. And so he was a man who was in a dark place, going to do a dark thing, which he thought was a good thing. He was in a bad place, but God touched him, and that one touch changed his entire life. Just a few chapters later, he's in the synagogues preaching.

Saul radically changed. That's exciting to see. Because, you know, he later calls himself the "chief of sinners," and to see someone who esteems himself of being so radically changed by Jesus, the Holy Spirit, by God and the full Trinity, just to be completely wrapped up in that is absolutely powerful. To tell people to go to church and to know who Jesus is, that's one thing; but to tell them to have an encounter, to show them how to have an encounter, to teach them it's not just going to come through, "I'm going to go through stuff A and B and C and D, and I'm going to follow this program."

But it is finding that personalization between you and God, because my relationship is going to be different from yours, from whoever's listening. It's going to be very different. But it all boils down to being in the Word of God, and having that deep, intimate relationship.

In Romans 10, he said, "Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved." If you're a Christian and you're listening, it's soul-winning time. I truly believe Jesus is coming back soon, that we are the generation to see Jesus come back, and it's soul-winning time. In the end time, this is going to be the great harvest time. The Bible says, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few."

I've always wondered, with the majority of the religion in the entire world being some type of belief in Jesus, whether it's a Catholic belief or a Baptist belief or however people believe in Jesus. But the Bible says the laborers would be few, and we hold the majority. But I truly believe it is because a lot of people claim Christianity, and I'm not one to judge their faith, but they claim Christianity and they say, "I am a believer," but they never get out and actually do anything for Christ.

I was guilty of that for the longest time for the first couple years of my relationship with Jesus. I called myself a Christian; I went to church; I played my part; but I never did more than I had to. I would get intimate with Jesus on my own, but I never went out and actively pushed it as much as I should have been with other people in helping them experience it. So if you're listening right now, the message that I would have to share is this: Jesus is coming soon, and there's never been a better time to go out and soul-win. There's never been a better time to be an evangelist, to be a missionary, to go out and be a part of a fivefold ministry, to serve someone.

You don't have to have a microphone. You don't have to be on a stage. You don't have to have some big position to be a leader. You can be a leader wherever you are. The Bible says we're all different members of the body. But if we don't have a foot, we're not walking correctly. If we don't have an arm, we're not doing things to our full ability. We have to have each other. So I would say, go out, win souls, get ready for Jesus' return, but most importantly, have that intimate relationship. Be one-on-one with Him. Be in a place where you can go, and you can cry in His presence.

You can go, and you can be intimate in His presence. You can go, and you can say everything that's on your mind that day. Why you had a hard day. Why you had the best day of your life. Just being in a place where you can say, "Jesus, I'm going to give You absolutely everything every single day."

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