By Tim Williams
Over the last decade, baptisms have been on the decline in our churches across America.
In totality, the Southern Baptist Convention reached a historic low of 246,000 baptisms per year. For perspective, the last time we had a similar number, the SBC was half the size it is today. We have doubled the churches, but half the baptisms.
At the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, we strive to equip the local church to create an evangelistic culture amongst its community and have developed a system called “The Domino Effect” which holds seven important principals that aid in church evangelism. Here, we will look at the Domino of Baptism and making baptism a big deal at your church.
So, why is baptism so important to our churches today?
Biblically, we realize that the first step of obedience upon salvation in Christ is a believer’s baptism. We are reminded in Scripture that Jesus Christ himself was baptized, along with John the Baptist and other followers of Christ. In Matthew 28, the Great Commission tells us to go into all the world teaching the nations and baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Baptism is not to be confused with salvation, but it is a picture of salvation that tells the world what Christ has done in one’s life – an outward testimony to an inward work of God.
Let’s take a closer look at why baptism is a big deal:
- Baptism is an act of humility and obedience. We find in Acts 2:40-41 that those saved and “those who gladly received His Word were baptized; and continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine, fellowship, and prayer.” It is the obedient step to be baptized after coming to faith in Jesus Christ.
- Baptism is a visual of what Christ has done for the saved and unsaved. In essence, baptism is a picture without the need for camera film or flash that tells the gospel story about Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.
- Baptism is a testimony to help others come to faith in Christ. It is an outward expression to our friends, family and fellow church members of the inward decision that has been made.
After recognizing the importance of baptism, there are several ways to make baptism a big deal at your church:
- Consider starting or ending your service with baptism.
- Play a pre-recorded video testimony of the person being baptized to share about their conversion experience.
- While someone is being baptized, ask those who have been part of their spiritual journey to stand. Also, have a special place for friends and family to sit during the baptism.
- Create awareness of baptism within the church by creating baptismal t-shirts that share your church logo and the fact that they have followed Christ in baptism.
- Hold monthly spiritual birthday celebrations for those that have been baptized.
Many churches have enhanced the evangelistic culture of their church by making baptism an important part of their worship experience. I encourage you to consider meeting with your staff or baptismal team to discuss what can be done at your church to make baptism a big deal in your evangelistic efforts.
You can find more information about the other Dominoes in the Domino Effect by visiting: https://gabaptist.org/evangelism/#domino.
For more information on No Sweat Evangelism, go to nosweatevangelism.com. The Georgia Baptist Mission Board has an Evangelism Consultant in your specific region that can help you in leading your church members to follow Jesus and work in His harvest fields. For more information, please contact the Evangelism team of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board and schedule a consultation. You can also join the conversation on Facebook!
Tim Williams is the Evangelism Southwest Region Consultant for the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.