There is a great anecdote about Alan’s leadership gifts in Mike Bonem’s latest book, In Pursuit of Great and Godly Leadership (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2012):
When Menlo Park Presbyterian Church made the decision to create the position of "directional pastor," senior pastor John Ortberg was specifically looking for someone who "leads recreationally." In saying this, he meant a second chair person with strong leadership gifts and experience who would complement Ortberg's own ability to "communicate recreationally." Menlo Park Presbyterian is a diverse congregation that includes people who have been very successful in the marketplace, and Ortberg recognized that these other leaders would respond well to someone who was like them. So the church called Alan "Blues" Baker to this role, a man who had risen to the rank of rear admiral in the Navy and who received theological degrees from Fuller and Gordon-Conwell seminaries.