Recently a friend in ministry shared that he was frustrated by the lack of baptisms the church he is serving has experienced. He asked for advice, and since I get asked this question a lot, I thought I’d share my response here:
Hi Jason, by God’s grace we see quite a few people get baptized here at CCV, just under 1,900 in 15 years, in fact. I’m not sure there are any secrets, but here are a few things we’ve learned that work in our context.
1. We’ve made a commitment 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 outreach focus or an inward focus.
2. I give a detailed explanation of the gospel once a month and call for a decision by having people fill out a 3×5 Baptism 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. I’ll simply say, “As you leave give your card to an usher in the back and come back next week at 1 p.m. for the baptism service.” Truth be told, we baptize people seven days a week around here, not just in a service. We also have a baptism page on our website with a link to sign up to partcipate in our next baptism service.
3. We record a video of our baptism services and show that video during the following week’s service during communion. We want to ingrain evangelism as a core value, and nothing does that better than showing videos of your most recent baptisms.
4. I personally lead by example. I meet once a week without fail with a non-Christian to lead them to Christ. When we first started CCV, we had seven families from our street alone come to the church. I mention this simply to say that an introvert can do this, and that it’s really about commitment rather than skill.
5. I make it a priority to pray the following prayer at least four to five times a day: “God give me your heart for people far from you in this area.” I want the people who are in my area without Christ to be in my thoughts constantly.