Brian Bakke was born in Seattle in 1963, his parents moved to Chicago in 1965. When many white families were leaving the inner city, his parents moved into the Uptown neighborhood, and enrolled Brian and his brother Woody in public schools. His family adopted an African American teenager, also named Brian, in 1981. Brian went to Wake Forest University on an athletic scholarship with the intent of playing professional sports. God changed his plans. While in university Brian majored in theater and a minored in studio arts. Upon graduation he moved back to Chicago and lived on the most violent corner in the neighborhood of Uptown. In cooperation with street gangs, he started a series of public murals and created the Miracle League, a basketball ministry led youth out of gangs and into relationship with Jesus for almost 30 years.
Brian worked at Uptown Baptist Church as the outreach pastor, from 1987-2001. As such, he directed the church’s ministry to the homeless, street gangs, mentally disabled, HIV infected, and successfully led a vote dry campaign to remove liquor stores in the neighborhood. Brian also led the arts ministry, which held summer art camps for senior adults and neighborhood children; an outdoor concert series; painting class in prison; computer design workshop for teens; ceramics workshop for young adults; mural company; art therapy workshop for homeless women; modern and hip hop dance company; and a monthly gathering of artists.
Since 2001 Brian has been a staff member of the Mustard Seed Foundation. He is responsible for grant development for projects with local churches in the megacities of the Americas. Since 2001 he and his wife Lisa live in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, DC. They have been married for almost 30 years.