2020 provided plenty of challenges. It was also a year full of opportunity. 2021 holds just as much opportunity, if not more. Leaders continually face the question of whether or not they will take every opportunity the Lord presents to advance the Gospel and build the Church. In terms of the continuing work of making disciples, post-profession of faith, how might the church encourage one another to advance the Gospel in the coming year? Consider how it might look to accept the challenge to baptize one in 2021. Could you:
Baptize one more student than you did last year?
Baptize one student every month for the year?
Baptize at least one student who has trusted Christ and never followed the Lord in baptism?
Baptize one student per Sunday school class or small group?
There are a number of ways to fit the challenge to each context. Whatever the decision on how to approach the goal, the idea is to prioritize baptism in the New Year.
Leadership thinker, John Adair said, that without a plan, strategic thinking turns into strategic dreaming. Do we have vision for seeing students come to faith and seeing them baptized, growing as believers? Then develop a plan and attack it!
Here are some helpful reminders as you commit to baptize one in 2021.
Spiritual results come from spiritual, supernatural work of God through the Holy Spirit. Begin to pray for God to do what only He can do, save souls and change lives. The work of evangelism, baptism, obedience, growth, and multiplication begins with seeking the Lord in prayer.
There are many ways to make evangelism a regular part of what you do. Some great tools to help in that effort include the Good News conversation guide, One Great Hope Gospel conversation, the North American Mission Board’s “Who’s Your One” emphasis, the 3 Circles, and the Roman Road. The list could go on, but the point is members need training in sharing their faith and opportunities to engage in that regular and consistent effort.
-Follow up & Follow through.
Do not let too much time pass after someone trusts Christ for salvation. Connect with parents, set a date, prepare accordingly, heat the baptistry, bake a cake, baptize, and celebrate! Then, connect new believers in the life of the group and with the church, setting them on a path of growth to make more disciples.
Part of the narrative in the slide in recorded baptisms since 1982, both nationally and in Oklahoma, is that churches have not consistently reported baptism numbers in the Annual Church Profile (ACP) or have ceased doing so in that time. With skewed numbers come skewed assumptions and less than effective responses and plans. It is important for churches to report accurate numbers yearly.
This calls for a series of articles, but create a process that reinforces a culture in the group of developing disciple-making disciples.
Some questions to get you started on the path to baptizing one in 2021:
What will it take to baptize one in 2021?
How many did you baptize this year or last?
What will be your baptism goal in 2021?
How will you prioritize evangelism, baptism, and new believer follow-through?
How will you train your group to be ready to share their faith?
How many Gospel conversations will it take?
How many professions of faith will it take?
Who is your “one” to baptize in the next year?
For baptism resources, visit oklahomabaptists.org/youth/baptism