Thursday, June 13, 2013

Where Have All the Baptisms Gone?

Denominations all across America are reporting a decline in baptisms.  The United Methodists have been in decline for years.  Southern Baptists just reported this week their lowest level of baptisms since 1948.


Keep in mind, water baptisms are how we estimate the number of people we are reaching for Christ with the gospel.  Plus, it’s an ordinance of the Church; a command of Jesus Christ Himself to be practiced and observed.  When someone declares that he or she is a follower of Christ, that person is expected to follow through with water baptism, publicly confessing Christ.

But baptisms are in steep decline. 

Some churches go all year without baptizing a single convert.

Not good.

Of course, our efforts to reach people should not end at baptism.  Discipleship (spiritual maturity) is the ultimate goal.  Nevertheless, water baptism is an essential part of the Great Commission and the discipleship process; some call it the first half of the Great Commission.  If water baptisms are in decline, then something is broken.

In three weeks, Pace Community Church will be having a baptism service.  I will have the honor of baptizing fifteen people that day.  It’s going to be a great day as we witness this part of New Testament Christianity being fulfilled right before our eyes.

Most of these people are newly committed Christians.  A few of them are being re-baptized, having re-dedicated their lives to Christ after wandering away from the faith.  Either way, God gets the glory.

I feel fortunate to be part of this ministry and to witness the works of God.

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