Southern Baptists across the nation will celebrate Baptism Sunday on Sunday (April 24) as a way of recognizing the first step of obedience that new believers take after trusting in Christ for salvation.
For years, Southern Baptists have looked to the number of baptisms that their collection of churches reports as an indicator of evangelistic health and effectiveness.
“We come together as Southern Baptists to recognize Baptism Sunday to remind ourselves that the main reason for our partnership is the mission of seeing lost people saved,” said Johnny Hunt, senior vice president of evangelism and leadership at the North American Mission Board. “My heartbeat and passion these past few years at NAMB has been to equip and encourage churches to engage their communities with the gospel and invite people to give their lives to Christ.”
Leading up to Baptism Sunday, NAMB and several state conventions, such as the Florida Baptist Convention and the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, have been encouraging churches to participate and celebrate what God is doing through their congregations to reach their communities. Several pastors and churches have already begun using #FilltheTank and #BaptismSunday to tell about their plans for this Sunday.
‘Can’t wait to celebrate’
On April 11, Abram Crozier, pastor of Trinity Southern Baptist Church in Falmouth, Kentucky, shared on Twitter, “We already have 3 baptisms scheduled for April 24th! We can’t wait to celebrate these professions of faith with churches all across” Kentucky.
Sam Johnson, pastor of Woodhaven Baptist Church in Ocean Spring, Mississippi, used #FilltheTank to ask for prayer on April 15, “We are doing a drive-in movie night and showing the Passion. Pray that the lost are saved. We already have 3 lined up for Baptism Sunday April 24.
NAMB provides resources to support pastors and churches seeking to recognize and celebrate Baptism Sunday with their congregations. Churches can utilize those tools in the whatever way fits their context. There are several videos and answers to questions about baptism and how best to conduct baptisms during a Sunday morning service.
Sharp focus on evangelism
The hope is that Baptism Sunday will serve as a reminder to pastors to maintain a sharp focus on evangelism, which is the very first step of discipleship.
“Baptism Sunday is a fantastic idea that helps us all keep our focus on the mission of reaching people and making disciples for God’s glory,” said Ed Litton, pastor of Redemption Church in Saraland, Alabama, and current president of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Hunt noted, “Last year, when I had the privilege to speak on Baptism Sunday, I simply preached the gospel, called for repentance, faith in Christ and for immediate response to believers baptism. It was glorious what God did. I encourage pastors to trust Christ and see what He does.”