Do Something TODAY About Declining Baptism Numbers!
Annual pre-convention report on Southern Baptist Church life is out and again show baptisms in decline. I can’t (or won’t) speak to how to change the decline in the Southern Baptist Convention (plenty of other smarter people than I can & will do that), but I can think about how to address this decline in MY church. As a mentor of mine says, “The Southern Baptist Convention never baptized anyone. LOCAL CHURCHES baptize its converts.” And it takes intentionality! So here’s the To-do list of one small town, bi-vocational pastor of an average size (150 attenders) SBC church:
Question: Do we have a list of potential candidates?
1. Look over our church directory & circle the names of people that I know have not been baptized or that I’m not sure have been baptized.
2. Make appointments with at least one of these each day, until everyone circled has been challenged to consider where they are in their journey toward Christ.
3. Plan a sermon on Baptism where everyone will be challenged to follow and obey Christ with the opportunity to respond.
Question: Are we making Evangelistic Contacts?
4. Pray for open doors to share the gospel.
5. Plan a time today & at least three times each week, to intentionally interact with people that are far from God.
6. Put at least three outreach events on the calendar between now and the end of the year that are sure to engage people who are far from God. Get names, pray, follow up.
Question: Are we developing an Evangelistic Culture in our Church?
7. Plan at least one evangelism training for the entire church between now and the end of the year.
8. Put on the calendar at least one monthly special prayer time for lost and unchurched people in our community.
9. Challenge our church leaders by email and in person to right down the names of five people that they know who need Christ. If they don’t know five people, challenge them to get to know five people who need Christ.
Question: When’s the Next Baptism?
10. Put on the calendar at least 3 Sunday’s that the church will have baptism services and begin to announce those in every church communication.
11. Print up a brochure or pamphlet that answers questions about baptism & display it prominently throughout the church and in communications.
In Louisiana, Baptisms are actually slightly up over the last three years, but are down from an all-time high of 14,193 in 1994. 2016 is a VERY different world than 1994. 1994, was pre-netflix, pre-facebook, pre-email world where Billy Graham could still be seen on TV regularly. Intentionality, cultivation, consistent & deliberate action is needed to evangelize our communities.
You CAN do something today!