I’ve recently had a few conversations with church leaders who are frustrated by the lack of baptisms they see in their churches. They ask for advice, and I always try to help by outlining our methods for them.
Here’s a good summary of the process that has helped us to, by God’s grace, baptize more than 2,234 people in the going on 17 years of our existence.
- We’ve committed to grow through conversion growth only. That’s important because the people you currently have will dictate whether or not the church you serve has an outward focus or an inward focus.
- Our Senior Pastor gives a detailed explanation of the gospel once a month, including a call for a decision by having people fill out a Decision Card. We tell them we will baptize them immediately after the service or at our monthly baptism service the following week. We rarely ask people to come forward. We simply say, “Give your card to an usher on your way out and come back next week at 1 PM for the baptism service.” Truth be known, we baptize people 7 days a week around here, not just in a monthly service.
- We videotape our baptism services and show them the week before the next scheduled baptism service. We want to engrain evangelism as a core value, and nothing does that better than showing videos of your baptisms. Plus, seeing others being baptized is a great way to get others to contemplate it for themselves, a “testimony” of sorts.
- We lead by example. Our staff members regularly meet with non-Christians to lead them to Christ. When our church first started, our Senior Pastor had seven families from his street come to the church. He is an introvert, so this was about commitment, not skill or natural inclination.
- We make it a priority to pray the following prayer at least 4-5 times a day: “God give me your heart for people far from you in this area.” We want the people who are in our area without Christ to be in our thoughts constantly.
- Our Senior Pastor speaks about evangelism once a year, usually a month or two before Easter (which is a prime evangelistic season). He finds this does at least as much for him as it does for everyone else.
- Usually, in the fall we organize a “Decision Day” when as a staff we’ll email and call every person in our database that is yet to be baptized and let them know we are having a special Sunday where we’re asking people to “decide to make Jesus the leader and forgiver of their life.” Our staff will set up appointments, pray, fast, etc. Usually, on those days we’ll see a large number of people get baptized. This is important for more than just numbers; it’s about congregational focus.
- In our facility and on our communication vehicles there’s a stamp that looks like this: 2234/3000. What that means is we as a congregation pray every day at 3 PM for God to bring 3,000 people in our area back to him. There’s nothing special about the number “3,000.” There’s no time frame we’re trying to accomplish it by. It’s just a goal we’ve put before ourselves as a congregation that will help us keep evangelism a high priority. It used to be 2,000, and we changed it to 3,000 when we got to 2,000.
- Make sure you do an excellent job of following up and discipling every person who becomes a Christian. We do that in a number of ways. We invite them to be part of a group for new believers. We invite them to our Membership Class, etc. With new converts, it’s important to act quickly to get them plugged in and connected.
The high number of baptisms we’ve seen here at our church has come not from having a skilled staff, but rather from prayer, teaching, planning, execution, and a ton of hard work. With a special group like the people we have at our church it’s been possible to pull off. The people in our church help to push us to stay focused on evangelism than we do them.